The Finance Leader Podcast

060: Partner with Senior Leaders to Execute the Strategy

August 10, 2021 Stephen McLain Season 7 Episode 4
The Finance Leader Podcast
060: Partner with Senior Leaders to Execute the Strategy
Show Notes Transcript

Finance and Accounting professionals should be partnering with senior leaders and their teams to better execute the organization’s strategy. We know the numbers and can better deliver insights when we open communication instead of staying in our usual stoved-piped function. I want to encourage you to get out of your comfort zone to open a constructive dialogue with senior leaders. 

I use the following outline during the episode:

  1. You have more influence than you think,
  2. Partner with metric and account owners, and
  3. The strategy must be shared throughout the organization.

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.

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Stephen McLain:

This week I'm talking about finance and accounting professionals partnering with senior leaders in her teams to better execute the organization strategy. We know the numbers and can better deliver insights when we open communication. instead of staying in our usual stove type function. I want to encourage you to get out of your comfort zone. To open a constructive dialogue with senior leaders. Please 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 60. And I will be talking about partnering with senior leaders and their teams to deliver the strategy and I will highlight the following topics. Number one, you have more influence than you think. Number two, partner with metric and account owners. And number three, the strategy must be shared throughout the organization. Henry Ford said coming together as a beginning, staying together is progress. And working together is success. Now, I haven't talked about goals in a while now where are you at with your goals for this year, we have less than five months remaining in 2021. And we need to start getting into our planning for our goals for 2022. So do not forget that when we don't achieve our short term goals, it puts our long term goal in jeopardy. So we need to knock those short term goals out. If we miss something, we then need to reassess and get back on track. So we focus on that long term goal. So don't forget about those short term goals. Keep tracking, keep reassessing and update your individual development plan. Now, how is season seven helped you I hope a lot. Today is the fourth episode of season seven. We've had three episodes so far. Episode 57 was about owning your career. Episode 58 was about building your professional foundation. And Episode 59 from last week was about perfecting your presentation skills. So if you miss these three episodes, please go back, listen to them, you won't be disappointed, and they will help you with your career. This week, I'm talking about partnering with senior leaders to better execute the strategy. I believe that when accounting and finance professionals go beyond their daily duties of handling, what accounts and metrics they are responsible for, and reach out to senior leaders who match up to their portfolio that key conversations can be had. And deeper and more meaningful insights can be derived these insights then can lead to better key decisions. Let's review what strategy is it comes down to how effectively that we use our resources to achieve the goal and vision. When a strategy is chosen, the organization must stick to it. Your vision might continually be refined, and your goals may be different. But the strategy must have long term continuity. So how do you know if you're achieving the strategy? Who is the one keeping score? Who is evaluating it? Do you even know the strategy? What do you think of when I say partner with senior leaders, it's about developing a collaboration to share information in order to link results to the use of resources. This collaboration often requires trust, and an investment in time and effort. You can often find a director level leader or department head plus members of their teams who can help give you additional details to understand why a specific metric, for example, like shipping costs behaved a certain way. This additional detail when brought to light, maybe during the monthly closed process, for example, can help decision makers later as it relates to strategy. We must do our part and delivering and executing the strategy. We focus a lot on the technical side of finance and accounting, but not as much on leadership and influence. Leadership is key to the organization's success and communication. I want you to grow and exercise leadership. No matter your role. You can speak with authority because you know the numbers and what they mean. So when you exercise leadership and open communication around the organization, I believe that is going to be key to finding better insights and bringing to light issues that can help decision makers later. Non numbers people are often intimidated by what we do. And that is why they chose something else or a different career path. When engaging with others speak with confidence and curiosity. Always focused on a better collaboration to derive more details and useful insights to achieve a better collaboration. We need to reach out more and have more personal discussions and figure out the why. How can we beat the status quo? What can we do different to improve complacency will always deliver mediocre results. I hear often that leaders are developing tactical solutions to strategic problems. And what happens when this is done, the solution is often temporary, and obviously doesn't solve the problem for the long term. And what they're doing is getting through a problem today, which actually delays trying to solve the real problem to a later day. I want to encourage you as finance and accounting professionals, to partner with senior leaders to better solve strategic problems with actual strategic solutions. And one more thing, as I have talked about in the last couple of episodes, I do have a Facebook group called the finance leader podcast community, so we can grow our leadership together. This is a new group, new members are starting to join, which makes me very happy. This is a place where we can help each other to grow, and be prepared for the next step in our careers as finance and accounting professionals. So please join. The link is in the show notes with this episode. Thank you. Now let's talk about a few key points about partnering with senior leaders to deliver the strategy. The number one, you have more influence than you think your role as a finance and accounting professional comes with authority that you probably didn't realize you had. And it doesn't matter the role, it doesn't matter if you're an individual contributor, or a manager, or a director, it doesn't matter what