Too often, CFOs spend so much time focusing on the daily requirements of their specific employment activities that they lose sight of their long-term career goals. Although they definitely need to devote time and energy to their current employer, they also need to invest in their own personal future career. They do not want to be caught suddenly looking for another job when they have not prepared for that eventuality.
CFOs may feel guilty about investing in themselves while employed. They overlook the fact that learning how to be a good leader and improving technical skills are not just positive steps toward a career move. They are also skills valuable to their current employer.
There are steps CFOs can take to be considered great in their current employment. These steps also make them good candidates for career development and advancement.
BALANCE THE DEMANDS OF WORK WITH DAILY LIVING
CFOs notoriously spend too much time at work. That causes stress and actually decreases their effectiveness. They need to learn how to delegate so that things get done without the CFO always being the one to do them. They can go to their children’s school and sporting events and check in at the office on their mobile device. This does not mean that long days at the office are over, just that those who take breaks turn out to be more effective than those who do not.
BUILD A TEAM INSTEAD OF GOING IT ALONE
Team building may not be as easy as it sounds. Training team members about what is expected and creating a positive working environment goes a long way to creating a team that is strong and dedicated. Some steps to take to create this team include:
- Clearly define responsibilities: Team members cannot be left to wonder what they are supposed to do. The responsibility of each team member as well as the expectations of the CFO must be specifically articulated.
- Reward good work: Simple recognition is all that is required to motivate team members to do their best work. Saying things like, “thank you” and “good work” go a long way to building a positive work environment.
- Let team members know they are valued: If CFOs show that they respect and value their team members, team members will in turn respect and value the CFO.
BUILD A NETWORK
CFOs need face-to-face interaction with their team members. They need to physically appear at company and industry events. They need to become involved in the community. Becoming a board member of a non-finance business is a good way to network.
CFOs who take these suggestions find their career development activities provide value to their current employer as well as value to themselves in achieving their overall career goals.
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