CFO Wiring

Ernst & Young recently conducted a study of 669 senior finance professionals in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa focused on the DNA of a CFO. I’m wondering how much different these results would be if America had been included in the survey.

For example, our poll this week at SmartBrief for CFOs asks this question around a statistic pulled directly from the E&Y study: 73% of surveyed CFOs see their role as a destination. Only 10% aspire to be a CEO. What about you? Right now, the numbers are virtually tied. Register for the Brief and add your vote.

But here was something else that really jumped out at me:

Describe the essential ingredients of a leading CFO and guidance for the aspiring CFO. 75% of respondents do not record having a fellow CFO they admire, which might be a reflection of their historical lack of focus on external profile building.

Very few role models. I see that as a pretty powerful statement around two key issues for CFOs …whether foreign or domestic.

Networking … CFOs historically have focused on doing their jobs, not building a network. Today, networking is key for the strategic, operational CFO corporately and for his career. If you are a regular reader I know you know this … the definition of networking is who knows about you, not who you know. Are you a subject matter expert? Are you credible? Are you admired? Do the people who need to know about you actually know about you?

Mentoring … Mentoring others, and being mentored, is a great way to become known. 

Grooming future tribesmen is good for your company and great for your resume. Those rising stars bring a wealth of fresh air to the table, and you might even learn something from those younger, tech-savvy whipper snappers.

And there is great value around you seeking out a mentor. It doesn’t matter how old you are or even where you are in your career. There are always things to learn from others who bring different experiences and wisdom to the table. The icing on the cake is that when you are being mentored by a person of influence, you have access to his network. As your mentor, it is in his best interests to help you be more successful. Part of that success means introducing you to the people in his cone of influence (network).

Mentoring … Succession Planning

An article in calls it grandparenting … “To Keep Key Staff, Act Like a Grandparent.”

“… for corporate finance departments — currently besieged by the twin demographic demons of looming baby-boomer retirements and a relative paucity of younger people to step in as replacements — retaining the talent they do have should be of the highest priority..”

Whatever you call it, mentoring future executives is a win for everyone … succession planning looks good on your resume (a skill that is in high demand), helps groom future leadership, and strengthens companies.

Who have you nurtured today?