I have the privilege this week of attending the Finance Family Forum of a major North American company. I first worked with them around this time last year at the same meeting and in the same location when I was with them for a day. A few months ago I did a whole day strategy session with them, This year I have been allowed to sit in on their various discussions over three days and run one session each day using Cognitive Edge techniques. Today it will be The Future Backwards, tomorrow a general session on innovation. Yesterday was a refresher on sense-making. Now it is unusual for me to be working with the Finance Function, in most organisations they are the holders of the purse strings, the custodians of Newtonian measurement and the nay-sayers to innovative ideas. Here it is the opposite, in that the finance function is seeking to gain understanding of new and radical ways of thinking by which it can help the business. I also like the idea of the Finance function being a family (which they are, its not just a nice nice name). I almost gave up my long dislike of golf in order to be more fully integrated yesterday, but instead resisted and walked into Phoenix to add to my collection of Starbucks City Mugs (two on this trip with Atlanta on Monday).
Either way, to get the point and the title of this posting. In his introduction yesterday the CFO said two things that I admired:
Now there were other things in his talk, and the contributions of the rest of the family that were valuable but those are the items I want to share today. To me it represents wisdom in the true sense of the world rather than opportunism. To be blessed with a wise, rather than an opportunistic leader is a blessing. It contrasts well with other organisations,
Now what follows is drawn on my own experience and that of other people I have talked to, but it is not intended to represent any particular company. That said in the last ten years most people in large corporates will have been re-organised between five and ten times. The normal cycle goes something like this (assuming a calender year end:
Sound familiar? It is not just commercial companies either, government of late and even the voluntary sector have adopted what we might, with irony, call industrial best practice. In effect the re-organisation has become a plague which comes annually with the monsoon. It is of course accompanied by wonderful statements and aspiration goals, otherwise known as platitudes . It also generates multiple perversions such as the target hopping executive who never takes responsibility for their annual move to asset strip a new area and the indifference to customers and employees which is the exact opposite of a family.
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