What Change Management Skills Do Successful CFOs Need?

November 29th 2023 | Posted by Phil Scott

Transforming the business and adapting to change is vital to remaining competitive in the market. Experienced and realistic CFOs recognize that these actions can be challenging. They also know that success in these areas is more likely to be achieved if they develop and utilize four valuable skills.

We will examine these skills and establish why they enable CFOs to lead their organizations through the transformation and change that is necessary to thrive.

The ability to inspire

Inspiring others to believe in a shared vision is a significant ability for a CFO to have. The most successful CFOs influence and inspire those around them by embracing the human element of transformation. They consider personal journeys in the process instead of solely concentrating on program milestones and goals.

This approach allows them to create a vision to which everyone involved in the change process can relate. This makes it more likely that individuals will be inspired and will have a positive approach to the changes.

Leadership that works

The most effective CFOs are those who display courageous, clear, and empathetic leadership. This type of leadership gives those involved with transformation programs the clarity they need and provides expectations and priorities necessary for the successful progression of the program.

This style of leadership does not always come naturally to professionals who have spent time developing technical expertise in the finance function. However, those who display it are more likely to lead change initiatives that progress efficiently.

Supporting and caring

Supporting people during a period of change allows a professional to stand out as a successful CFO. This is a vital attribute that enables a CFO to understand the value of protecting the psychological well-being of individuals. Doing this involves listening to people’s thoughts, concerns, and ideas throughout the organization.

The ability to actively listen in this way demonstrates empathy and understanding and elicits more effective problem-solving. It also creates a trusting environment for a transformational program to progress.

Empowering others

The finance function has a tradition of being a technical environment where surprises are not welcome. This approach has the potential to stifle innovative behavior. Modern CFOs understand this and adopt an approach that empowers others and encourages the progression of ideas.

These ideas are an integral part of ongoing organizational change. They open up change programs to diverse viewpoints and make them more likely to succeed.

The skills identified in this article were not traditionally associated with the role of a technical CFO. However, the modern CFO role has moved away from being mainly technical to a more strategic function. Today’s top CFOs are expected to steer organizations through transformation with the unique perspective of a finance professional.

To undertake this role in the most effective manner, the most forward-thinking professionals recognize the need to develop the skills of inspiring, leadership that works, supporting others, and empowering those around them. These skills allow them to achieve excellent transformational and change results.