Lessons learned on the field transfer to the creation and launching of CCH products
Mike Ritchie met his wife when both played on a touring coed soccer team. They still play regularly and coach a son and daughter on youth soccer teams. He sees a lot of parallels between coaching youth sports teams and his role at CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business.
As Director of Product Management, Ritchie “owns” several CCH accounting and audit-related products, including ProSystem fx® Engagement, Knowledge Coach and others. That requires that he set the vision for each product and get buy-in from hundreds of people involved, including development teams, marketing teams, sales teams and operations folks.
“I’m like the guy in the middle with the whistle,” Ritchie says. “I don’t manage those resources — no one reports to me directly — but I am responsible for helping guide those resources to achieve the goals of the product.”
That requires a skill set around communication and team building. He needs to make sure everyone understands what needs to happen and why it needs to happen in a certain way. “Those things tie very closely to what I do as a coach,” Ritchie says.
“When you coach kids, you do the same thing. You have a vision. You can see the skills of the team and who does what well. And I’ve been playing long enough myself to know where the strengths are and how to get the best out of each player. It’s not that different, really, except that on the one hand I am working with a bunch of 13-year-olds, and on the other it’s grown-ups.”
The launch of Knowledge Coach is a recent example. This new product helps manage an audit from planning through completion, flowing information throughout workpapers and providing diagnostics and guidance that improve audit quality and efficiency.
“Five or six different groups came together to get the product out the door successfully,” Ritchie says. “I was responsible for that launch and coordinating all the pieces involved, all choreographed around a plan. That’s very similar to what I do coaching a soccer team.”
He says the most successful youth soccer teams have kids who are excited and confident and do it because they believe in it. “You often see teams that are not successful — even with highly skilled people — have coaches standing there and yelling at them. It’s all about leadership style and communication. It’s the same with my work at CCH.”
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This story is from the CCH e-newsletter First Choice, written specifically for tax, accounting and audit professionals. First Choice offers tips, tricks and ideas about how to increase your public accounting firm’s productivity and efficiency. Every issue also features insights with a tax, audit or accounting professional.