Wrong approach, predictable outcome

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It has been a while since something has bothered and perplexed me that much. Recently I have been involved in a lengthy recruiting process for an important and challenging role as a senior executive.

The role as such is a challenging and very interesting endeavor, it implies business restructuring, reorganization and a lot of work. So in one word the role is interesting but challenging and involves a lot of personal sacrifice.

The recruiting process

It started somewhere 8 months ago with an urgent request to meet because the project is kind of urgent and they want to have the person on-board asap. Been there had a nice pleasant discussion and left with the “we’ll get back to you asap”.

After ~ 6 months of still no feedback until suddenly, the project is urgent again. I went there again to have an interesting, nice meeting with one of the shareholders that seemed down-to-earth and straight to the point type of guy.

During this entire time the discussion was, we want to know you and to see how you can bring value to our business. Up to this point the discussion has been rather normal, they want to see if you fit their organization. Keep in mind we are talking about a TOP MANAGEMENT recruiting process. Their statement was we want the best possible executives for our business.

The do’s and the don’ts

When we’re talking about professional TOP MANAGEMENT recruiting you have to present and deliver the best possible business behavior, no lack of communication, no rescheduling, no being late during scheduled discussions, no nothing that can put you in a bad light.

The most important aspect is to communicate adequately with your potential candidates, the candidate does not have to ask you if the project is still alive and he is still a valid candidate in the selection process.

One more very important thing, please do not forget that the economy is not in it’s booming phase where recruiting is not an issue. The 21st century economy is transforming itself slightly into an gig-economy. Considering this please keep in mind the following:

  • good people are hard to find
  • good people are not cheap to get nor to employ
  • the salary is not the only discussion point, the total benefits package is
  • work-life balance is very important for top executives, especially for GenX executives (more details here )
source : https://www.thebalancecareers.com/common-characteristics-of-generation-x-professionals-2164682

The outcome

The recruiting process was heading towards its end with me agreeing to almost all conditions and requirements. Until this moment I was under the impression of a one-way discussion, with me not being really able to tell my demands and requirements.

I could reduce everything to one request , that could transform this process into and win-win and not into an win-loose. I requested some flexibility towards the entire process, that was strongly denied

My position was and still is that I don’t risk everything that I have today for something that might be and that I have no control whatsoever.

So after being shot down due to no flexibility from their side, my question is how urgent and how important is the recruiting process for this top executive role ?

It appears that even though we are in the 21st century physical workplace presence is more important than getting things done.

To wrap it up, the company has started a new lengthy recruiting process for the same TOP MANAGEMENT role, again very much time and resources wasted, formal is more important than getting things done.

To wrap this post up , this kind of an approach I have witnessed many times during my consulting missions.

Dear shareholders, equity funds, stakeholders

don’t just talk the talk, please do also walk the walk.

Research papers

The summary of my published research papers can be found at the links below: 


Why you should or not consider to outsource your CFO ….part 2

Recently I was talking about the idea that businesses need to reinvent themselves and to be very
creative in order to assure their success.

Because of the scarceness of  resources for business ( you never have enough of what you need ) why not go for the outsourcing option.

The outsourcing of topics like Customer Care , Call, Centres, IT , Tech Support, etc  is a very common and widely accepted topic.

What about the outsourcing of your CFO function ?

I am using the term CFO for a senior finance professional or executive

To get a clear answer about this potential , partial or complete outsourcing of your CFO function you must first clarify the following essential aspects:

  1. Do you know what a CFO is doing ? What is the role of the CFO in an business ?
  2. Do you as a business owner realize that your business has grown and that you need a something or somebody to help you more with your business numbers ?
  3. Are you ready to empower and trust somebody to take care about a part of your business ? 
  4. Do you want to move on further with your business ?
  5. Do you want professional help and support for your business support services ?

If the answer to all of the above is YES then definitely you are ready for the outsourcing of some of your support services.

1-st step before going further with this outsourcing is to ask yourself what do you want for your business and what do you expect from an outsourced CFO .

1.1 What do you want for your business ? 

Well this is pretty obvious you might say , you want to develop your business .
This is all fine and fair , the only thing is that you might want to grow in a way that you are certain that you can count on the healthy growth of your business.
This kind of a growth is not easy to manage
…you are right when you say growth is growth ergo it is OK.

Well not really , you must grow in a consistent way and not too fast. The growth rate of your business must be in sync with the rate that your organization can adjust and accommodate the growth.

Consistent growth means that you have to have a pretty good ideea about your business on at least mid term if not long term.  From the CFO perspective this would mean that you have a strategy that will grant you some predictability and easier planning.

1.2  What can you expect from an outsourced CFO

For sure you can not expect , OK small correction , you should not expect that you got rid of your problem, the healthy growth of your business.  It is still you business and you are still in charge and fully liable about what your doing.

This outsourced CFO function can give you as a business owner the breathing space to focus on the actual business development like promoting sales, developing your product and/or services, hire/fire your staff, etc . Don’t worry you still have a lot of things to do ….

From your outsourced CFO you should have at least this benefits :

  1. consistent and clear image of your business results (OK, partially this can be received also from your accountant ) 
  2. “translation” of your financial statements in business terms , not accounts, balanced / unbalanced accounts , formal things , tax statements ( some accountants provide to their customers some of the “translation” but not the complete view ) 
  3. based on  the financial statements the CFO should be able to project / adjust / validate your defined strategy 
  4. you should get a clear and concise cost monitoring system setup 
  5. benefit from your CFO’s experience …that should be at least 10 years in various organizations and business models
In this post will not address the topics who needs CFO services , why CFO services, what services can you actually get  because these have been discussed in previous posts.
My view on CFO services can be found also here . 
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As always any comments , ideas and suggestions are welcome. So feel free to share ( if you like my post) comment and discuss . 

Why you should or not consider to outsource your CFO ….part 1

In the today’s business environment it is not uncommon to have different business functions outsourced.

To have IT, Accounting, Tech Support, Call Centres and Customer Care Support outsourced is no news any more. If you look at big corporations all over the world you’ll see that all of them have most of the support services outsourced in shared services centres that are owned by the corporation or by 3-rd parties.
In the end it depends on the adopted strategy for the specific business model , do you want to be very lean and sleek, you keep only what is strictly linked to your core business.

If you want to present a strong, asset rich and business then you go for the build up of resources and competencies.

Considering the financial world crisis you should be set up as lean as possible, you should want to use your resources for your core business and business development and do not care so much about business support services, you should not concentrate, as a business owner, to much on the support services that need to be there , well to support the business.

No business equals no business support services  


no business support services equals no business

The statement above means that you as business owner should focus on business development that promotes and makes the business go forward.

The smart solution is to buy the needed support services in , at 1-st up to a certain business size go for the outsourcing option of the needed support services. Only when your business has grown to a certain size and complexity it would make sense to hire your own support staff.

As said before , it depends on the chosen strategy for your specific business case.
Both options have their pro’s and con’s. This is only a matter of option.

Assuming that you go for the outsourcing option, let’s go now to a more daring hypothesis.

What about the CFO function complete / partial outsourcing ?

Would you do this kind of outsourcing ?

If yes what activities would you outsource ?

The pro’s and con’s of CFO outsourcing can be many and their efficiency can depend on the way you use the outsourced CFO. 

Most of the outsourced business functions are not business critical and are usually support services. But in the today’s economic environment business need to reinvent themselves and be very creative in order to succeed.

So why not consider the outsourcing of your CFO ?