[00:00:00.090] - Chris
In this episode of great Practices, I'm talking with Mark Weisbrod, CPA turned principal netsuite consultant, about the symptoms, challenges, and successes of making a change. If you ever feel like you're stuck in a rut, learn the startling statistics of how many people like or don't like their jobs. An equation of professional happiness he's calculated over the years and and why you'll never be starting from scratch if you.
[00:00:27.630] - Chris
Decide to do something new.
[00:00:29.530] - Chris
Plus, find out what the entrepreneurial spirit.
[00:00:32.100] - Chris
Has to do with navigating change and.
[00:00:34.090] - Chris
Transition, and how choosing between red and blue will produce green.
[00:00:39.280] - Narrator
It's hard to say when something is a best practice, but it's much easier to know when something is a great practice. And that's what this podcast is all about. Interviews with PMO and project management leaders who, through years of trial and error, have discovered their own great practices and are now sharing their insights with you. Now sit back and enjoy the conversation as Chris Kopp uncovers another great practice in this episode, it's been said that.
[00:01:08.330] - Chris
The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth, and we may sometimes feel that way in our project management and PMO careers. Maybe you've been at your job for a while, you're good at what you do, but it's no longer interesting nor exciting, and you feel like it's time for a change. But here's the problem with change, it's scary. New skills, new people, new circumstances all lend themselves to new feelings of uncertainty and fear. So how can you navigate these unknowns and these uncertainties that are in that gap between where you are now as a project manager and PMO leader, and where you want to be in the future? That's what our guest today is going to help us understand. Mark Weisbrot is no stranger to change in uncertainty, from working as an employee in a corporate firm to owning his own CPA firm, to most recently making the transition to becoming a principal netsuite consultant? And we're going to see how he's successfully been able to navigate these waters of change and how we can apply this even to our project management careers. So, Mark, we'd like to welcome you to great practices.
[00:02:17.050] - Mark
Thank you for having me, Chris. Time with you is always well invested.
[00:02:22.590] - Chris
Well, that's a great start to the podcast already, man. I appreciate that. So, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do, Mark?
[00:02:31.650] - Mark
Sure. I started off in the public accounting realm, so staff accountant did a little bit of everything. Bookkeeping, corporate taxes, individual taxes, trust payroll audits, a pretty well rounded background. I eventually went out on my own and built an award winning CPA firm, had the chance to exit and took it, had a couple of health issues. And during that time, I decided to also have several startups and participate in a couple of turnarounds. And that's where I met and fell in love with Netsuite, and I made the transition into netsuite implementation.
[00:03:13.800] - Chris
All right, so that's where you are now. So basically that sounds like a long securitist path from where you started to where you are now. So why did you feel through any of these moments in time, I guess that there was a need for a change. What were some of the symptoms maybe you were experiencing that said, hey, you know what? I got to do something different.
[00:03:32.870] - Mark
I mean, for the CPA transition, I felt called to do something special and not to name the firm after myself. It was called proactive CPA. So it was about an ideal of how I wanted myself and my team, that mindset. And so something a little bit different in the industry. When I transitioned into startups and turnarounds, there were certain life goals into helping build my community or helping former clients with turnarounds. That entrepreneur spirit was definitely alive back in those days. But in the turnarounds, I noticed I was a controller and CFO, and I felt like I had to work really hard to be good, above average. And when I had the tax and consulting firm and was in that industry, it just felt so natural. And so one of the turnarounds, we implemented an ERP system called Netsuite, owned by Oracle now. And I just fell head over heels for how quickly a business could get information.
[00:04:48.650] - Chris
Got it. So if I were to just kind of summarize some of the changes or the reasons why you're changing them, and it sounds like some of them, you're pursuing an ideal, you wanted to do something that was different, maybe something that hadn't been done before. You definitely had some life goals that prompted you to make some of those changes. And then it sounds like even finally here, you're passionate. There was something that you were just really excited about that said, you know what, it's time to make a change and go ahead and make that jump.
