It was a full house at the PKF Texas office for the first official seminar of the year! We partnered with the Houston chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI) for this joint seminar.

Titled, “What’s Happening in the State of Capital Flow?,” the seminar hosted a panel of three speakers, moderated by PKF Texas Audit Director, Chip Schweiger, CPA, CGMA. Chip filled the hour with a compelling discussion between:

  • Michelle Lewis, Principal at CapStreet
  • Sammy Desai, Managing Director, Head of New York Investment Banking at Needham & Company
  • Alex Somers, Executive Director, Investment Banking at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co.

Every speaker offered their expertise and insight to the CFOs, controllers and other financial executives in the room about what’s going on in the public markets and the outlook for 2019. Topics discussed included non-traditional sources of capital, the exit environment when looking to IPO, impact of regulations on capital markets, the nature of buyers today, technology, cyber security and more.

For more information and to stay updated with future events, visit our website and subscribe:

Byron: Hi, my name is Byron Hebert and this is another Tool Time Update brought to you by your friends at PKF Texas and The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. We’ve been talking about Birkman and the component scores in Birkman – there’s 11 of them – we’ve been going through them and talking about how we use them and how it helps us coach our people and put them in the right teams and that sort of thing and for conflict resolution within our organization. Today we’re going to talk about a challenge score and the challenge score, if you will think about that in the way that people approach that challenge themselves. Someone with a low challenge score is going to kind of depend on their charm and their wit to get them through life; they’re not going to be as challenged on themselves.

A high challenge scorer is someone who’s going to challenge themselves quite a bit; they put a lot of pressure on themselves to perform and that sort of thing. So you think about someone with a high challenge score may be that attorney that you don’t want to be across the table from. Again, there’s no good or bad score here, high or low it doesn’t matter. It’s no indication of their ability to perform within your organization, but it will give you an insight as to how they challenge themselves and those around them. Challenge score – a good component for us to look at, especially if we’re hiring people and make sure that we get the right people in the right job. Again, my name is Byron Hebert and this has been another Tool Time Update brought to you by your friends at PKF Texas and The Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

Byron: Hi, my name is Byron Hebert and this is another Tool Time Update brought to you by your friends at PKF Texas and the Entrepreneur’s Playbook. We’ve been talking about Birkman and how we use it to form teams in our organization, hiring and conflict management and coaching of people. And so we’re going through the components – there’s 11 of them – and today we’re going to talk about Structure. Structure is if you have a high Structure score – if you remember we scale this on a scale of 1 to 100 – if you have a high Structure score that means you’re going to be a very organized – you’re going to be able to organize workplace, you’re going to want to organize environment, a very structured agenda and you’re going to approach your work in a very structured way.

A lower Structure score is going to mean that you’re going to want – you can be a little bit more flexible. You’re not going to need – you have a broad agenda; you don’t have to have such a tight agenda around what you do and you can be a little bit more flexible in the workplace. There’s no good or bad here, it’s just the way people are hardwired if you will, and so we use this to make sure that we have the right people in the right job in our organization. So when we’re talking about structure that means how we approach our work, whether it’s an organized fashion or in a more relaxed fashion. Again, my name’s Byron Hebert and this has been a Tool Time Update brought to you by your friends at PKF Texas and the Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

Does your company have a sustainable competitive advantage? It should! Byron Hebert, director of Entrepreneurial Advisory Services at PKF Texas, offers another Tool Time Update.

Hi, my name is Byron Hebert, and this is another quick Tool Time update by PKF Entrepreneur Playbook. What I want to talk to you today about is the sustainable competitive advantage and strategic planning.

A lot of people talk about strategic planning but they really don’t know where to start. Where you start is with your sustainable competitive advantage. What is that one thing about your company that separates you from your competition? That’s what you want to focus on. That will drive your marketing; the promise that you’re going to make to the marketplace about what your company can do.

That, in turn, will drive your operations so that you can deliver on the promise you’ve made to the marketplace. Now what drives that? That’s driven by your people, your innovation, and money.

