By Ernie Humphrey, CTP
Success in Finance is driven by many factors which I like to refer to as dimensions. Delivering success from the Office of the CFO requires a leader that understands, values, and communicates with impact. Moreover, has the ability to motivate by investing in relationships within and beyond their teams, and delivers a culture where innovation is a way of life and welcomes transformation as business dynamics dictate it to be beneficial. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a Finance leader, who exemplifies each of these qualities as the VP, Finance at Anaplan. I wanted to share a few highlights of our compelling conversation that took place during an episode of the Finance Trends & Disruption podcast.
A few of the most impactful exchanges from my conversation with Kate include:
Ernie: It is evident that you have a commitment to really helping your own folks drive the professional development. So Kate, let’s talk a little bit about cross training. Can you share with us some of the tips that you have, how have you been able to effectively cross train your team and how important that is for your team?
Kate: Well, one of the things that I find from people is that their career development aspects that they have is they may say, “I want to be a CFO, or I want to be the person that runs this group. That’s the next step for me.” And I really try to understand from their perspective what they are really good at and what they think they may be missing. And then I matched that to my assessment of what they are actually really good at and what they may be missing. So, I try to match that up. I also always try to lead people to understanding being a professional of their presence at the company that they are at, but also the outside world. I think all of us that are in finance have maybe been dragged a little bit kicking and screaming to the LinkedIn profiles and what our personal brand is and having opinions about topics and participating in panels and professional organizations.
Ernie: Can you share with us how you have been able to build relationships and be that trusted advisor with the other company leaders across your companies at which you’ve been a Finance leader?
Kate: Today’s business leaders need to be trilingual to be effective. They need to understand the creative aspect of the company. So, what is the product or service that is being created and the creative mindset that goes into that? I think they need to understand the technical standpoint. So, for me coming mostly from technology, what does it really take? What is the moat around the technology, or what are the most important investments we are making to be competitive? And then third are all the business elements, which would be the finance aspect, the retaining and attracting the best talent and pieces like that. So, I look at the executive and I basically do an assessment of where are they on the trilingual side? Usually, they are super pronated to what they were brought in to do. And then number two and number three are either really close behind or very distant for different reasons.
Ernie: What have you found to be your biggest challenge in working in a remote environment?
Kate: I would say we had little time to prepare. I mean, just the world pandemic situation and as business leaders, on so many levels, it was a very confusing lead up and a very confusing apex. I mean, all of us were caught a bit flatfooted. And what I would say is that I feel like I have a strong team and I’ve been able to have a lot of emotional intelligence around what they’re going through personally and professionally and working harder to balance that. I think when you are in an office, it is fairly easy to be eight-to-five or seven-to-six about what you’re working on. And so, everybody’s personal and professional life are intertwined in the present. So, I think I have taken a little bit more time to understand people’s situations.