The Power of Uncapped Productivity: Elevating CFO Contributions Through Discerning Decision-Making

09/25/2023 06:56:21 +0000

As a parent, I'm about to enter a new phase of the job. As my children get older, what they need from me is changing. All of a sudden I'm deciding on high schools, social media rules and expectations, sleepovers and increasing demands of team sports commitments.

But I'm also saying goodbye to the grunt work of tying shoelaces, bath time and bedtime stories, (I'm not happy about that one.)

It's making me think about the challenges facing the CFOs I mentor. As the job has changed from scorekeeper to playmaker, there are new and exciting expectations - but unlike my parenting journey, the old ones aren't fading away.

On the contrary, we know that for many CFOs, the changing expectations of the role feel more like a pile-on than an evolution.

A 2022 DataRails survey found, "81% of CFOs believe they suffer from the most intensive manual work on a daily basis in comparison to any other role in the C-suite."

That statement doesn't surprise me at all. There are a lot of expectations of CFOs of the future.

And this is why Uncapped Productivity, alongside Unwavering Confidence and Profound Value is one of the three key outcomes that we help our value-driven CFOs deliver. There will always be more to do with less.

But how do we achieve this? I believe that embracing discerning decision-making as a core CFO leadership attribute will help.

Embracing discerning decision making

We know that CFOs face the huge challenge of accomplishing more with limited resources, this is why delivering productivity as an outcome is a top priority in my CFO coaching.

Instead of asking yourself the question, how do I do what I'm doing now, just faster? You should be asking yourself, 'what is the outcome or contribution that I'm trying to deliver and in order to achieve that, how can I get that done in a better way?'

You need to short-circuit your existing thinking and approach your outcomes differently. A successful CFO needs to know how to effectively and efficiently use their systems, people and processes; not how to get more done themselves.

Discerning decision-making = Elevated Productivity

Let's take a closer look.

Why follow the maze when you could create a straight path through?

Four tips for elevating CFO contributions through discerning decision-making

1. Focus on the bigger picture

Navigating the complexities of time management and productivity can lead to a fixation on trivial tasks that don't actually contribute to any significant outcomes.

The most successful CFOs know how to create space and time out of seemingly nothing by shifting their focus to the bigger picture. By discerning their most valuable activities from the distractions, they can channel their energy towards strategic priorities and achieving productivity gains.

2. Stick to world-class habits

Put yourself in a position where you can operate at your best. If you put yourself on the back burner, you'll end up sacrificing productivity.

As the ultimate service professionals, CFOs often prioritise the needs of others, neglecting their own well-being in the process.

If the goal is to retain focus on the strategic 'above the line activities' while still getting the BAU job done, and I believe it should be, instilling world-class daily habits needs to be one of the main priorities.

Simple yet impactful practices such as meditation, journaling, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance will only optimise productivity. Sure, making time for these things can be a huge challenge - and this is why it's so important to make them a priority.

3. Get outside perspectives

Outside perspectives provide shortcuts and insights that help CFOs get to the right outcomes faster.

To break free from productivity constraints, it is essential to seek outside perspectives.

Collaborating with external experts, colleagues and other CFOs can provide fresh insights, offer shortcuts, and elevate the quality of decision-making.

I'm a huge believer that surrounding yourself with a community of diverse perspectives will foster a culture of innovation and enhances a CFOs ability to make well-informed decisions efficiently.

4. Use your team better

When CFOs use their teams well, it automatically unleashes productivity for themselves and their businesses.

CFOs of the future know that they can't accomplish everything alone.

This is why effectively leveraging their teams is crucial for unleashing productivity.

When you thoughtfully approach leadership decisions about task delegation, team members are empowered to excel in their roles. This not only boosts productivity, but it also fosters a collaborative work environment. So it's a win-win.

I love bringing finance teams together to elevate themselves and the Office of the CFO!

Discerning decision-making focuses your power where it's most needed

We believe our value-driven CFOs deserve powerful executive presence. The quest for uncapped productivity, therefore, requires discerning decision-making, strategic focus, and a commitment to self-excellence.

By embracing world-class habits, focusing on the bigger picture, seeking external perspectives, and optimising teams, I believe CFOs can transcend the most challenging of the productivity limitations they face.

On that note, maybe when it comes to approaching the world of teenage social media perils I should worry less about screen-time limits and more about the bigger picture. I'll report back when I figure out what it is.

Are you currently leveraging your team for uncapped productivity?
Does your week include simple yet powerful world-class habits?
Do you feel like shifting your perspective to the bigger picture could help you find space and time?

Love to hear your thoughts...

Author: Alena Bennett

Alena works with leaders and their teams to connect technical and leadership skills so they can deliver to deadline without killing their people.
She is a mentor, trainer, facilitator and coach. Contact her today on [email protected]
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 ⓒ 2023




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