Turnaround CFOs

The January/February 2011 issue of CFO magazine includes an article entitled “Looking for the Light,” in which it cites the high demand for turnaround masters.  Specialists. In fact, the recommendation in the article was that “any CFO would do well to become acquainted with, if not specialize in,” turnaround.

I agree. It’s a great, in-demand skill set. But I think there is a broader issue … that of building a reputation as being a subject matter expert. CFO tenure today is a mere 22 months. For the “traditional” finance chief, that is barely enough time to become intimately familiar with the organization let alone effect change. But it is enough time to swoop in, clean up a mess or solve a problem, and then move on.

So, two key recommendations …

— Figure out what you do well and what you enjoy doing … they are not always identical. Then, leverage it. Your strongest positioning is from strengths, passions, and values to a clear target market.

— Raise your visibility. If no one knows what a cracker jack turnaround master (or other subject matter expert) you are, does it matter?