Waiting For The Right Time


         team operating at or in excess of capacity is a difficult scenario, and not uncommon. Capacity constraints may be caused by poor process, systems, data, capability, time management, and being understaffed, to name a few.
With prohibitively expensive solutions, such as implementing a new ERP, a team is often left to make the most of existing systems.
 The outcome? Burnout.
 The bare basics are executed and the high-value activities that drive increased profits left to the wayside.
 Many finance leaders recognise the need for change but feel their hands are tied by the risk of burnout in their teams. This quickly leads to the deferral of change. “As soon as we [get through year-end / complete the audit / finish implementing XYZ], then we will have time.” Choose your poison.
This leads to a negative cycle where finance teams aren’t given the option to perform at their maximum capability, with CFOs paying the price both reputationally and at the bottom line.
But how can the actions of a CFO impact team performance, even with heavily constrained resources? Change the environment.
A short case study
recall being utterly infuriated when a senior finance leader said to me, “You know Kirsty, you need to take a helicopter view.” After months of working up to 20-hour days 6 days a week, I was exhausted. These innocuous statements were like a red flag to a bull. Thankfully there hadn’t been a stapler in reach, else it may have ended up solidly lodged in his forehead.
Over a decade later, I understand what he wanted was fair and possible. However, we both needed to share responsibility for achieving it. I needed to improve my time management and prioritisation skills and he needed to create an environment to set my team and I up for success.
While being told I needed to operate at higher materiality, the operating context was telling me something else entirely.
  • Senior management & executives were performing line-by-line budget reviews.
  • Frequent requests for more detail on costs from finance & stakeholders
  • An initial public offering (IPO) was underway, with frequent updates on the legal implications of errors.
  • Detailed monthly review meetings with managers were the norm 
  • Monthly reporting demanded in depth analysis
  • Finance policy carried an extremely low materiality. 

Time management is a critical skill for every team member. However, the ability to create a context which lays the finance function’s path to success is solely in the hands of the CFO.

Below are four simple steps for you to change your team’s environment, without investment:

Set a New Context...

Four simple steps for you to create capacity and focus in your team today.