Well school's gone back so it's fair to say everyone is back in full swing now! Whether you've just returned this week, or have been back since January 4th, now's the time to turn our attention to our intention for 2021.
What's your intention for 2021?
When you 'went back to the office' on your first day (physically or virtually), what did your first day look like? Your first week?
From a leadership perspective, how you approach your first week back at work speaks volumes about the way you are currently set up to approach 2021.
It's completely natural, normal (and actually, expected) to spend your first day trawling through the hundreds of emails that you were sent over the holiday break. The tone this creates and the problems faced when you do this, however, is that you tend to fall back into REACT AND RESPOND mode. Once again you mistake being in service to being a servant, and saying 'yes' to every request and demand that comes your way. Reactive leaders who focus on others' requests first miss the opportunity to set new and improved expectations from the start: ways of working, service levels, behaviours. When CFOs and their teams start the year feeling like they're fighting a losing battle, it's a hard road back to mediocrity, let alone excellence.
A CFO's approach at work
When CFOs take a PASSIVE approach in their first week it feels sluggish. They 'warm' themselves back into work and it can often take a few weeks to feel 'back at it'. During this initial period, work happens at half speed, decisions take longer than they should and opportunities are missed. By waiting too long to make decisions, the ship has sailed and others are making decisions for them. Finance quickly becomes and afterthought. It's common for CFOs to find themselves here - it often comes with their conservative and cautious nature. The risk is, however, that unless there is a deadline approaching this 'lag-effect' can go unnoticed by everyone - including the CFO themselves. The challenge arises, of course, when those first month-end results come in under budget, or when that first stakeholder calls irritated by an interaction with a staff member, which suddenly lands the CFO back in firefighting mode.
The most effective CFOs are those that approach the start of the year with deep intention, and take a PROACTIVE approach to their activities. They recognise that last year, despite finishing up the year okay, was a bit of a mess that took every inch of their effort and energy to pull themselves, their team and the company through. They are the ones that spent the first week reviewing their schedule: reviewing their priorities, milestones and deadlines for the year. Proactive CFOs understand that the new year means one thing: OPPORTUNITY. More importantly they understand that opportunity for the sake of activity isn't effective. PROACTIVE CFOs lead with intent and therefore know which opportunities to seek out and accept. To be this kind of CFO takes confidence, positioning and unwavering support. These CFOs are industry leaders.
How have you started your year?
What adjustments can you take immediately that might reset the tone for you and your team and set you up for a year of high performance?
What's your intention for 2021?