[00:05:16.230] - Mark
As you go through life's journey, you gain experience on the way and you have time to look back. And one of the things I've noticed is, and you'll probably see an article at least once a year about how miserable people are at in their jobs, it's like 75% of the people are miserable, and I never wanted to be that miserable person. And what I realized was, well, what made me a good CPA was I had that natural talent and I had that passion that I was chasing. And as a result, I'm a math person, so I have passion plus natural talent equals joy and confidence. You love what you do, you want to do what you do. You're not forced to be there from nine to five.
[00:06:09.110] - Chris
So, Mark, let's focus in on maybe the transition from your CPA firm to where you are now. As far as being a principal consultant, what were some of the challenges that you faced? Was that an easy transition for you? Was that extremely hard? What did that look like?
[00:06:27.290] - Mark
Well, we're coming up on ten years of the sell of the CPA firm, and I will say, in hindsight, I don't think there's ever an easy route. It was a challenging transition to get where I am today, but it's also well worth the journey. Thank goodness for passion during that time because I had to restart basically at the bottom and work my way back up. If you have an ego, it's going to get bruised.
[00:06:58.780] - Chris
That's a good point, because I know with your CPA firm, you said it was award winning. You had all kinds of experience, you had a nice client base, you knew what you were doing, like the back of your hand, and now you're just delving into this new territory. Right. So what were some of the ego bruising memories that you may have from that that would come back to you?
[00:07:23.060] - Mark
Well, what I chuckle about now is the firm that gave me my first opportunity to become a consultant, I'm very thankful for. They would say, well, who did that? And I would not remember doing it. And so there's a system information tab on every record, and they would go to that and go, oh, it was Mark, because my name would be on who did it. And so they would be, oh, I'm going to hear about this. Right? And so it's little moments like, you know, you could either be trapped by your past or you could use it to propel you into your future. And guess what? Everyone makes mistakes. And sometimes those are the best learning opportunities. So it's, what do you do with that? Right? Do you turn that into wisdom or do you turn it into know?
[00:08:14.430] - Chris
And, Mark, that just makes me remember something where I basically escalated on myself because my team had done something and unbeknownst to me, and I was just making a big deal of it and complaining and all that kind of stuff and escalating making all kinds of noise. And it basically came back and it pointed right directly at me again. So it's just like, yeah, awkward, but you learn from that type of thing and you move forward from that. And yes, it is a little bit of hit to the ego for sure. What's like the second biggest challenge, maybe that you faced any other challenge that comes to your mind in making any of these changes or these transitions over the years.
[00:08:52.650] - Mark
It's not being afraid to do hard work and put the time in. I think a lot of people have a win the lottery kind of concept where what's the minimum amount of time I could put in to not get fired or that's required to meet the standard. And I think what's helped me is I only have to work, I'm in corporate America, I only have to work 8 hours a day and I'm continuously working ten to 12 hours because I'm refining processes. I'm looking at a different way to do a solution or to standardize it so we could bring in an automatic on the next and it's putting in that extra time where you could really understand. For me, it's understanding the software and understanding requirements and everything that could interfere with the potential solution.
[00:09:52.850] - Chris
Okay, good insight there. So basically challenges, you needed to be able to have your ego bruised and you need to be able to put in the time. It's not going to be just something that's just going to happen so quickly for you overnight with that success, but it's going to take effort then. So if you were to reflect, then back over these years and these changes, what do you think? Some of the attributes, maybe some of your characteristics or something that our listeners could do to successfully make these changes as they transition from one job, one position, one function in life to another, what would you say that is?
[00:10:30.170] - Mark
That's a great question. I think part of it is having a vision or motivation. You don't need to know your exact destination, but you need to know which direction you're going at least. And I think for myself, I had to remind myself I had valid transferable skills, the hard work ethic, the good solid work ethic, the pension to detail. I care about quality, ability to adapt. I was able to transfer operational knowledge of running businesses or turning around and or attempting to turn around businesses. And then the accounting and finance knowledge has been, I think for me, huge, because a lot of software consultants, they may know this software, they don't necessarily understand the practical use or they've never been on the other side of the table. So that experience is.
