The Finance Leader Podcast

Bonus Episode 23: Season 7 Introduction

July 13, 2021 Stephen McLain
The Finance Leader Podcast
Bonus Episode 23: Season 7 Introduction
Show Notes Transcript

Next week, July 20th, Season 7 will debut, and I will be talking about career advancement strategy and how you can set yourself apart. Topics and areas of focus will be owning your career, what do leaders do, how to partner with senior leaders, perfecting our presentation skills, self-awareness and reading the room, and a few others.

I have something for you. Consider joining The Finance Leader Podcast Community Facebook Group, where we can talk leadership and the other topics I present here on the podcast.  This is a good time to jump in and start sharing ideas and thoughts about leadership so we can help each other.

For more resources, please visit On the website, you can download the Leadership Growth Blueprint for Finance and Accounting Managers. You can use this guide to develop your leadership by focusing on communication, and growing and empowering your team.

You can now purchase a course to help you advance your career from It's called Advance Your Finance and Accounting Career: Developing a Promotion Strategy that Sets You Apart.

Please follow me on:

1. Instagram: stephen.mclain
2. Twitter: smclainiii
3. Facebook: stephenmclainconsultant

Stephen McLain:

Hi, this is Stephen McLain of the finance leader podcast. This is bonus episode number 23. How did you like to interview last week with David five coat if you missed it, please go back to Episode 56, you will not be disappointed. We talked about leadership, overcoming adversity and leading change. David led the integration of women at US Army Ranger School and had to overcome a lot of internal organizational resistance to ensure it was done fairly and successfully. So go back and listen to his comments around that challenge, which are remarkable. We are in July now over halfway through the year. So this is a great time to review your goals, and update your individual development plan and address any issues you have. So you can finish out the year strong. So don't forget your goals, update your progress, coordinate for resources you may need. And then schedule any training you might need. Don't give up now. I continue to push hard. I will also be reviewing my goals and my plan and updating my progress and seeing what I need to do to finish out 2021 strong and I'll be looking forward to 2022 and I'll be thinking about the things I want to get done next year. Next week, July 20. season seven will debut and we'll be talking about career advancement strategy, and how you can set yourself apart topics and areas of focus will be owning your career. What do leaders do? How to partner with senior leaders, perfecting our presentation skills, self awareness and reading the room and a few others. So don't miss out season seven July 20. And I have something else for you. consider joining the finance leader podcast community Facebook group, where we can talk about leadership and other topics I present here on the podcast. I'll drop a link in the show notes or you can search on Facebook, the finance leader podcast community, this is a good time to jump in and start sharing ideas and thoughts about leadership so we can help each other. This week I want to share an encore episode from season three, which is Episode 21. set yourself apart from your peers. This will be a great intro to season seven, where we are going to own our career and achieve our goals. Please enjoy this encore episode and I will see you next week as we begin season seven. Thank you. In the episode this week, I am discussing how you can set yourself apart from your peers so you get recognition and greater opportunities. Just doing your job every day will not get you promoted. Only completing tasks that have been assigned to you won't help you advance. You must do more. And I'm giving you several techniques you can start using today. Enjoy the episode. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host Stephen McLain. This is the podcast for developing leaders in finance and accounting. This is episode number 21 and the beginning of season number three. And today I will discuss five techniques to set yourself apart from your peers so you get recognition and can advance your career. I'm going to talk about number one growing your leadership skills. Number two, making your boss's priorities yours. Number three, getting things done without being told and with little guidance. Number four, you must be achieving results. And finally, you need to work on your professionalism along with developing your executive presence. I want to share with you today a quote from NBA player Blake Griffin. And he said, energy is something you can control in everything you do. You're going to face people more talented than you. I set myself apart by bringing more energy than they do. Now I believe that just doing your job every day will not get it done. You've got to do more, you've got to be doing more than your peers. You may be seen as reliable, but you may not have potential for greater responsibility. If you're doing your tasks every day you will definitely be seen as reliable, but managers and directors and senior leaders may not see that you have potential for greater responsibility. The competition is great. And those who set themselves apart will have greater opportunities. You have to be different, but different in a good way in a positive way. You must be bringing better ideas. You must be treating people with respect you must be speaking in a very articulate and very professional manner as you conduct communications around the organization and as you speak with senior leaders You must be clear, you must be concise. You must bring energy, you must bring great ideas, and you must articulate it in a very intelligent and professional manner to set yourself up for greater opportunities and promotions, you have to set yourself apart, you are already expected to become the technical expert from the time you graduate school and get your first job in finance or accounting. You have to know the regulations, you have to know the faz be decisions, you got to know the law. And you've got to be up to date with current methodologies and ways to do the job better. And as you advance your experience, you should be developing your expertise through a professional certification, and also an advanced degree because the cost is too high. If you don't know your craft, if you don't know the technical side of finance and accounting. And this has been more true ever since