2019 EPI Power Sessions: The Accelerator

Who does an owner really trust? The answer is quite simple. An owner trusts their own gut over all other influences. Do you know what qualities an owner (subconsciously) values about him/herself that you could showcase more prominently? Have you done the work to think like an entrepreneur who takes risk versus a “numbers guy” who manages and avoids risk? Despite the widely-spread belief that there is a “most trusted advisor” to the owner, we believe that the seat across from that desk is empty and that if you learn the skills that garner respect and trust, you can fill that seat.

When a leader shares an idea that challenges the status quo, it interrupts the listener’s current view and creates a disconnect, which causes their brain to feel curios as the seek to repair the gap of knowledge. At the 2019 Exit Planning Summit, five speakers took the stage during the EPI Power Sessions to break the status quo and explore the theme, “The Empty Seat: Reengineering Your Relationship with the Business Owner.”

Each Power Session speaker, as a different persona, challenged advisors to rethink their view and empowered them to see their relationships with business owners from a more informed and expanded point of view.  The Accelerator, The Counselor, The Common Ground, The Connector, and the Servant Leader provided advisors with the knowledge, strategies, hard truths, and powerful facts to reinvent their approach and drive even better outcomes. By equipping advisors with the tools to question their exisiting approach, these five speakers became catalysts to shift a paradigm to help you fill the empty seat.

Most organizations do not make decisions, they react to the noise. Great organizations do not listen to the noise, they make decisions in regard to internal principles and non-negotiables. Dr. Fred Johnson, The Accelerator, on making conflict your best friend



At the 2019 Exit Planning Summit, Dr. Fred Johnson, The Accelerator, posed the concept of making conflict your BFF. Conflict is an obstacle that every team will face, yet most leaders are scared to deal with it. As defined by Dr. Fred Johnson, drama is the outcome of poorly handled conflict and is involving more than two people in a two-person problem. He goes on to explain that every meeting has two agendas, the over-the-table agenda and the under-the-table agenda. When these two collide, the toxic and unhealthy under-the-table agenda will gain power. There is an art to being a leader and one of the responsibilities is to master the art of conflict. Lack of talent, strategic planning, or experience are not the main reasons that teams or organizations will fail to reach their full potential. Conflict is what stops these teams or organizations from flourishing. Artful leaders are adept in creating decisions in conflict solving environments.

Pragmatic Tips to Handle Conflict:

  • Engage in conflict leadership, not conflict management
  • Conflict leadership is mastering impeccable communication
  • Gain self-control in order to gain control
  • Develop principals of trust
    • Deliver mail to the right address
    • No meetings after the meeting
    • No repercussions for honesty
    • Deliver the information with respect and kindness

Conflict is the catalyst for trust, collaboration, and lasting change. To fill the seat across from the owner, advisors must confront conflict and gain the influence to lead an owner to a successful transition. Challenge the status quo to become an owner’s most trusted advisor and have the comfort to deal with conflict head on and bolster confidence.

The Exit Planning Summit is the most significant advisor event in the industry with a massive lineup of education, activities, and events to experience in a few short days. On top of 6-star rated education, once-in-a-career keynote sessions, charitable fundraising, and influential networking, the Summit connects you with premier exit planning providers and partners, charitable efforts benefiting the local community, world-class facilities for your rejuvenation, annual acknowledgement of excellence, and an all-star lineup of experts and influencers to feed your creative needs as a CEPA and leader. In case you missed it, Exit Planning Institute Vice President, Scott Snider, provided his key takeaways on the most valuable parts of the 2019 Exit Planning Summit.

Dr. Fred Johnson: Leading Up

“This year our keynote, Dr. Fred Johnson, represented a key skill that we as advisors need in order to fill the empty seat and connect deeper with the business owner, while also being a better quarterback of a team and collaborator. Filling the empty seat for the owner isn’t necessarily about having more technical skills in investment management, law, accounting, or even consulting. It is about connecting the dots for the owner and becoming the trusted advisor. It is about helping an owner connect their business lives, personal ambitions, and the financial plan that makes it all happen. That takes something different and Fred represents that. Between his skillset and motivational style, I thought he would be a fantastic way to kick off the 2019 Summit.”

The Power of Panels

“The panels are powerful and interactive; they allow us to hear from multiple experts. These experts not only deliver knowledge and wisdom but real stories with real results. From the exited owners panel, to the marketing panel, they all us to get interactive and have a discussion.”


Power Sessions: Filling the Empty Seat

“This year our Power Sessions were about filling the empty seat and from that I took away that all of these topics are skills we can learn and they tend to be leadership based qualities. It is about changing the way we communicate and interact with an owner. It is about making it about them versus just about us, our firm, or what services we can bring. I think it represents something difficult, but doable for us as advisors. It represents something necessary if we want to change the outcome.”

Collaboration: The Essence of EPI

“EPI is committed to providing a small group work experience no matter how big the Summit becomes because it is the essence of who we are at EPI and as CEPAs. Diverse, collaborative groups of advisors sharing one goal for the owner which is to align the three legs of the stool and better the owner’s outcome. That’s what “real life” is like out there for advisors who work on these exit planning teams. So, I like to replicate that as much as we can at the Summit. Day one is about embracing and taking in training and education and day two is about the application of it. We apply it through real life scenarios and some group work. It makes us better CEPAs.”

