CFOs: Extroverts or Introverts?

There is a wild conversation going on in the Chief Financial Officer Network group on Linked In around whether CFOs are extroverts or introverts … and who is better! WOW!!

There are certainly some interesting observations and a few, like these, that defy logic and belief:  

–In the end a successful CFO of a medium or large organization has to be extrovert. 

–From my point of view, and with my experience (of course), an extrovert CFO is trustworthier than an introverted CFO.

–We are all here, so we must be all extroverted to some extent. Its the ones that are not here may be less so. 

First, while the labels of introvert and extrovert are often interchanged with shy and gregarious, these two terms really speak to where a person gets his energy. One can be a social introvert, but in small doses. In fact, while enjoying socializing, it can be exhausting. That person will need quiet time to rejuvenate. Conversely, an extrovert gets energy from a large group of people, noise, and activity. Left alone too long, an extrovert can quickly get depressed. This person feeds off the energy of other people, and the more people, the better.  

An outgoing CFO is indicative of a different communication and behavioral style than a CFO who is more reserved. Possessing strong people skills doesn't preclude one from being a great finance leader either. In fact, that difference in communication and behavioral style may actually make having a seat at the executive table a much more comfortable one.

One thing that I've observed is that my CFOs who have a strong operational background are typically much more people-oriented people than those who have come up through the public accounting/controller ranks and who are true bean counters. Accounting types tend to be numbers people and that person is probably always going to be more comfortable with numbers … if that is how he is wired.

In my opinion, it does not make any difference whether a CFO falls on the I or the E side on the Myers Briggs assessment … there is a place for both of them.

CFOs and Finance Execs Recruiters Really, Really Want


Are you one? Are you sure?

–Do you bring a record of contributions?

–Have you led initiatives that positively impacted the bottom line?

–Is your value proposition compelling enough that a company will pay to bring you on board?

–Has the company moved forward under your leadership?

–Do you hold a seat at the executive table?

Great! Now, do the people who need to know about you, actually know about you?

I recently wrote a post about how stiff job search competition is shaping up to be next year. In a recent Reuters article on Wall Street talent, James Dunne, the senior managing principal at investment bank Sandler O’Neil, said this …

Really, really good people are always hard to get. There will be a few more opportunities, but for the most part, I would say 7.5 or eight of those 10 people at those places we don’t want in the first place.”

Dunne may have been talking about specifically Wall Street talent, but that sentiment extends well beyond Wall Street well into Corporate America. Despite the great talent now actively looking for positions, great may not be good enough. The job search is tough and all indications point to it getting even tougher.

So here’s my next question …

–Are you a coveted “passive candidate?”

In previous posts, I’ve also talked about my recruiter contacts telling me they have been told by their company clients that they are not paid to present candidates found in job boards. Here’s an excerpt from a recent ERE blog post

They [the company] will now not accept any candidate as a referral from me if they do a search after I submit my candidate and find this candidate in a career builder or monster database.

Is your resume plastered all over the job boards? If so, it could be hurting you much more than it is helping you!

Ask yourself this … “what do I need to do to be one of those 1 or 2 people a company DOES want? If you don’t know, maybe we should talk!