See beyond the numbers

Everything I Need to Know About Management I Learned in Yoga

Most people become managers by accident.  You become proficient in a specific business discipline, and all of a sudden you’re asked to manage others.   Unfortunately, most accidental managers never notice that they’re not well developed for the role.  The consequences can be expensive, both for the business and for the poorly managed individuals.

I was fortunate enough to be employed by Fortune 100 companies as I stumbled into management.  Large corporations like Citibank and CIGNA recognize that management is a learned discipline that requires practice for success.  They understand the costs of poor management.  But many entrepreneurs fail to notice shortcomings in new managers. As their businesses grow, this problem becomes a real liability.

When I joined Kaufman, Rossin & Co., I began teaching management to our new supervisors and managers.  And as I taught those lessons and applied them in my daily work, I began to realize how much the principles of management mirrored those of my daily yoga practice. It occurred to me that everything I need to know about management I learned in yoga.

Recently I presented a seminar on this topic as part of our monthly Kaufman, Rossin Presents series.  These seminars are designed to train entrepreneurs on a wide range of topics and offer excellent networking opportunities.  Attendees include business owners, non-profit leaders and financial professionals.  Here are some highlights:

  • It’s all about alignment.  In yoga, if you don’t pay attention to the alignment of your body, it’s very easy to get hurt.  In management, keeping your staff aligned with your short- and long-term goals helps them understand their role in the company’s success.  It’s very motivating to know the big picture and how your work contributes.
  • Act like a performance coach.  Just telling a developing yogi to stand on her head doesn’t really teach her how to turn upside down safely and successfully.  Coaching through specific steps – clasp your hands, make a tripod, place your head, and walk slowly forward – makes this one of the most exhilarating poses to learn.  Likewise, coaching a staff member step-by-step through a new task leads to faster and more rewarding results. 
  • Practice daily.  My daily yoga practice, whether a short home practice in the morning or a longer studio class, stretches me out and keeps me balanced through the day.  Spending a little time every day with your employees, talking about their work, keeps your whole team balanced and grounded.

Just as I have used props (e.g. block, strap, mat) in yoga to help me develop and grow in my practice, my management curriculum owes much to excellent props – in this case, books. I highly recommend the following reading for managers of all levels: Bruce Tulgan’s “It’s Okay to Be the Boss,” Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Joseph Grenny’s “Crucial Conversations”and Daniel Pink’s “Drive.”

If you’re interested in management training for yourself or your company, contact me at


Janet Kyle Altman is marketing principal for Kaufman, Rossin & Co., and responsible for many of the management and leadership training programs the firm offers. She can be reached at

See beyond the numbers

It’s all about the people!

Jim Kaufman put it best at this morning’s How to be a Best Place to Work seminar when he used the words “caring”  and “culture” to describe what makes Kaufman, Rossin & Co. a perennial winner of Best Place to Work awards.   He should know — he’s the real architect behind the employee-focused CPA firm that keeps clients satisfied by putting their people first.  For nearly 50 years he’s made sure that the firm never loses sight of  Joy at Work, one of its core values.

Marketing principal Janet Kyle Altman, HR Director Joy Batteen and the firm’s benefits broker, Sean Dugan from the Hays Companies, gave some tips that other companies could learn from.

  • Compensation is not the only factor that motivates employees. It’s  important, but only to the extent that you’re competitive in the marketplace.  Use salary guides for your industry (staffing companies often provide them) or to see where you stand.
  • Traditional Benefits should be customized to employees’ needs as much as possible.  Some benefits brokers provide Total Compensation Reports that help employees recognize the value of the benefits you’re offering.  If you have a cafeteria plan, make sure you educate employees well – some are afraid they’ll lose their money — and consider offering a debit card that helps make it easy to use.
  • Non-traditional benefits are where you can create a really special workplace.  At Kaufman, Rossin these include everything from our annual Weight Loss Contest and on-site gym to the firm’s fully stocked kitchen and subsidized yoga and massage.  Go to a Kaufman, Rossin party and you’ll see all levels – from managing partner to administrative staff – truly enjoying themselves together.  These special features create real camaraderie.
  • Community involvement helps build good feelings within the company and outside.  Kaufman, Rossin believes it should extend to all levels, and encourages all employees to get involved in causes they care about.  The firm demonstrates its support by budgeting an annual community contribution fund, and lets employees at all levels submit requests.  And of course big community events like the Corporate Run are fun, healthy, and good for the community.
  • Professional Development is an area where we get a lot of positive feedback.  Since 2006, Kaufman Rossin University has provided employees with opportunities to learn technical skills, technology, management techniques and even “life” skills.  We’ve taught everything from PowerPoint to Poker, Management to Music Appreciation, and much more.  For several summers the firm has offered voluntary Leadership programs for employees at all levels who want to be future firm leaders.  One year our Innovation Challenge (modeled on The Apprentice) created buzz, teamwork, and great new ideas for the firm.
  • Leadership is at the core of a Best Place. This isn’t something you can fake, or drive solely through HR.  Through open communication daily and semi-annual seminars that show all staff how the firm’s future is unfolding, Kaufman, Rossin keeps our leaders in touch with employees, and our employees looped into the vision.


Janet Kyle Altman is marketing principal for Kaufman, Rossin & Co., and responsible for many of the management and leadership training programs the firm offers.  She can be reached at

See beyond the numbers

Turn high maintenance into high performance

Boomers, you think your Gen Y employees are lazy and unproductive? Whose kids are these, anyway?  Gosh, did our generation really create these high maintenance monsters?smithlibby1

But wait a minute! Sure, Gen Yers can be high maintenance in the workplace. But if managed properly they are more prolific than any generation that precedes them.
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