CFOs Hiring “People” People

A recent survey by Accountemps is indicative of a growing trend in finance. CFOs not only want people with people skills working for them, they themselves bring higher value when they bring relational skills sets to the table.

The Accountemps survey shows a dramatic increase in the value of interpersonal skills in the people they hire. When CFOs were asked what would tip the scales between two top candidates, 31% said interpersonal skills … up from 1% in 2004.

With CFOs, that skill set is also key. In conjunction with a proven track record in finance and today, operations, companies are increasingly hiring those finance leaders who are forward-thinking, good communicators, and have the ability to groom team members as well as their successor. Two of those three require solid people skills.

In fact, according to a recent K-Force article, being an award-winning CFO involves, “first and foremost, strong leadership skills … with the ability to tailor leadership styles to the situation at hand and set the right example for the finance team and the company as a whole.” You can say you’re a leader, but if you don’t have people following … because they want to not because they have to … you probably aren’t really leading.

And Tatum has pushed its CFOs to get training in “the softer skills,” including communications and negotiations. At the foundation of both are solid people skills.

In his blog, Beyond Beans, Chief Financial Officer Ben Paramore writes about the skills most valued in CFOs by  company directors. Beating out finance skills were integrity and the ability to communicate. Included in the list were team skills and positive relations with the financial community.

Bottom line … those accomplished CFOs with a strong digital footprint and solid network (so they can be found) and who possess stellar people skills will continue to be high-value targets by recruiters and companies.

The 3 C’s: Communication, Culture, Core Values

One of the very smart CFOs I follow on Twitter blogs at Beyond Beans. His most recent post talks about the importance of communication in leadership. He’s right. In fact, communication is so important, that Tatum has pushed its CFOs to get training in “the softer skills,” including communications and negotiations. 

And retired CFO of AT&T and Northrup Grumman, Charles N. Noski, says “once you get past the technical skills, it’s all about the people – communicating with them, developing them, empowering them, and listening to them.”

At the CFO level, communication skills are critical. So are the other two Cs: culture fit and core values.

One of the most challenging issues a company faces when hiring is culture fit. Its ability, or inability, to clearly communicate its corporate culture is the difference between smart hiring and costly hiring mistakes. Underlining corporate culture are a company’s core values. 

Understanding individual core values and culture fit are equally important to making that next, right move. 

Core values can serve as a roadmap for good decision-making. Unless you are clear about what values you hold, and whether that next position will validate or violate your core values, you become like a ship without a rudder. You’re moving, but aimlessly … and often unhappily or unsatisfactorily.

The same is true for culture fit. It is, or should be, as important to you as it is to the company hiring you. The more you “fit in,” the happier and more satisfied you will be in that next position.

So here’s the skinny … understand your core values and your brand (culture fit), and then communicate that message in a clear and consistent manner to your target market.