November 7, 2012
Phoenix Country Club
CPE Credits: 0
Hosted by The CFO AllianceCost: Free for Executive Members
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For some time, our discussions have continued to point out that when it comes to leading beyond the traditional realm of finance, many CFOs are discovering that they require a different set of tools than those that have served them well in the past.
Today there are leadership qualities that personify the office of the CFO, qualities that people have come to expect. Among these are integrity, fairness, objectivity, and sometimes toughness, detail orientation, and a straight talking style. Yet each CFO seat is filled with a leader who has their own unique style and approach.
Now, Dennis Baltzley of the Thunderbird School of Global Management joins our Phoenix chapter to explore how CFOs can shape their leadership brands to achieve a more efficient and simpler way to lead.
In this personal leadership session attendees will start a conversation to explore the alignment of values CFOs must achieve to project a leadership presence to others.
It's no secret, CFOs have a new sense of awareness surrounding their own CFO brands as their roles have become increasingly strategic. To bridge the management communication gap between business strategies initiated by top management and people and processes, branding is today a highly efficient tool that CFOs must be using more effectively.
Facilitator: Dennis Baltzley, Thunderbird
Field of Study: Leadership
Your brand is something you can influence
Think carefully about what you want to project
Be authentic – true to your core self and values
Make sure that your words and actions are congruent with your statement
Adjust your perspective as needed, based on situation and/or feedback
“In very few instances do effective leaders say exactly what they plan to do.” I’m not certain who may have first made this observation, but I’d like to attribute it to Carl von Clausewitz, the 19th-century Prussian general and master strategist.
Among the other statements that we can more confidently attribute to Clausewitz is, “Everything in strategy is very simple, but that does not make everything easy.”
It appears that as the CFO’s leadership responsibilities have expanded across the organization, so too has the CFO’s appetite for strategic thinking. While the collective synergies between leadership and strategy have been widely explored, I’d argue that the changing role of the CFO has exposed a unique correlation between the two that has rarely been made visible.
To succeed in their newly expanded leadership roles, CFOs must become more strategic in their thinking, and if organizational strategies are to succeed, they must more fully integrate finance principles, metrics and analyses to routinely reveal strategy-based financial insights.
For finance chiefs, effective leadership and strategy are now inseparable — which brings us back to Clausewitz and the first statement above, our use of which was meant to reveal how ambiguity is a strategic underpinning of effective leadership. It may sound odd to put it this way, but “strategic ambiguity” provides leaders with room to operate and buys them more time to view all of their options. Having many options is really what good strategy is all about, and that’s classic Clausewitz.
Meanwhile, every so often we get lucky and capture an "ah-hah" moment on video that’s worthy of special packaging, and so it is with this clip from a discussion on transformational leadership.
The leadership insight, brought forth in a lucid and spirited manner by our facilitator Jorge Haddock, dean of George Mason University’s School of Management, is that people’s actions, or the way they perform, correlate to how different situations appear to them.
According to Dean Haddock, this is the first law of performance, and your ability to shape how workers interpret situations as they occur is what will set you apart as a leader. Here’s where language becomes the ultimate leadership tool, and here’s where transformational leaders never fail to put a situation - as it occurs - to work for them.
When the leadership of Ford Motor Company first began to tell its employees “Quality is job one,” it was far from it, according to Haddock. However, the future-based language used by Ford management allowed it to transform how its people perceived their work and a commitment to higher quality standards became a reality throughout Ford, Haddock explains.
Purpose of a leader starts with the evaluation of your values. Leaders know what they value. Values are the anchors we use to make decisions so we can weather a storm. Values keep us aligned with our authentic self. They keep us true to ourselves and the future we want to experience.
The CFO Alliance is committed to making you a better leader, we from time to time will use parts of discussions to frame other discussions.
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