the Enron scandal broke, and the laws changed after that. That's where senior leaders are more accountable to their financial statements as professional finance and accounting people, we have to know the technical side of our craft, we have to know how to do the accounting and finance principles and know how to keep the books properly and know how to do a proper financial projection. And we have to make sure we keep our senior leaders out of trouble. So that means we already have a very high expectation to knowing the technical side of our craft. And this is why I bring the finance leader podcast to you because that expectation is already there to know the technical side. So I want to help you with developing the leadership side of finance and accounting. And in order to set yourself apart, I believe that improving your leadership is probably the most important way that you can get the attention of senior leaders, the senior leaders are already relying on you to ensure the books and financial projections are accurate. And I do believe that when we promote the technical experts, over the mature leaders, the organization will suffer in the long run, your good people want to be treated with the respect and receive the recognition they deserve. And when we're talking about setting yourself apart, we also have to talk about taking risk, anytime that you're going to go ahead and decide that you want to set yourself apart that you do want to have an opportunity for greater responsibility or an opportunity for promotion, or you really want to take on some additional responsibility that will get you recognition, the topic of risk has to always be considered, I encourage you to take a risk in your career, you take a little bit of risk, and you achieve results and you get the project done or whatever task you're doing to a higher level of excellence and you have a greater chance of being able to be offered an advancement in your career, because you'll get the recognition from senior leaders, but you have to take risk, you have to put risk into your goals, everything that you want to consider doing for your career, you have to involve the calculation of risk and to take on things that may be a little bit out of your comfort zone that may take you things beyond what you think your skills and abilities that you have today. But I'm telling you if you go ahead and just consider what the upside will be when you take on a project and maybe out of your comfort zone. And then if you deliver to a very high level of excellence, then it's gonna pay off for you at the end. So please consider risk in anything that you do, and any consideration of the goals that you have for your career. Now, let's get into the techniques that I am discussing today that can help set you apart. And I believe Of course, just like I said a few moments ago that number one is improving your leadership will definitely set you apart definitely set you apart from that technical expert who does not know how to treat people properly. Now, as the leader, you need to be setting the right example and know how to communicate and set a vision for the people who work around you and for the team that you have. And you get to lead every day, every day that we are working in our organization. Now we are still doing a lot of work from home. But when you get back in the office, when you're working in the office, you need to remain positive. Everything that you do, you need to bring positive energy positive action to what you're doing, you need to emphasize the importance of the tasks and you need to not have that negative view or a very low view or a negative aspect of when you guys get a task or a negative view of when your team is assigned a task. You got to continually be positive and upbeat. Even when faced with the toughest and most adverse circumstances you need to continually be a problem solver and that's where leadership comes in. You need to embrace problems when you are faced without bringing positivity, figure out how to solve the problem, bring energy to your team and set a course of action so that you can solve a problem. And as leaders, we need to continually be respecting others that will set you apart from a lot of your peers who become technical experts and who work on their tasks every day, but they don't know how to mature themselves in order to interact and properly respect people that they come in contact with every day they have meetings with or they are trying to solve a problem with, you are definitely going to set yourself apart if you know how to respect others opinions, and respect others ideas, and you work to elevate other people around you. senior leaders are definitely going to take note of those who respect people around the organization, and who respect their team members and know how to grow and develop them. Being a leader also means that you have clear goals that you are trying to achieve. And you know what you want to accomplish, and you have a plan, you are very decisive about your choices, set yourself apart by knowing what you want to accomplish in your career. And knowing what you want to accomplish while you're in this organization. And I am encouraging you I've said this before and other episodes, that I believe that if you share your goals and share where you want to go in your career, the senior leaders that you are working for, will help you achieve those. And as you speak with them, and you bring your daily work into them. And you briefed them and you talk about the things that you're doing. And you're highlighting your skills and abilities. This also gives you an opportunity to share what you're trying to accomplish personally and in your career. Number two is that you have to make your boss's priorities, your priority along with your boss's boss's priorities, things you're working on today, you need to make sure you integrate your boss's priorities into them every day, you have to make sure the things you're working on are the most important things that the organization needs to have done, your boss does not want to have someone who's out there just working on things that does not integrate well into the organization's vision and the things that they need to get done today. Because you know that in finance and accounting, there's lots of things that pop up. And some things elevate very quickly. And then they become a priority. You need to make sure you're working on the most important tasks that your boss needs done. And then your boss's boss needs done. So make sure you are continually aware of what needs to get done, make those priorities, your priorities, and