Leadership / Management

Turn good to great … by being great yourself

WilliamsYou never know when excellence is going to smack you upside the head and say, "Why aren't you better at what you do?"

Last night was one of those times.

We're in New Orleans for Interchange, an annual conference that allows state CPA societies to share ideas and best practices. In what has become a New Orleans tradition, Tom Hood dragged me and our co-workers down Bourbon Street to a blues bar called the Funky Pirate to listen to "Big Al" Carson and the Blues Masters. (Trust me on this one: The next time you're in New Orleans, you won't want to miss these guys. They're just a great, great band.)

It was a typical Big Al set -- lots of blues standards and some raunchy banter with the crowd. Then, Patrick Williams showed up, and that typical set turned into something special.

If you believe Big Al's introduction, Williams is a harmonica legend on Bourbon Street, and it's easy to see why. He picked up his harmonica and blew the roof off the Funky Pirate by joining the band on "Crossroads" and (really!) "Low Rider," among other songs. And I swear, the band got better the minute Williams joined them on stage.

I know, I know: "You're reaching, Bill." But I swear there's a lesson in here somewhere. Something about excellence inspiring excellence, maybe? I believe we're at our best when we surround ourselves with hard-working, innovative, talented people ... and that we're capable, too, of inspiring excellence in others by striving for excellence ourselves.

So let's grab our harps, jump onstage and inspire the band to greatness. What's going to be your first step?


Bill Sheridan