In a spirited presentation to FAR members and guests on January 17, Tom Hood provided perspective and advice for a different kind of leadership - leadership that needs to anticipate change while recognizing the limitations of traditional leadership strategies in meeting the change effectively. Tom prepared a synopsis of his presentation here. (For a recording of the full program and a viewing of his visuals, FAR members can click here. Non-restricted access to the presentation shared by Tom Hood can be found here.)
Future-ready is to be anticipatory
Future-ready is the ability to be proactive and anticipatory in a rapidly changing world. It is the capacity to be aware, predictive and adaptive of emerging technology and trends in business, demographics, and the social environment impacting your organization and industry. The key words are aware, predictive and adaptive.
Are you aware of the trends and issues facing your business now and in the future? Can you predict what the trends will mean to your business model and customers? And finally, can you think about how you would prepare to adapt your business to those trends in a rapidly changing environment?
Top challenges facing CFOs spell danger
The top five challenges facing CFOs (from our prior surveys) are:
1. Doing more with less,
2. Not having enough time,
3. Being reactive versus proactive,
4. Finding and retaining talent, and
5. Dealing with technology changes.
These challenges mean that CFOs may be prone to "hunker down" and miss those weak signals of disruptive change coming at them. It is this situation that poses the highest risk of disruption, and it's when businesses need you the most. See slides 35-41 for the polls and responses from the CFOs about their top challenges, top skills, and insights.
How to be a future-ready CFO
So, here are my five steps to be a future-ready CFO:
1. Initiate change: Disrupt yourself before someone else does!
2. Go digital: The exponential pace of change in technology means you must use automation to your advantage.
3. Elevate skills: If you automate, you must elevate your skills and those of your team. Anticipation is the secret to being proactive.
4. Protect the core: When everything is changing, it is important to know what won't change. Your purpose and values as an organization should provide a constant.
5. Enjoy the ride: You can't stop the waves of change, but you can learn how to ride them!