Who are you talking to? What are your conversations like?
I spoke to a group of CPAs this week and asked them to cast their minds back to the beginning of their career. You know, when T-accounts and standards and regulations were the focus?! I asked them the following questions:
• What did you do every day?
• Where was your focus of attention at work?
• Who do you spend the most time talking with and about what?
After enjoying the momentary trip down memory lane, we acknowledged that the focus of this time was about learning the discipline and technical elements so that we could 'do' our job well.
Later in my talk, I asked them the same questions but in the present moment. And to reflect on what and how things had changed in that period of time. Interestingly enough, the most telling change was the change in their focus and attention. No longer was it about the technical aspects of their job, but it was about interpretation, insight and influence. And impact.
The changing face of finance
You see, we've gone from being providers of information, where we are asked for something and we respond. We now need to take the next step and provide reasoning, meaning and solutions in advance to being asked. This means we need to not only shift the work we do day-to-day, but we also need to adapt the language we use with our stakeholders and the mindset we adopt.
This means we need to stop and acknowledge this. Some of us may have transitioned into this easily, but for others, adapting to change is a little harder. So we need to allow ourselves (and our teams) the opportunity to stop and say, 'My job has changed. My primarily role is to [insert] and I need to adjust accordingly.'
Can you see clearly?
In order to say that, however, we need clarity. And given the way the industry has changed, our organisations continue to transform and our own career has evolved, clarity is often hard to find amongst the uncertainty. It's a bit like looking in the mirror and not being entirely sure who is looking back at you.
Our behaviour, and in particular our conversations, are a function of what's going on inside our heads. If you're struggling for buy-in, support for your increasing workload, or you feel like every conversation with your stakeholders doesn't go exactly as you'd like, you've probably got a clarity problem.
Connecting context to purpose
Do you have clarity? Answer the following questions:
• What is the purpose of you role? Now, not 2 years ago.
• What is the purpose of your team?
• What is the purpose of your whole department?
• What is your purpose?
How did you go? If you couldn't confidently answer all 4, you quite possibly have a clarity problem. Clarity about your 'big why'. If you can understand 'the big why' of what you're doing in context, your brain will be able to cut through the clutter, put the jigsaw pieces together in a coherent way, and the manner in which you need to communicate will emerge clearly. The outcomes will follow.
Because clarity is contagious.
Pssst. If you have a clarity problem, you need to grab a copy of my book. Soon to be released in both hard copy and e-book, this book is for all women in finance who want to progress their careers and perform with purpose in a practical way.
If this is you, please get in touch and you will be one of the first to receive this book written especially for you.