The demands placed on CFOs are ever increasing. No longer limited to pure finance functions, CFOs are being drawn into everything from artificial intelligence adoption to ESG. Many CFOs are choosing to delegate more.
A 2021 survey found that 61% of South African and European CFOs have delegated more in pursuit of pace over perfection. On the other hand, there are aspects of a business that may require more involvement. A recent Deloitte survey of Danish CFOs found that 67% believed they should be personally involved in driving the organic growth of their companies.
Understanding when to delegate, when to become involved and ensuring your involvement doesn’t crowd out the independence and confidence of your team is essential for successful CFOS.
The test for determining if you’re too involved
Leadership expert, Jesse Sostrin, calls on executives to embrace what he calls the leadership paradox. “You need to be more essential and less involved. When you justify your hold on work, you’re confusing being evolved with being essential. These two are not the same – just as being busy and being productive are not necessarily equal,” writes Sostrin.
Sostrin recommends shaping the ideas and thoughts of employees, but not dictating their plans. A practical test to ask yourself is, “If I have to take an unexpected week off work, would my initiatives and priorities advance in my absence.”
“If I have to take an unexpected week off work, would my initiatives and priorities advance in my absence.”
If you answered: no, you may want to rethink your approach.
When it can be valuable to be hands on
In certain instances, due to your unique positionality and skillset as a CFO, it can be valuable to take a more hands on approach.
A survey by McKinsey & Company found that when CFOs were very involved in merger integrations, they were far more likely to achieve cost and revenue synergies that exceeded expectations.
The survey authors note that CFOs have an essential role to play as synergy leaders, stating: “The finance chief must establish an end-to-end process for capturing the most value from a deal. This process involves assessing potential synergies, building forecasts and scenarios, and involving top leaders in financial planning and analysis (FP&A) to ensure that financial and strategic objectives can be met once the deal is completed.”
Knowing when to delegate and when to be intricately involved can be tricky. Often the only people who can understand and can assist are fellow CFOs, which is why CFOAfrica wants to connect you to a network of local and international CFOs.
Knowing when to delegate and when to be intricately involved can be tricky.
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