Introduction to: PERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS For CFOs and Finance Professionals

CFO.University thanks Andy for sharing this teaching with us. We are big Stephen R. Covey fans too and enjoy the way Andy links Covey’s work to the role of leadership in finance. Enjoy. Learn. Engage.

Here is Andy:

An Introduction to Personal Effectiveness for CFOs and Finance Professionals is a book that I wrote to give an outline of some core behavioural skills that are essential to business-focused Finance but don’t receive enough attention.

The book arose out of a reading project I undertook in order to get a well-rounded view of CFO and Finance business partnering roles, and the skills and behaviours involved. And I think it’s only fair to acknowledge the influence of at least some of the books I read. In fact, I’ll mention just two, because these are the most relevant to the subject matter of this book.

Firstly, a kindle-only book by Alan Warner, Finance Business Partnering - The search for value, was useful in suggesting a skills framework for Finance business partnering. Warner’s analysis is where I got the three categories that I now talk about - Business acumen, Behavioural, and Technical.

What I quickly realised, and explained in another blog article, is that, “CFO skills are essentially well-developed Finance business partner skills. And conversely, Finance business partner skills are developing Chief Financial Officer skills.”

CFO skills are on the same continuum as Finance business partnering skills.

That doesn’t mean the skills under the three headings are only appropriate for those with a role title of Finance Business Partner. They represent critical skills for all those wanting to develop into senior roles within Finance.

And that’s why I’ve started to talk about these three categories as relating to what I call “business-focused Finance” and “Finance leadership”.

Secondly, Stephen Covey’s masterpiece, The 7 Habits of Highly Eective People - Powerful lessons in personal change, had an enormous impact on me. I’ve been aware of the book’s existence since the mid-90s, and now I’m so disappointed that it took me 20 years to get around to reading it!

Part of the reason for this was the way that it tied in with what I’d taken away from a leadership development programme I attended in 2004/5 when I worked at Centrica plc. That programme was a real eye-opener for me. And therefore, when I read similar insights in The 7 Habits it resonated very strongly.

The other reason that The 7 Habits is, in my view, in a league of its own, in terms of the personal improvement genre, is that it steers away from quick fixes and simplistic techniques.

Instead, Covey goes for principles-based character work. And that is, I think, why the book is sometimes misunderstood. It’s also the reason why it will stand the test of time in the long run.

My book is about “personal effectiveness”, and as such it focuses on core aspects within the Behavioural category in my business-focused Finance skills framework.

And I have no embarrassment in saying that the chapters within this book are based on Covey’s 7 Habits. What I’m really seeking to do is to reiterate the wisdom in my own words, in a brief way, and directed towards application to Finance professionals and leaders.

What I demonstrate in this book is that if you want to progress in your career in Finance, in fact, if you want to grow and achieve more, these common-sense behaviours must become increasingly prevalent in the way you live and work.

Without these “personal effectiveness” habits gluing everything together, the other skills we talk about in Finance and business leadership become merely a random ragbag of techniques.

What Supercharged Finance is all about is developing accountants and Finance professionals to become wise and shrewd business leaders, such as CFOs and CEOs.

That involves growing in every area to become business-focused Finance professionals. And the core enablers and accelerators of that growth are the habits and behaviours of “personal effectiveness”.

I hope that these chapters provide you with deep thinking material that will spark your energy and growth as a Finance professional, and perhaps that you’ll one day trace a critical moment in your Finance leadership career back to this point.

Andy Burrows

To receive a free pdf copy of Andy’s book Click Here.


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