I find it such an interesting time because some finance teams are full blown 'on' into their year-end or half year, while others are taking some much needed time off spending the summer with family and friends.
Whichever camp you find yourself in, I wish you the best and hope that you've used January to set yourself up for a magnificent 2023.
How would I have done that, you might ask?
What separates a 'doer CFO' from a 'leader'?
Well, it depends on your goals, aspirations and dreams for the next 5-10 years, but I'll share with you one key thing that will separate the 'doer' CFOs from their 'leader' peers this year. That is the ability to achieve simplicity and ease in their week - we call this 'composed implementation'. This will require the skill of subtraction. Taking away. Reducing. Decluttering.
Whatever you want to call it, I think the most useful thing you could while your tank is still full in these early stages of 2023 is to identify the things you will cut out of your day, week or month. Before you step back into the slipstream of your 2022 rhythm, be discerning about what you won't do this year and make those changes now before your it becomes too hard or before a catastrophic event forces your hand.
Don't wait for the next unprecedented event
I was reminded of this last week when my husband sustained a concussion. Not a big deal, you might think, but for me – his wife – who suddenly was coming home to a different person who appeared to be losing his mind, it was frightening. Turns out a freak slip at the beach was enough to not only rip his toenail off, but as we now joke about 'rattled his brain, so at least we know he's got one!'.
We received the diagnosis 2 days before our annual trip to Boomerang Beach, a beautiful isolated spot in the mid North Coast of NSW. This is a place we've been coming for 7 years and each year I say to myself, 'we're going to pack less this year' and upon our return I say to myself, 'you still packed too much!'.
Well, last week my priorities shifted. With the shock diagnosis, and a couple of big work days to get through, I was in full on 'critical path to holiday' packing mode. The girls were given clear instructions to help, my husband given clear instructions to rest and it was game on.
Turns out it was the easiest pack job in 7 years. With no space or energy for surplus 'nice to haves', packing the car was much faster and easier and unpacking on the other end was just as simple. (My husband, tasked with packing his own bag, did bring 20 shirts and 3 pairs of underwear for a 9 day trip but we'll put that down to the concussion!) While I write this poolside, I realise everything about our experience this year has been easier – and better - because we have less stuff to deal with.
It's time to stop adding without subtracting first
Of course this experience has come out of an accident that I'd still rather didn't happen.
So my question for you as things ramp up from February onwards is this: 'What are you going to not do to make this year simpler and more effective for you, your team and your organisation?'
This possibly seems like a fickle question to ask, but I invite you to think about the journey of the Office of the CFO over the past 10 years. All we've done is add to your remit, your workload and your responsibilities to help you move out of the back-office and get that seat at the table. The pressure on costs, productivity and efficiency hasn't eased - in fact, it's concurrently continued to increase.
So...where does it stop?
Don't wait. Play your game
It stops with you. If you know things could and should be different, if you want to elevate from partner into playmaker, and if you know that this is the year to do something about it, now is the time to take stock and subtract tasks, activities and deliverables from your processes and timelines to introduce ease into your days, weeks and months. Because we know how the year will pan out. It will never be as easy as now to break the cycle and start the way you want to continue.
I know you've got the ideas. It's time to execute.
Do you want simplicity from 2023?
What will you stop doing to make that happen?
How will that improve your effectiveness this year?
Love to hear your thoughts...