Talent Matters Most

Nov 7, 2022 | Leadership, Talent Management

Every Chief Financial Officer cares about recruiting, engaging and retaining the very best talent. Whether it’s attracting a new hire or developing internal candidates, creating new roles or fine-tuning others, how a CFO works with the team is mission critical.

“Organizations must plan now for the cultures they want,” said Andrea Spinelli, a Managing Director with Protivi.  “The future of work cannot form by accident.”

Three factors stand out in ensuring leadership and developing a team culture:

Confidence  While the authority of office in and of itself can help move concepts into action, leadership also requires an exhibition of confidence. A strong positive attitude can help ensure that direct reports, as well as others throughout the organization, “keep calm and carry on.”

When a leader exhibits the courage of his or her conviction, that helps employees through both good and bad times. In good times, confidence can keep the team grounded rather than getting carried away by the passion of the moment.  And in bad times a confident leader can help the team avoid being overwhelmed by difficult and discouraging phases.

In sum, a confident CFO is a steadying force for the immediate team and the organization as a whole, both near-in and longer term.

Competence  A competent CFO leads with both soft and hard skills.  It’s easy enough to identify incompetence – a chaotic workplace, where confusion and indecision abound.  In contrast, a competent leader exhibits, in both word and deed, good judgement and a solid understanding of the tasks being asked of the team.

In addition to exhibiting ability and expertise, an effective CFO ensures employees have access to the resources needed for them to also develop their competencies. Whether it’s in-house workshops, sponsoring professional development, and/or entree to networking opportunities, good leaders demonstrate their support for helping employees get the skills and abilities needed to further contribute.

Alignment Last we note the importance of alignment in talent management.   Alignment means there is a common understanding of the overall goal – be it the at-hand task, short-term project or ongoing company mission.  Alignment can include recognition for a job well done, inspiration when needed and, importantly, understanding that mistakes sometimes happen.  An effective CFO is a “force multiplier” for the work of the employees.

Ankur Agrawal, Partner, McKinsey & Company, noted, “We know talent management goes far beyond recruiting and retention data. In addition to looking at the numbers, CFOs can provide critical insights to help the organization develop the right bench and range of capabilities.”

As we enter the latest economic cycle, companies who pay attention to talent management, and leaders who guide with confidence, competence and alignment, will be well positioned not only for the present, but for the future as well.