[00:11:33.070] - Chris
Know, mark, and you said it earlier, and I'm going to have to disagree with you on this because you said it's like starting over. You had to start over. But you know what? You weren't starting over. You were starting in a much better position. Like you're saying with all of that experience and all of that industry knowledge and all of that expertise that allowed you to get to where you are even that much faster this time around.
[00:11:56.150] - Mark
I'll accept that you're not starting over from scratch. And I think that's a great point for anyone listening to this. Going through a transition, you have a solid foundation of amazing experience that you're bringing to the next opportunity.
[00:12:13.930] - Chris
Yeah, no, I think that's like, you're definitely got a firm foundation that you've already established there. And you mentioned this at the beginning of the conversation. You said something about having that entrepreneurial spirit and that entrepreneurial mindset. Can you speak a little bit more about how that helps with making these changes and these transitions?
[00:12:33.330] - Mark
Sure. Entrepreneurial mindset is incredibly valuable and it could also drive people insane. So when you're your own boss, it's incredibly valuable. When you're an employee, it's incredibly valuable, except there's systems that you're supposed to conform to. And so that's where you could get into a little bit of mischief. It is fun, after all, but it's spotting the gaps and then providing a solution. And one of my favorite sayings on that is the entrepreneurial mindset is like the world asks you a question and says, what's your favorite color? Is it red or is it blue? And an entrepreneur is going to be like, well, it's probably green or purple. Just because the world gives you a limited amount of options doesn't mean that's what an entrepreneur is going to do. An entrepreneur is going to go figure out whatever the best solution is.
[00:13:38.470] - Chris
Do you think that there is a place for entrepreneurs in a corporate environment? You kind of touched on it briefly. You think that they can survive there or live there?
[00:13:48.570] - Mark
Yeah, I think they can. They just have to remember to adopt. It's not their company, so they can't just make random calls. But for me, I don't ask my manager or who's also the owner of the company. Is it okay if I build a solution just in case we need to reuse it again?
[00:14:13.270] - Chris
[00:14:13.830] - Mark
I just go ahead and do it and I document it so the next time I don't even have to be involved. I could create a document and what we call a bundle so that someone else could use it and import it into their project. And so it's not like I'm rewriting the script that's driving netsuite, but it is just going ahead and taking action.
[00:14:38.750] - Chris
The initiative. The initiative, yeah, I think that's what it comes into. And it's like maybe in that corporate environment or company environment, it's just going to take a little bit more overhead or administration on your parts, kind of making sure that you're crossing the t's, you're dotting the I's, you're getting buy in from other people. But you could still move your ideas forward and these innovations forward, but it is going to take maybe a little bit more time than in your situation where you could just, when you own your own company, you could just make the decision and then execute.
[00:15:11.730] - Mark
Yeah, I think another good example on that is when I was a staff accountant at a CPA firm, I would either get yelled at for bad quality or going over the budget, and something triggered inside me way back when where I was like, you know what? If I'm getting talked to, it's never going to be about quality ever again. It's going to be about going budget. That was great for building a solid reputation in the CPA realm, especially when I was out on my own. Everyone knew high quality, no cut corners. Translate that into the consulting world where you're not an owner and there's a project manager and executives who the budget is their bible. They expect the highest quality, but that's not necessarily the reality of it. So it's like taking that extra time to make sure that you do things correctly, because in the long term, that's your reputation on the. So it's better when you're on your know than when you have to explain why you want a couple of hours over a budget.
[00:16:22.810] - Chris
Yeah, much easier to operate in that environment. So, Mark, any other advice that you'd like to give to our listeners? Like, maybe they're just right on the verge of making a jump, or maybe they're part of that 75% to 80% of people that are miserable? That's such a sad statistic. But is there any other advice you'd like to give to anybody that's in that situation that may help them make a decision one way or the other?