Let me give you an example right here in town. Mattress Mack, a great entrepreneur. His sustainable competitive advantage is if you buy today he delivers tonight. Well, that is his marketing. That is the promise he makes. Everybody’s heard that. His operations have to support that. You go to his business, you buy a mattress today, he’s going to deliver it that very day. I assure you he will do that. So as soon as that purchase goes in, someone is loading that on a truck and trying to figure out the logistics of how to get to that to you by the end of the day.

So think about that, how that, that will operate in your business. Use your sustainable competitive advantage to drive your marketing, your operations, and then people, innovation, and money to drive your operations as well.

All right? Thank you. This is Byron Hebert. This has been another quick Tool Time update brought to you by PKF Texas Entrepreneur Playbook. If you’d like to learn more about the Mind Shop Tools and how we can help you in your business, please call PKF Texas.

Byron: Hi, my name is Byron Hebert, and this is a quick Tool Time Update brought to you by PKF Texas and The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. What I want to talk to you today about is FMEA, Failure Mode Effect Analysis. And the purpose of this tool is to help you detect risk areas in your processes in your business, and then maybe if you can detect where the risk areas are you can do something to reduce those risks. So let’s talk about how we would use this tool.

Say, in a sales process you’re going to change your sales process, and what are some of the ways that you could fail in that? Look at what could go wrong. We’re looking at the downside. So maybe we lose customers. They’ll be several of them. You would want to write down all of them, all of them you can think of. What would the effect of that be? Well, sales down. Potentially, sales down unless you lose the right kind of customers that are not good margin customers, and that’s maybe what you want to do.

So in this we want to say what’s the severity of that? Well, let’s just say, for instance, that we’ve got some large customers. If we lose those large customers, the severity could be pretty high. It could be an eight out of ten. The occurrence of that, maybe the occurrence isn’t so much so we’ll give that a five. And would we be able to detect that? Well, the detection on that, we weight that. If it’s easy to detect, we’re going to give it a low number. If it’s hard to detect something, we would give it a higher number. We would probably easily detect that. So we’ll give that, say, a three.

So then we want to multiply these across, give you your RPN number, which is your Risk Priority Number. Okay? So eight times five is 40 times three would be 120. Anything over a hundred, I’m concerned about. I want to get that risk factor down to a hundred. So what could we do?

If they’re an eight, we want to get that maybe to a six. How could we do that? Well, if we’ve got one large customer, we probably want to diversify. Maybe we could get a contract in place with that large customer to secure our position with them for the next few years. So we start thinking of some ideas, some things that we could do to get this severity down.

The occurrence? Well, maybe if we’re working with several departments within that large organization the effect of that occurrence would go down. Get some ideas how we could reduce the occurrence maybe down to a four. Okay? And then the detection of it. If we did customer surveys, things like that, maybe we could get it down to a two.

So then we’ve got four times two is four times four, 48. We’ve gotten that down below a hundred. So Failure Mode Effect Analysis is a good tool for you to use to go through a process, any process within your business to detect risk and maybe reduce the probability of those risks having a negative effect on your business. FMEA, Failure Mode Effect Analysis.

Thank you. My name is Byron Hebert. This has been another quick Tool Time Update brought to you by PKF Texas and the Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

For those of you who are listening in on the radio and would like to see the graphic form of this tool being demonstrated, you can go to and look for the videos under Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

Byron: Hi, my name is Byron Hebert and this is another Tool Time update brought to you by PKF and the Entrepreneurs Playbook. What I want to talk to you about today is a eight week project team. With many of the mine shop tools, if you’ve been watching these videos, you see we have a way to come up with great ideas. But what we really need after that is to have a project team implement those ideas. Good ideas are no good without some implementation.

And so an eight week project team is a good way to keep a team focused. It doesn’t take too long to get the project done, but then again, it doesn’t drag on for months at a time.

Week one, you want to project brief. Make sure we understand the problem, we framed it correctly. Second week ___ analysis. Where is the company now with this particular issue? Let’s just say it’s sales. We’re at 4 million in sales with a 30 percent margin. Here are our customers. Here’s a breakdown of that. So we want to know where we are now with this issue. Where we want to be. Maybe by the end of the year, next 18 months we want to be at 5 million in sales with a 35 percent profit margin.

