Better to Be Lucky and Good

By Gary Thomson, Andersen Alumnus and currently a Managing Director at Thomson Consulting

“It’s a funny thing, the more I practice, the luckier I get.” – Arnold Palmer

While the origin of the original quote “the more I practice, the luckier I get” is somewhat up for debate, it’s been shared by many famous golfers in history like Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus.

This gets me thinking when I hear leaders of accounting firms say they are good at what they do and don’t have to go out and do XYZ because things just come to us. But why do referrals, clients, and other work just come to these firms and professionals? It’s because they strategically plan and are intentional. The more strategic you are, the luckier you’re going to be.

A firm I work with has a wealth management practice, and one of the partners is involved in a local university’s business school. That university had a major donor, and this partner decided to make a priority out of getting some of this wealthy individual’s investment work. This wealth management practice was fairly new to the firm, so you can imagine what the other partners were thinking: “Yeah, right, why would this wealthy individual give us money?”

This partner began developing a plan on how he was going to get to better know this person. He strategically planned which university events he was going to attend so that he could build a relationship with this person. After a couple of years of interacting and building trust at those events, the partner asked if he could meet with this person.

I think you can figure out what happened next. That partner walked out of this meeting with a significant wealth management investment for the firm. This investment may not have been a huge risk to this individual, but for this firm, it was their most significant investment to date.

Now, there were some people who said this person just got lucky in getting this investment work. He got “lucky” because he strategically planned and acted intentionally.

When we are strategic and intentional with our actions, we will get lucky in anything we do.

So, when accounting professionals say they are good, that things just come to them, it’s because there has been some strategy behind it. Why do you get those referral sources? At some point, you made the decision to build relationships with certain individuals who could refer work to you. Why do you get phone calls out of the blue requesting you to be someone’s accountant? You have marketed your firm correctly, and that person saw that you provide the services they seek. That is strategic planning.

You are lucky because you are good.

Feel free to reach out to me