Beyond Business Partnering for CFOs

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

As you might know, I am a die-hard Geelong Cats Australian Rules football supporter. I was there in the 90s and early 2000s when they were 'so close, yet so far' to many grand final berths and became very used to feeling let down at the last minute. (I think we call that 'building resilience'!!) Gary Ablett Junior is one of the recent greats of the club. His dad, Gary Ablett Senior is also an icon of the game and the Geelong Football Club (GFC) and Ablett Jr certainly followed suit when he started his AFL career in 2002. During his career he has won 2 grand finals, 2 Brownlow Medals (best player of the season across all the AFL clubs) and played 350+ games. Watching him is incredible: he creates plays when you think the game has hit a lull, wins then when they're all but lost and he delivers moments of magic. He is by all accounts, a playmaker.

Geelong Cats tragics from birth!

In 2010 he made the decision to move away from Geelong to Queensland and be a part of the inaugural Gold Coast AFL team, the Gold Coast Suns. There were a lot of questions by many people about this move, wondering 'why would you do this at the peak of your career?', some thinking 'what a traitor after all the GFC has done for him'. We were a little in the middle somewhere thinking 'Wow, good on him. Risky move, but I hope it's a good one.'. We watched in terror as the Suns, captained by Ablett Jr, lost their first game to Carlton by 119 points. Brutal. Their record for the first season was W3: L19. They came bottom of the ladder.

At this stage, there were many thinking Gary Ablett Jr had made a huge mistake. He'd let ego get in the way and not even he could play God with a new football team. He wasn't playing as well as we were used to and even we were questioning whether this would be the end of his career. Their 2nd season was equally as bad with the same W:L ratio. But they soon built up their strength winning 7 games in 2014 and continued to build their strength and support base from there. Ablett Jr was back at his best and earned yet another Brownlow in 2013.

In 2018 he moved back to Geelong to be back with his family and rejoined GFC. It was great to see the energy and electricity he brought back into the team - he was back to making plays and providing mentorship to the junior members of the team.

Gary Ablett Jr's actions and history are that of a Playmaker. He was significant – a bona fide legend of the game. He created plays both on and off the field – even when they might risk putting his career and performance 'off track'. He chose to make those plays so upon retirement he felt fulfilled.

Beyond Business Partnering

Many CFOs and financial professionals think Business Partnering is the end game. In fact, it's just the beginning. Business partnering is indeed a worthy pursuit – it's the role that allows you to create value for your organisation and in my opinion it makes the job far more interesting and exciting. But seeing it as the end game is ultimately limiting because when you start to wonder 'what's next?' you don't know how to answer it. This leads to you taking actions based on a limited reality.

Playmaker CFOs have gravitas and stand out from the crowd. They exude confidence and evoke a sense of significance in everything they do.

This is exactly what Gary Ablett Jr achieved through his career. It brought ups and downs but no one can take away the fact he has had a significant impact on the game, his clubs and his fans. It's been a privilege to watch him play and be inspired by his career.

It got me wondering about how CFOs might answer the question How do I know what's possible? beyond business partnering? The answer to that lies within you, but I understand that infinity is intimidating!

If you want to find out, come along to our next CFOs Connect breakfast, live online. Yes - we're still getting together for breakfast on September 8! When you join us, you'll be the first to get your own copy of my latest book, "CFO of the Future: The trusted guide for CFOs to lead with impact and create value". Breakfast and coffee will also be provided and you'll have the opportunity for great conversation in a safe space with other like-minded CFOs. If you are one of the many CFOs who are currently in lockdown, now is the time to connect. Secure your seat here.

How do you exemplify the characteristics of a Playmaker?
What 'plays' do you create for yourself, your team and your organisation?
What is your sense of significance?

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]
Grab your copy of Alena's CFO of the Future!

This is the trusted guide for CFOs to lead with IMPACT and create VALUE.

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 ⓒ 2023




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We acknowledge the Darkinjung people, the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work and pay our respects to the Elders both past, present & emerging.