The Lessons CFOs Can Take From “Titanic” CFOs Connect… and an Exciting Announcement

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

CFOs Connect breakfast event

When we benefit from the experience of others....

Yesterday morning was a stunner. The harbour was sparkling and a group of 8 experienced CFOs joined me at the Sofitel Darling Harbour to discuss the secrets to high performing habits you need to have when you are a CFO of Influence.

It was a meeting of the minds - and hearts! That a group of CFOs could get together and have so much in common, despite very few of them actually knowing each other before the event, and share so much about themselves in a relatively short period of time was quite special.

Want to know what they had in common?

Here are just a few...

  • they all enjoyed leading businesses. They were less about the detailed numbers and more about leading teams, driving performance and delivering outcomes.

  • they know their own personal success depends on the effectiveness of their teams...but a fully resourced team was something they all dreamed of.

  • they fundamentally know what matters/ what's important to them but sometimes the focus of their attention and energy isn't aligned. This causes stress.

  • experience that was valuable to one another. We had great diversity in the room: age, gender, background, industry and hearing about their wisdom gained from their unique experiences was where we had the opportunity to learn.

Want to know what we discussed?

We got deep very quickly, discussing both the challenges and opportunities that 2020 presented for CFOs and how that has continued to inform and shape our worlds this year.

I think it was best articulated as follows: "It was like we were going at over 120kms an hour on the freeway and then suddenly we needed to put our foot on the brake, screech into reverse and then accelerate again." It was a great reminder that we experience change all the time, and with that change, we must recognise that habits that accelerate and amplify our performance must also change.

It's a little bit like that outdated process at work where you still need to sign and mail hard copies of an internal document when an email is more timely and effective.

Some of the other challenges discussed included getting business buy-in, the question of 'who owns the numbers' and why CFOs and their teams are often the ones left delivering bad news (and what to do about it). It was such a relief for everyone in the room to hear these stories and there were many chuckles and nods of empathy and knowing.

Are you a lark, owl or third bird? The role timing plays in high performance

We acknowledged up front that when it came to high performance habits, it was very likely that everyone around the table had a long list of them already that they had already at some stage implemented. But there were 2 important factors that influenced the positive impact of a 'high performance habit': (1) the timing of when you perform that habit and (2) the relevance of the habit given your priorities.

In his book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, New York Times best selling author Daniel Pink shares the research around the timing of activities relative to our bodies' natural circadian rhythms: our chronotypes. He shares 3 different chronotypes and states that we are all either a 'lark' (commonly known as a 'morning person') an 'owl' (a 'night owl') or a 'third bird' (someone who sits between) You're probably reading this and already have a strong sense of your chronotype.

Let me share with you - I'm a lark. I love to get early and I love to go to bed early. The research shows that as a lark, I am at my best when it comes to analytical decision making in the morning. That is the time when my body and brain are best equipped to solve analytical problems as I am most able to be discerning and have laser focus. It also shows that when it comes to problems of insight - those that require big picture, strategic thinking and the ability to think laterally - I am best placed doing that thinking in the afternoon.

Now, you might be reading this and be thinking, 'well, that's unsurprising. I've read so many books that say get up early and get your most important work done first'. Which as a lark, works really well for me. But what if you're reading this and you're an owl? The reverse timing is true for you, which means you need to 'warm up' through your day and you are best placed to solve those really difficult analytical problems in the afternoon. So what does this mean if you're an owl trying to implement the 'wake up early and solve your most difficult problems first'? It simply may not extract the high performance that you expect!

So when Luke shared yesterday that he has a weekly meeting on a Friday at 6pm to discuss the most important thing of the week - to finish the week with a bang! - many of us around the table shuddered at the thought of how this just wouldn't work for us and wouldn't extract our best work.

Habits - in order to yield high performance - need to work for you and timing matters.

How might you need to adjust the timing of your habits to get better results?

Sound interesting? Join us for the next CFOs Connect breakfast

I'd love for you to join us at the next CFOs Connect breakfast and get the benefit of kick-starting your day by connecting with your peers. To enable the genuine conversation and allow for everyone in the room to have a voice and be vulnerable, seats are limited, so get in quick. Register below and I look forward to seeing you next month!

Register here

Announcing... The CFO Boardroom Program!

It is a delight for me to announce the launch of The CFO Boardroom program. This is a high performance leadership program for CFOs who want next level success and influence with the help and support of me and other CFO Boardroom community members.

If you are a CFO who needs 2021 to be a big year, then this may be the thing you're looking for.

What is The CFO Boardroom?

This program is about performance and community, and provides you the confidence to know you have dedicated support and a confidential space to help you solve business problems. It is the perfect blend of face to face and virtual, and group and 1:1 sessions. Results are measurable and accountability will be high.

Together we work on delivering results that exceed expectations and outcomes that are meaningful. I'm really excited to be launching this - it really is a game changer if that's what you want this year.

If The CFO Boardroom sounds like something that might be useful for you, click below and find out more.

Learn more about the program

Do you want to start the new financial year with clarity and energy?

As a CFO, you can often feel like you're in a constant state of spinning plates and just hanging on doing your best to stop them from dropping. During this planning session, we will use my CFO Planning framework to set yourself up for success in the new financial year. You'll be able to use this throughout the year to ensure you stay focused on what matters despite the noise and distractions you'll have along the way.

Learn more

Would you love to have the presence or gravitas of the best CFOs?
Do you need to have more influence in the Boardroom?

The CFO Connect series provides an intimate setting over breakfast and flowing coffee where CFOs can relax, share their stories and learn from each other. We focus on habits and skills for high performance and influence so that we can create CFOs of the Future.

It is the perfect event for you if you don't like networking events of big groups of people but would love the opportunity to connect with people who share your challenges, can share ideas and support you with their connections.

I'd love to see you there.
Register here

One of the most critical skills for a CFO in the ability to make timely decisions in a context of ambiguity and uncertainty. Your CEO, your peers and your team rely on you to provide them with the clarity and confidence they need to move forward. In this webcast, I will discuss what you need to make quick and confident decisions to ensure you and your team are operating at your best.

Register here

Would it be helpful to know the exact journey you need to take to become a trusted advisor, a strategic business partner and a CFO of Influence? In this webcast, I will show you the steps you need to take to operate at 100% impact and be a CFO of influence. and the areas you need to focus on in order to progress through the steps.

Register here

The Leading Women in Finance Network: Connection Beyond the Numbers is an intimate network of leading women in finance who want connection and growth...without the canapes and small talk. There is still so much demand for sponsorship and support for women in finance as they continued to be outnumbered in the boardroom. This is that opportunity. Each quarter we hold a dinner event for Network members and their guests.


If this sounds like something you need in your life, join here.

Read more here

This workshop is ideal for you if:
- You know you have more to give and want to find an opportunity that will allow you to shine
- You are actively seeking your next opportunity in finance and you want to ensure you're doing the right thing
- You are a self-starter and entrusted with the right tools and frameworks, you will do the work
- You need a strategic plan that maximises your productivity and ensures you don't invest your time and energy in the wrong places.

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.

Grab your copy of Alena's Meaning Matters!

It's time for women in finance to find power in their purpose!

 ⓒ 2023




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Acknowledgement of Country

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.