As companies continue to carve new paths, the need for leaders, specifically financial leaders, has become critical. Companies strive to reduce expenses, increase revenue and improve cash flow despite uncertainties and constant operational changes. While attempting to do so, these leaders are being pressed into longer days with stiffer deadlines and demands.
Hiring, developing, and supporting strong financial leaders will pay multiple dividends, such as:
Familiarity with the markets for products and service and their profitability will expose opportunities to add new revenue while facing declines in sales.
Intimate knowledge of a company’s costs helps trim expenses without gouging operations, thus helping cut expenses while revenue declines.
Forward-thinking analysis and communication will go a long way toward assuring employees, internal management, lenders and investors that solid, long-term business practices have replaced disruptive ways of old.
How can you spot and support strong financial leadership?
Strong financial leadership starts with knowing the position you need, the skills that it demands and the education and experience that it requires. You can then achieve your goals by determining if a leader has the proper technical and cultural fit to move your organization forward. Those goals will vary based on factors like company size, profitability and growth.
Assess your leader’s ability to handle challenges like the following:
External Factors: You are faced with a changing market, uncertainty in sales levels, market shifts, supply chain (depending on the industry), and financing/cash flow considerations.
Internal Factors: You are stressed about the uncertainty, the strength of the business, and probably concerned about what decisions to make and when. Your business is relying on your leadership and good information and analysis are paramount.
As of 2019, there were more than 15 thousand books on leadership in print, with thousands of articles being published every year.
The Harvard Business Review once defined a leader as “a person who successfully marshals one’s human collaborators to achieve particular ends. A great leader is one who can do so day after day, year after year in a wide variety of circumstances.”
Leadership. Important. Need it. Got it.
So, what are the obstacles preventing you from looking for and supporting solid, financial leadership?