Leaders Need A Strong Vision in The Face of Uncertainty

Day five of the Financial Leadership Summit explored remote work, dealing with uncertainty with data, and tips and tricks for using Zoom.

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What systems do you have in place to automatically provide you competitor or marketplace information - before you need to make strategy-altering decisions? Day five of the Financial Leadership Summit reminded me of the old adage, “An ounce of the prevention is worth a pound of the cure.” Investing in systems that scan vast databases of information to extract exactly what you’d like to know. Leveraging collaborative and time saving software that removes waste in your business’ most performed tasks. Implementing a cross-functional, matrixed, and diverse governance council. Each may serve as the “prevention” offering you proactive insights to change course in the face of uncertainty.

Thank you to our friends Tim Hird, Executive Vice President with Robert Half, Nick McKeehan, Managing Director with Protiviti, and Kathie Topel, Director with Protiviti, for their session on transition and transformation. From a recent Robert Half study, Hird shared that 74% of respondents desired to work remotely. Companies who adjust their work from home policies and use remote work as a recruiting and retention tool may more safely navigate 2021. They also discussed the value of reducing fixed expenses, transitioning part of your workforce to contract workers, and paying your employees for the results they garner - not for the time they give. People really are your brand, so over communicate with them and they’ll ensure your company remains resilient.

Emily Huang and Christine Tan, Co-Founders of idaciti Inc., walked attendees through four use case examples of their software. They showed us how to set up and save queries that delivered highly customized information to you in real time. The days of investing labor hours into searching, correlating, and trying to connect the dots of over one million company filings have passed. Their software auto-populates this information for you. Huang, Tan, and I talked through how their system overlays quantitative data on qualitative information to offer you a complete picture of the how, what, and why of any company’s decisions. In the uncertainty of the coming years, better (and more timely) insights helps you make better decisions. 

My guess is your organization is using Microsoft Teams more than it ever has. Chris Paris, Customer Success Manager with Microsoft, shared statistics and examples of where organizations can reduce duplicative work, wasteful tasks, and siloed behavior and replace each with collaborative, time saving workflows. Paris offered examples showing how Microsoft’s programs break down barriers and allow users to share more ideas and be more inclusive. I loved how he shared that being busy doesn’t always produce valuable work. Microsoft’s success managers are trained in the ADKAR change management framework and walk clients through it to maximize the benefits offered by Teams and Office 365.

Thank you to Executive Coach and Author Steven Iwersen, with Aurora Pointe, LLC, for a great bonus session about tips and tricks for using Zoom. He offered many suggestions, and guided us through a real time demonstration, of how to involve a virtual audience in webinars, the right settings for Zoom, and creating customized camera, lighting, and background combinations. Chapter leaders also networked and shared personal stories about their first vehicles, what their walk-up theme song might be, and their favorite musicians. Finance leaders need to commit to a strong vision in the face of uncertainty. Finding commonality with our colleagues, and realizing we’re in this together, gifts us clarity and builds resilience.

For the last three years, Michael S. Seaver has served as emcee of the Financial Leadership Summit. For more on his work as speaker, leadership consultant, and executive coach, visit michaelsseaver.com.