The upheaval of the GFC and the desire to seize opportunities during the recovery will make for a lot of changes, including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Already Australia is witnessing significant activity on all these fronts. These shifts leave a lot of room for controls to fall through the cracks and can create new liabilities. People may forget the lessons of the GFC (see Change Management 101). In technology it is clear for example that CIOs and CTOs, many of whom report through to the CFO are under pressure to constantly upgrade existing systems or implement new technologies such as cloud and virtualisation - either to maintain organisational leadership or, more often, just to keep up with the pack.
See CIO Australia's change management 101 guide.
The importance of the team
With this backdrop and the emergence of an increasingly dominant Asian focus in international trade, leaderships better get used to change. It may be motherhood and sagest, but change management effectively offers benefits in terms of increased internal teamwork and external end-user satisfaction.
As noted by Patrick Lencini, author of best seller The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, change management when done poorly is one the of big organisational dysfunctions. In his book he describes a mythical Silicon Valley high tech company which is experiencing near fatal levels of cash burn. A new CEO comes in and is confronted with what is a highly dysfunctional senior executive ‘team’ (a term used here with irony). The CEO and CFO had been impotent in their effect change due to the inherent mistrust prevailing at the top level.
Trust needs to be built – from the top down.
Managing changeManaging change is a key component of the CFO’s role today. The changes in payment mechanisms, digital marketing, e-commerce, in supply chain outsourcing, have created a paradigm shift in many organizations that requires CFOs to be broader-based individuals with deep understanding of the changing dynamic of online and multi channel delivery to consumers as well as in B2B transactions.
CFOs are more involved today in strategic planning for the entire organization, and they are active players on the senior management team. Rather than managing to the bottom line, as CFOs were once expected to do, the new environment defines a wider role that includes more comprehensive treasury skills as the strong management of the balance sheet, including debt and investments. The CFO is being seen as a skilled communicator to the many stakeholders of the company. (See 10 Steps to Better PowerPoint Presentations)
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