We analyze the data in week four. We start drafting the plan in week five. And you may say that seems early to be drafting a plan, but later we’re in week seven and eight we’re gonna selling our plan. It does no good to go through all this work if you can’t sell it effectively. We start developing solutions, start looking for other ideas that we may have missed when we draft the plan. And in week seven we design the presentation. We may go to the CEO with our program and say, here’s where we are, can you give us some feedback? And start pre-selling our plan.

By week eight we’re doing a dry run. Now imagine if every eight weeks you were fixing an issue in your business. How much better your business would be, how much more profitable and effective your business would be by the end of the year. Again, my name’s Byron Hebert. This has been a 90 second Tool Time Update brought to you by PKF Texas and the Entrepreneurs Playbook.

For those of you that are listening in on the radio and would like to see the graphic form of this tool being demonstrated, you can go to and look for the videos under Entrepreneurs Playbook.

The newest ideas, insights and perspectives you’ve come to rely on for your business are ready to be accessed any time, anywhere at
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Texas Business to Benefit From Panama Canal Expansion

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What You Need to Know About Compilations, Reviews and Audits to Obtain a Loan or Line of Credit

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Empowering Middle Management to Achieve Success

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Cubester® Chat: The Challenges Companies Face When They Recruit Young Professionals

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Team First: The ingredients for building and maintaining winning teams in business   

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Russ: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with Andy Ray, a Principal at PKF Texas and the author of Radical Impact: A Manager’s Playbook to Achieve Meaningful Results. Andy, welcome to the Playbook.

Andy: Thank you Russ.

Russ: You bet. Tell us about Radical Impact.

Andy: Radical Impact is written for middle managers. It’s been an under-served market in the business literature world; a lot of books written to CEOs, a lot of books written for technical folks. Middle managers are where everything happens in a business and so I wanted to write a book that would teach them how to create a result that mattered in their business and the first part of the book really kind of blows up some status quo conventional myths that may have them kind of trapped in a cycle of under performance. And then it walks them through how to actually create that result and that has real career game-changing impact for these guys and gals out there that are managing companies.

Russ: Sounds right on but let’s say somebody’s watching and they want to know more about it.

Andy: Love to invite them to our June 2nd Business Over Coffee event, 7:30 here at PKF Texas. At that event we’re going to be talking about the book, we’re going to be talking to some folks that have used some of the tools and rigor that are in the book. We’ll have a book signing and then we’ll be talking about some new service offerings around the book that we’ll be offering in the fall, specifically our Radical Impact Academy for managers where they can actually come get some guidance and practice on the tools that we talk about in the book.

Russ: Well Andy it sounds real neat and I’m going to be here for sure.

Andy: Thank you Russ.

Russ: You bet. For more on Middle Manager development visit This has been a Thought Leader production brought to you by PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

Andy: This is Andy Ray and this is another Tool Time Update brought to you by your friends at PKF Texas and the Entrepreneur’s Playbook. The tool I’m going to talk about today is a tool used to prioritize projects. Most teams don’t deliver the results they intend when they’re working on improvement projects because they try and take on too many things at once so this tool will help you narrow down to those critical few projects that will really deliver results.So the way you’d use this tool is draw a four square on apiece of paper, divide it up into four blocks; in the top left block draw the number one, then to the right of it number two and below it 3 and 4. And then on your vertical axis write the word “impact”; on your horizontal axis write the word “difficulty”. List all the projects that you could work on, there are more opportunities than you can possibly do. This may come from your “we could ___ if we___” statements or it could come from other project ideas.Put them on a big piece of paper. Then start judging those, evaluating them based on their ability to deliver impact to your business and how hard they are to do. The guys that rank number one, those projects that are number one, are the ones you want to shoot for; those are the projects you want to take on, they have a high impact capability and they’re very easy to do or relatively easy compared to your other projects.

Something that would make a project a number one would be that it has a ready, available measurement already in your business; you don’t have to build a way to measure it. Or two, you don’t need a lot of cross functional support; you can handle it within your team. Or three, you can do it with existing resources; you don’t need a lot of new technology or a lot of new equipment to make the improvement happen.

So list all your projects, list all the opportunities, rank them one, two, three, four, you’re looking for those number ones; high impact, low difficulty that you can execute probably in a zero to ninety day term kind of time frame. This has been a Tool Time Update brought to you by PKF Texas and the Entrepreneur’s Playbook.