“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” – Yogi Berra, n.d.
In the short-term, a common purpose can motivate a team of people to accomplish a set of tasks toward a specific goal, but legacy-grade change can only come from a group bonded by shared values. These values can supersede any differences in strategic policies and can unite, for example, entire countries. “Values strengthen the whole fabric of leadership;” even through external conflicts and internal strife, these values can help to “sustain the mobilization and deepen the empowerment of followers” (Burns, 2007, p. 212).
Accounting principles are based on values such as accuracy, integrity, and independence. The maintenance of these values is critical to preserving our professional reputation for character and competency. This reputation is held industry-wide and when one notable failure or lapse in judgement occurs, the public tends to blame the entire profession.
As a leader, it is important to identify your own set of values. Not only will it keep you accountable, but will also help streamline decision-making when a dilemma is encountered.
Brian Stevenson, in his fight for justice, is an example of someone motivated by his values, and the team around him is an illustration of a group united by those values. He values justice and acts on that value by fighting for those suffering from injustice. If his sole goal was the justice of a single person, then his leadership would be short-lived and the change ineffective. As it is, however, he has been a catalyst for great change within the American justice system. Values trump an individual or a single instance–they are long-lasting and broadly accepted, creating a strong basis for unity between a leader and among followers. (Stevenson, 2015)
- Berra, Yogi. (n.d.). Yogi in 13 great leadership quotes. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/lee-colan/13-great-leadership-quotes.html
- Burns, James MacGregor (2007-12-01). Transforming Leadership. Grove/Atlantic, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
- Stevenson, B. (2015). Just mercy: A story of justice and redemption. Spiegel & Grau.