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Succeeding as an FD in an SME

The first 100 days are critical

A new senior appointment in an organisation is a huge challenge for all; representing a significant investment, they are expected to hit the ground running and failure can impact directly on both the business and the individual.

So how do they consolidate the most important relationships, assimilate information rapidly and create the right culture - all within the first 100 days?

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have had a particularly tough time over the past two years. As signs of recovery emerge in the marketplace, FDs need to help their companies change the mindset from “surviving” to “well-managed growth”.  And the new SME FD will grab the opportunity to play a significant and leading role in taking the business forward.

LeaderShape’s experienced business leaders have pinpointed the first three months of a new finance director job as critical in gaining authority to make change. Director of LeaderShape, Chris Gulliver, shares his top tips for this crucial period:

  • Challenge assumptions that may be based on how things used to be.  Develop your own up-to-date view of the market place, keep external focus and combine information gathering with objectivity.  
  • Plan to keep one step ahead of growth.  Make sure you match your positioning and capabilities to the needs of the business as it changes gear.  
  • Encourage vigorous but constructive debate. The best decisions are based on exploring different and contrasting points of view. You can be the devil’s advocate!
  • A business cannot grow without taking some risks.  You can help shape and enhance decision-making using good analytical tools and objective risk assessment.
  • Help support, develop and empower your senior colleagues by providing them with insights and not just information. Also keep in mind that they may not all have the professional skills and training you have but their ideas and experience is valuable. Listen to them and be a valued team member.
  • Look for and address apathy or worse, where too much of people’s energy is soaked up by non-productive activity such as bureaucracy and internal competition.
  • Take time out regularly to think and reflect. Working hard on day-to-day matters will not allow you time to develop or to properly support the growth of the business.
  • Establish yourself as the main sounding board for your CEO.  They will welcome this if you can demonstrate strong buy-in to a sound strategy, the respect of your colleagues, the ability to be objective and the willingness to listen.

LeaderShape offers transpersonal leadership development, executive coaching, mentoring and facilitation for accelerated learning of leadership skills.

Hays Senior Finance offers all their newly appointed senior finance professionals earning above £75,000 access to a free two hour mentoring session with an adviser from LeaderShape.

Visit the LeaderShape website, call on 0870 990 5576 or send an email to discover what LeaderShape can do for the leaders and future leaders of your organisation.

About Chris Gulliver

Chris Gulliver is the Chair of the Coaching Expert Panel of the Institute of Business Consulting, a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and is accredited as a Senior Executive Coach by The Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring.

Chris Gulliver

Chris is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants whose early career included experience as a management consultant working on retail turnaround situations.

He is a very experienced non-executive director, the author of a number of articles in business journals and has presented seminars on a variety of subjects relating to business management and growth.