Business Development Machine

“One of the best things about the EPI community is that it is a business development machine due to the diverse set of advisors across the community. Financial advisors, CPAs, attorneys, consultants, folks that represent the exit options like family consultants, ESOPs providers, Private Equity, and even talent development and life coaches. The Summit is where all of this really comes together on a national scale. The best of the best CEPAs, advisors and partners all together for three days. You are bound to get a referral here. It’s a relationship building, business development field day. People sitting across from you and next to you that you could actually do business with tomorrow.”

The Most Significant Takeaway

“I think the most significant takeaway attendees were able to gain was a sense of collaboration and a feeling of community. There were quite a few opportunities to network and connect, such as the Happy Hour, Summit Giveback, and the After Party. Day two was very interactive and everyone was able to learn form each other, not just lecturers or instructors.”

Join the Community

Each year the Exit Planning Summit continues to grow not only in size, but value. Through stimulating sessions such as CEPA Feud, to the compelling power session, to interactive group work, Exit Planning Institute is dedicated to providing best industry content. The 2020 Exit Planning Summit will be held in San Diego next September 14-16. Make plans to join this career-changing event, and register here.



More than a credentialing company.

“This Methodology is Going to Supercharge My Practice!” -Justin Goodbread, CEPA, CFP®

Official ‘Exit Planning’ Definition: Exit planning combines the plan, concept, effort, and process into a clear, simple strategy to build a business that is transferable through strong human, structural, customer, and social capital. The future of the business owner, his/her family, and the business itself are addressed by exit planning through creating value today.

Exit planning is not just a plan (or a keyed-in report to print out for an owner). It is a strategy rooted in execution that grows value while expanding options so that an owner can transition the business on his/her terms when they are ready. It aligns the business, personal, and financial needs of the owner. Good exit planning utilizes the Value Acceleration Methodology™ to move clients through discovery, prepare, and decide gates. Certified Exit Planning Advisors (CEPA) educate the owner on all of the exit options and enters an engagement with an exit-option-agnostic perspective as to truly serve the business owner’s diverse needs. CEPAs collaborate with a seasoned, multi-disciplinary team of professionals to support the success of the business owner and use each other’s specialties and expertise to the benefit of the project. [view the award-winning methodology]

“Why did I earn CEPA when I already had an exit planning designation? Simple, the network. The quality of the EPI advisor network is unmatched.” -Paul Meyer, CEPA, CBEC

Do you consider your COIs or your referral network as the #1 source for new business? Look no further for your next membership affiliation. Formed in 2005 to serve educational and resource needs of financial planners and wealth managers, CPA/accountants, attorneys, commercial lenders, M&A advisors and business brokers, management consultants and other business advisors, the Exit Planning Institute is considered the standard trendsetter in the field of exit planning across the globe. It is the only organization that offers the Certified Exit Planning Advisor Program (CEPA) and qualifies for continuing education credits with twelve major professional associations, making it the most widely accepted and endorsed professional exit planning program in the world. [find a CEPA in your area]

“As a CPA, nothing is more important than exit planning.” -Bill Kenedy, CPA/ABV, CFF, CEPA

Our founders paved the way for the organization we are today. In the past three years alone, EPI has grown by more than ten times. We support and enable thousands of professional advisors who are leading the way in their local marketplaces across the globe. We invite you to join the community and experience the EPI difference.

We are powered by a dedicated staff, industry experts, and market leaders, that are passionate about providing top professional advisors the best industry content, ongoing practice support, and owner education resources. From humble beginnings, EPI has grown to become the exit planning market leader while staying focused and true to our mission. We are an education company that certifies and supports more than 900 CEPAs (and counting) as well as thousands of advisors worldwide through national, regional, chapter, and virtual education. Explore our history and make plans to play a part in our future. [explore the EPI history timeline snapshot]

“You want to have the best credential in the industry. So my advice is that you have to go with Exit Planning Institute.” -Vincent Mastrovito, CEPA, CBEC

Do you want help in an increasingly commoditized or oversaturated marketplace? Do you want just another designation for your business card or do you want the credentialing education that helps you adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing industry? You’ve come to the right place.

The Exit Planning Institute creates an exit planning “ecosystem,” and due to the diverse nature of exit planning, EPI has fostered a hyper-engaged exit planning community. This community includes CEPAs, other collaborative advisors, strategic alliance partners, academicians, the media, and business owners from across the globe made up of 15 countries, 44 U.S. States and representing over a dozen different professional disciplines. To serve this elite and cross-functional community on one major platform, EPI produces the best content as it relates to exit planning, succession planning, and value acceleration, provides ongoing advisor support and practice development, and creates connectivity to transitioning business owners. [connect with us today]


Explore the unmatched professional development experience and gain your next competitive edge in 2019.

The Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) Program is the most widely endorsed and accepted exit planning designation in the marketplace today. Experience the EPI difference and determine if earning the CEPA designation is the next strategic move for you to reinvent yourself in a changing marketplace. Visit www.EarnCEPA.com today.