[00:16:48.630] - Mark
Yeah, I would probably say, and it took me years for this to occur for me, but just be comfortable with who you are and really take the time to know who you are and your natural talents and your passions, because it's never too late to transition, especially if that's something you've wanted to do your entire life. I would say go for it. Right? If you have the talent and you have the passion, it may be a slow start, but in two or three, five years, you'll look back and go, wow, that was one of the better decisions I've made my entire life. You get to that confidence and that joy that just exudes from you.
[00:17:39.570] - Chris
Well, that's coming across loud and clear today, Mark, because you can definitely tell you've got that confidence and that joy in what you're doing now. And we definitely appreciate you jumping on today. So again, this is more of an accounting background, more of a CPA background, a little bit more of a consulting background, but the same principles apply regardless what industry we're in, whether it's project management, PMO, leadership, whatever it is. And we definitely appreciate your insight on that. Now, Mark, what would be the best way, if someone wanted to contact you, if they'd like to discuss your experience further, talk about netsuite further, what's the best way to get a hold of you?
[00:18:13.630] - Mark
Just look me up on LinkedIn. It's Mark, and then my last name is W-Y-S-S-B as in Bob, R-O-D-I don't believe there are too many Mark Weishbrokes on LinkedIn, but I'm the CPA who shaves his head.
[00:18:31.680] - Chris
Okay, I think you're right. I don't think there's too many on there, so. All right, Mark, well, again, we appreciate you jumping on today, and we will talk to you soon.
[00:18:39.990] - Mark
[00:18:45.190] - Chris
Well, that was another great episode of great Practices, and we certainly do appreciate mark joining us today. What were some of the great practices and insights that he shared with us today about navigating change successfully? Well, that startling statistic, about 75% to 80% of people are miserable on their jobs. That's unsettling. So if that's a situation that perhaps you find yourself in, maybe time to consider a change, whether that's a change in your current employment or perhaps finding a new place, doing something on your own, but certainly we would want to go into it with our eyes wide open. What were some of the challenges he discussed? For example, you have to start at the bottom again, work your way back up. Secondly, if you have an ego, it's going to get bruised. Third, it's going to require some extra work, some hard work, some effort that perhaps you've dialed in, which you know how to do easily now it's going to take more effort to do something new, but it's nothing that would be able to prevent you from making that change. Just know that that's what's ahead of you. What were some of the things that he talked about as far as how to successfully navigate that change?
[00:19:58.580] - Chris
If you decide that doing something different is for you, like the point that he says you don't need to know your exact destination, but at least know what direction you're going in. So I thought that was a good point as far as you may not know the end goal and that's fine, but just point yourself in that direction. It's kind of like a sailboat tacking. You go a little bit to the left, a little bit to the right, a little bit to the left, you zigzag, but all in all, you're going forward. He also said that you want to realize that you have transferable skills, so you won't necessarily be starting at the bottom or starting from scratch. You've got years of experience and years of a foundation to build upon, so that's going to make it that much easy for, you know, the space that you're working in and understand the other side of the table as far as what is the other person or the customer's viewpoint or the potential employer's viewpoint about what it is that they're going to need that you could provide for them. I like also that he talked about that entrepreneurial mindset helping you work through that change and transition.
[00:21:09.070] - Chris
So you're going to bring that in and put that as part of the mix. And finally, his parting comments were also timely. Just know who you are, know what your natural abilities are, and follow what you want to do. It may take some time, but you can make it happen. And I'll circle back around to his equation that he started off with at the beginning. Passion plus natural talent equals joy and confidence. So if we put these challenges, we're aware of these challenges, and we bring our best self to the table, then we're going to be able to fill in that equation nicely. So again, we'd like to thank Mark for being on today and joining us on great practices. Do you have a great practice you'd like to share? Go to thepmoleader.com, click on explore great Practices podcast and fill out the form at the bottom of the screen. Someone will get in touch with you shortly. Also, be sure not to miss a single episode by subscribing to great practices on your favorite podcast platform. And if you like what you hear. Be sure to share this with your manager, your colleagues, anybody else that you think would benefit.
[00:22:16.570] - Chris
Thanks again for listening to this episode and keep putting great practices into practice.