your boss is going to thank you and they're going to take note of the things you're getting done, they're going to be very happy with your performance, that you're helping them get their job done, you're going to get an opportunity, or someone's going to come back at you in a very positive way, you're going to have it be recognized on your evaluation, that you're always meeting the priorities of the organization, and then your boss's priorities. So make sure you integrate your boss's priorities into your priorities every day. And it's going to come back at you in a very positive manner. Number three is that we also act and get things done without bothering your boss. Because sometimes things do need to get done, it fits into the priorities. And the vision supervisors want to know that you understand the priorities, and then that goes in conjunction with the second item that I identified in this list. Sometimes, we have to take on things that fit within the priorities that need to get done. Even though we're told not to get it done in the army, we used to call these things that need to get done implied tasks. Now in the army, we have three types of tasks. Those are specified tasks, essential tasks, and implied tasks. Now, implied tasks are those that that have to be done, or we're not told that they need to get done, we have to kind of figure it out as leaders, that certain things need to get done within the priorities that we have been told by our supervisors and the senior leaders. So when you start to understand that a task needs to get done, and then you get it done, you're going to get praised by your boss and the senior leaders for getting it done. bosses, supervisors want to know that you're going to be getting things done, without necessarily being told that they have to get them done. You have to know your priorities, and you have to be a warrior to follow through by these priorities. Number four, is that you have to be able to achieve results every day, you must prove that you're in charge of your team and then that you can get the work done with the resources that you have, with no excuses. And to a high degree of excellence. You have to deliver key results daily. Now how do you deal with the complexities that people bring with them and still achieve a high level of excellence? That I know that leading people can be difficult, you have to navigate the complexities of motivating people every day, and trying to make sure that you get the tasks done that need to get done today, and also making sure that the priorities are accomplished that you have been given, and also the additional tasks that you know, that have to be done. How do you motivate a team and get the highest level of results every day, you have to continually prove that you can deal with a lot coming at you, and also respecting others, can you get along with your peers? Can you lead your peers? Do your peers look up to you? And do they respect you? These are things that senior leaders are looking at are not only are you a leader of your team? Are you also a leader of your peers, and are you respected around the organization, don't forget that you have to continually achieve results with the resources and the team that you're given, you can't make an excuse that you aren't given a certain resource. senior leaders want to know that you can get it done. Even if you don't have the most ideal situation, or that you have the full resources that we all wish that we had, you must be able to get things done within the situation in the hand that you are dealt with senior leaders have respect for those that get things done, even though they may not be fully resourced and fully staffed. Number five, is that we must act like and be a professional, and also be developing our executive presence. Now this becomes very important as you want to rise above the manager level, you have to continually prove your capacity for senior leadership, which requires extraordinary skills and abilities, you need to be able to speak clearly. And also, I want to remind you that dressing like a professional is still very important. I would recommend that you mimic how your senior leaders are dressing do I know that we are still working from home during this very crazy situation in 2020. And I want to recommend that you continually look professional on your video meetings, you need to still be showing up even virtually in a very professional manner. And your mannerisms speak a lot how you speak to people, your facial expressions, you need to make sure that you are continually being respectful, and that a bad mannerism will definitely be pointed out one bad facial expression can set you back. Also, along with being professional, you need to ensure that your attitude is continually positive and respectful. We can't say that we hate Mondays, or that we always get super excited about when Friday comes I can understand that enthusiasm. But we must get excited every day about doing our job. That is what it means about being a professional. And also when we are developing our executive presence, we are expected to be happy on our job. And we are expected to bring positive energy every day and set that great example for our team, and our peers and everyone else that interacts with us during the day you must continually become that trusted partner and a trusted business adviser. And this takes skill you must know your craft. We already talked about the technical expertise, but you must also continually grow that leadership ability your communication skills, your ability to articulate a great idea. And also, you must grow that skill of delivering bad news to set yourself apart from your peers. How you deliver bad news can definitely set yourself apart bad news never gets easy. Bad news also has to come with a set of a recommended course of action and also the implications for the organization. If you can successfully bring bad news to senior leaders and show that there's a course of action that the organization can take, it will set yourself apart. What do you do when you are bothered? Is it visible? Do you fly off the handle? What happens also when bad news comes your way? And how do you react? Is your team afraid to bring you bad news? And how do you react to that. So I want to encourage you to continually look at how you are a professional in the organization and how you can continually be developing your executive presence because it will get you recognition by senior leaders and as you act professional as you respect others as you grow your communications skills and abilities. You're going to get that