How CFOs Are Making Visionary Decisions Right Now

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

Spring is in the air and it feels like, with the flowers, Australia may be opening up again. With the finish line in sight for much of the Eastern Seaboard I'm having lots of conversations with CFOs excited at the thought of seeing their teams again in the office.

However, there is a sense of reality that sits alongside that excitement. The reality that not only will our people be able to come back into the office, but the reality that they might start to take their much-needed holidays. So whilst they might be 'able' to return, they may do briefly, before going away again. Which means 'back to normal' – whatever that is (and we know it's not really going to be back to normal) – won't come for a while.

I was having a conversation with one of the CFOs in our Boardroom recently about this. She's working on a performance dashboard that is going to change the way everyone in the business views, monitors and measures their own performance. It's inspired and it will change the game for her business because it symbolises the intentional creation of and first step towards a high-performance culture.

Visionary decision making comes in many forms. The ability to make visionary decisions comes from the ability to make a decision that is:
- Tactical
- Strategic
- Predictive

That is, the decision can be implemented in a practical way – quite often it has a very tangible element associated with it. It is also one that moves a team, company, or community towards achievement of its vision. And finally, it allows you to influence and measure the impact on future performance.

Extract the visionary decision amongst the ordinary


It might be transformational, like a high-performance dashboard, or the creation of a new vision (or 'noble purpose') like Hubert Jolly, former CEO of Best Buy, did in 2012 that turned the company around from a share price of $10 in 2012 to $75 in 2019[1].

But it may also be small and simple, like an old boss of mine who after weeks of crazy hours and cancelled holidays, said, 'Alena, let me take you and your husband out for a nice meal to thank you for your hard work. I know you haven't spent much time together.' I'd never had a boss acknowledge my work in such a heartfelt way and I'll never forget out it fuelled my commitment to delivering high quality work for him.

I'm hearing some other really good ideas popping up in my CFO Boardroom and Connect communities. I've heard one organisation giving their team each Wednesday morning off. What makes this particularly exciting is that the organisation has been clear that this doesn't mean 5 days work in 4.5. They are actively encouraging staff to be discerning about the meetings they have usually scheduled on a Wednesday morning instead of blindly rescheduling them.

I'm curious, what visionary decision can you make right now?

Now – here's the thing. In order to make visionary decisions, you need to know the vision. I have a CFO whose company, like many, doesn't have a clear vision. She's been asked to run their internal executive strategy day and I was helping her with the planning and structure it in a recent coaching session. As we were working, the penny dropped for her: she needs to be the one driving the conversation around the vision. She'd been asked to do strategy, but without the critical ingredient, it wasn't going to be possible.

Solve the better problem

Visionary decision making is about solving the bigger and better problem.

A strategy without a vision is like going on a road trip without a map. So, knowing that the strategy day was in the calendar (and we know how hard it is to get execs in a room at the same time) we prepared her ask the right questions to get her peers and boss thinking about articulating the vision as part of the strategic conversation. So that she could frame the strategy day in a way that educated everyone as to the importance of the vision in aligning all the different parts' of the business priorities and goals, as opposed to the focus just being the compilation of another powerpoint presentation that would sit stagnant and quite frankly, not add much value.

Be inspired for your team

Our people could really use some visionary leadership right now. To break up the monotony they've experienced over the last several months, and to help energise them to see out the year with intention. So they get that sense of achievement and fulfilment that many have been lacking this year. Now is your time.

What are the tactical, strategic and predictive decisions you need to be making at the moment?
What information is missing?
What do you need to be empowered to make visionary decisions?

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




Let's Connect
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.