you're doing. Non finance and accounting people often are intimidated with the responsibilities that we so love, we love the numbers, we love, trying to figure out things. So when we speak with non finance and accounting people, they'll listen, embrace that role as leader and exercise the influence that you have. When we speak, and prove we know what we are doing. We gain trust. And that builds the ability to lead and influence better decisions, and more positive outcomes. So please learn to speak with authority and confidence. Because this is also important to your own development and advancement in your career number to partner with the metric and account owners in your portfolio. I believe in reaching out to people to solve problems, I don't think we should be wasting time grinding away for hours and hours. At a problem alone when the person next to you, or in another department may help you get a little closer to the solution. It's my experience in the army that teaches me that we believe in group problem solving and not reinventing the wheel, someone else might very well have solved the problem you are facing. Additionally, senior leaders and managers around the organization are also trying to solve problems. They might be missing data, or a key insight that you probably have. This is why I believe that for the metrics and accounts that you have in your portfolio, you must reach out and talk frequently to the managers and senior leaders who are working in it every day. These are the ones that are operationally working in it every day to deliver whatever the organization's role is a what they are trying to do. Why are your metrics and accounts acting the way they do? Why have there been significant changes over the last several months if that is happening? Sure. You can report that maintenance costs Rose 15%. year over year since last month, but why did that happen? Was it related to additional top line revenue? Did we have more vehicles go through scheduled services? Did someone scheduled the services too early? These can be important issues as it relates to vehicles being available to earn revenue for that month. And number three, the strategy must be shared throughout the organization. Do you know what the strategy is hasn't been shared? Do you know what profitability means to the company? What other core capabilities that the organization must be good at what sales channels will be used? strategy is about decisions around resources. These are decisions around how resources will be used and not used. What you don't do when developing strategy is as important to what you will do. The numbers can also tell you if areas of the company are or are not doing their part. It's important a strategy is shared. So we know what to measure. And how do we know what the results mean? If we don't know the strategy, and share you know what the strategy is. So when you see trends, you can start to see if this is matching up to what the organism is expecting to do. So if you don't know the strategy. If you don't know the details, start asking for it. Start asking why it can't be shared, and figure out what it is. So you can start applying that strategy to the numbers that you're seeing in your metrics or accounts that you are responsible for, that we are often overwhelmed by tasks and requirements in our profession. So how do we take on what I am asking you to do? To me, it's about prioritizing and investing my time wisely. To deliver the best results. Focus your effort on the most important tasks first, partnering with senior leaders is a key task that is often overlooked, reorganize your priorities, and work with your supervisor to better align what you're working on. What I am suggesting here is important and can give you details about what is happening in your metrics and accounts. Now for action today. What are you doing to know more about the accounts and metrics that you are responsible for? Now you know your numbers, but what do you know about the trends? Do you know the hidden stories that you can combine or the numbers when we are all finding additional insights that senior leaders can use to make better decisions? We are doing our part to deliver the strategy? Who can you partner with to collaborate better on the accounts and metrics that you are responsible for? This episode is sponsored by my website finance leader and my career development course called advance your career, developing a promotion strategy that will set you apart. To achieve your career goals, you must be willing to take a risk to set yourself apart from your peers, finance and accounting professionals are already expected to be technically competent. This course helps you establish your professional Foundation, and how you can set yourself apart from your peers. by growing your leadership skills and developing your executive presence, you can go to finance leader Academy comm for more details on this career advancement course. The link is also in the show notes with this episode. Thank you. Today, I talked about partnering with senior leaders and their teams to deliver the strategy and highlighted the following points. Number one, you have more influence than you think. Number two partner with metric and account owners. And three, the strategy must be shared throughout the organization. We have a unique role as finance and accounting professionals, we know the numbers for the metrics and accounts we are responsible for. We can derive insights as our knowledge and experience grows. But we should continue to focus on how we can help the organization achieve the strategy. We can do this best by growing our relationships with the managers and senior leaders who are operationally responsible for those accounts and metrics. For example, if you track maintenance and service costs for a logistics company, then find the senior leader who oversees maintenance and learn everything you can that the numbers don't tell you forming strong relationships so you can collaborate on how your part contributes to the overall success of the organization. Now I want to share another quote with you before I leave. Author and Harvard professor Michael Porter said strategy is about making choices, trade offs, it's about deliberately choosing to be different. Next week, I will be talking about where to earn continuing professional education credits, which is key to maintaining your certification. And as part of your professional foundation. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast and dedicated to helping you grow your leadership, because it is leadership that will set you apart from your peers. You can get this episode wherever you find podcasts. Until next time, you can check out more resources at finance leader and sign up for my updates so you don't miss an episode of the show. And now go lead your team and I'll see you next time. Thank you