recognition senior leaders are going to want to come to you when there's a situation or when there's a problem that needs to be solved. I want to share a story with you. I have talked about many times about my service in the army and of course coming up through the ranks. I of course had many challenges as with anyone to try to set myself apart because the competition is great. The competition for promotion is great. Many years ago, I had a senior commander telling me that no one really cares. If you have a clean office, it's how you can set yourself apart differently from your peers and get that recognition throughout my service. You know, there were times of peacetime. And then there were course times when we were continually deployed overseas. So a variety of peace serving times, and also times where we had to go off to combat related deployments. Now, during peaceful times, the ability to set yourself apart is often a little bit more difficult. So the senior commander that I worked for many years ago, it was during a time of peace, and there were not many deployments going on overseas. And he talked about this concept of no one really cares about our clean offices. So how are we going to set ourselves apart. So at the army base that we serve that there was a year long sports competition, where units can field sports teams in a variety of sports, that could be golf, softball, boxing, all sorts of different sports throughout the year. So he decided that in order to set ourselves apart, we're going to field every sports team over the next year, and we did it, we had to dedicate personnel to each team, even during critical field training exercises. And this was not very popular among Junior leaders. But we had to commit the soldiers to these sports events. And what ended up happening is that since we feel that every team over the year, we got the points for competing. And then we ended up winning the championship for the year, because we feel that every team, we put soldiers on every team, and we got the points, and our unit was set apart from the other units on the army base. All right, for an easy win today, based on what I talked about on this episode, what can you start doing to begin to set yourself apart, and it may require a mind set shift to fully integrate the ideas and to perform them every day, I want you to do an assessment of where you stand, and then start to implement the suggestions that I've given you today. Now, setting the right priorities is probably a good way to start. Along with having a clear set of goals that you want to accomplish. Often there are tasks that need to be done, and you're not always told that they need to get done, your boss is going to give you a lot of respect for ensuring that these tasks get done. And I want to encourage you to be looking for these tasks. Sometimes they need to get done. And even your boss may not realize that they need to get done. But you're going to get thanked, you're going to get a lot of respect. And you're going to get a lot of recognition for getting things done that need to get done, they do fit within the priorities. And you can get projects done with very little guidance. Additionally, when you're given a project or a task, you're going to be expected to get things done with very little guidance, your boss is going to respect you. If you can go ahead and figure it out, get it done, do the research, come up with the courses of action, get the project done to a higher level of degree without having to continually come back for guidance, and also for approvals for every step that you're doing. So I'm going to encourage you, when you're given a high visibility project, just attack it with energy, attack it with everything that you got, get it done, list down everything that you need to do plan it out, and only come back to your boss if you really get stuck. Or if you really got to an obstacle where you need help your boss is going to give you deep respect for when you get a project done without having to continually come back for more and more guidance. If you can figure it out on your own, you're going to get deep respect, and you're going to get a reputation for getting things done. Because that's what senior leaders want. They want people who are going to get things done without having to come back continually for more guidance and how to solve the problem and without having to hold someone's hand through a project. So if you can do this, and you can get this done to a higher level of degree, you're going to get that great reputation and you're going to be given additional opportunities to prove your value and how much you bring. So if you want to set yourself apart, grab hold of that high visibility project that you get, just get it done with a lot of energy, a lot of positivity, and then figure it out. Gather your team together, gather the resources together and get it done and bring to a high level of excellence and achieve the results that you need. Now this episode is sponsored by my new online course offering through finance leader Academy. It's called Advanced your finance and accounting career developing a promotion strategy that will set you apart Are you having difficulty getting recognition from your leadership despite all the hard work you pour into yourself? in your organization, this course helps you analyze what you bring to the organization, how you can set yourself apart from your peers to high visibility work and developing your leadership skills plus how you can devise a strategy to move ahead, you can go to Stephen McLain calm and select the store from the menu. And also you can go into the description for this episode and click the link to finance leader Academy. Alright, today, I discussed on how you can set yourself apart from your peers. I talked about growing your leadership skills and making your boss's priorities yours also about getting things done without being told and a little guidance also talked about achieving results and also becoming a professional along with developing your executive presence. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast I am dedicated to helping you grow your leadership. I hope you enjoyed the show today. You can get this episode. Wherever you find podcasts. Please join our humanity on Facebook, the finance leader podcast Facebook group, this will be our community to grow with our finance and accounting profession. Until next time, you can check out more resources at Stephen McLain calm and sign up for like updates so you don't miss an episode of the show. Now go lead your team and I'll see you next time. Thank you