by Jeffrey Deckman, a serial entrepreneur for 30+ years in the technology and human capital fields. As the founder of Capability Accelerators, he is the creator of the Bigger Know Principles of Leadership which teach the modern executive the new leadership skills required to maximize the ROI from their human capital investments.

Nothing is the same in the new, post-industrial, information/knowledge age economy.

In the industrial age economy assembly line thinking, mass production and repetitive processes drove profits. Linearity, formulas and 5 to 7 year plans ruled the day.

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the relative stability and predictability of the industrial age is gone forever. Mind searing changes in technology as well as unprecedented levels of disruptive and game changing innovations have turned strict reliance upon “linearity, predictability and 5 to 7 year plans” into severe liabilities.

In addition, technology and the expectations of the modern client has made agility, innovation, collaboration and “5 Star” customer service key factors that determine success or failure for the modern company. These are all human capital centric activities.

The combination of these two unprecedented changes is forcing both CEO’s and CFO’s to shift from a predominantly process oriented mindset to a “Systems Thinking” mindset. And since innovation, creativity, collaboration and customer service are all employee driven activities, they are being challenged to exhibit excellent collaboration, communication and cooperation skills.

This means they must develop their EQ to go along with their already high IQ if they want to play a role in maximizing EBITDA.

Garth Saloner, the Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business in a recent Gallup interview was asked what attributes CEO’s were looking for from those being recruited from their MBA program. The summation of his answer was that they were looking for people who had excellent “soft skills”.

Almost anyone can learn formulas, processes and the “hard skills” of business. But to be effective in the modern world CFO’s must not only “play nice with others” but they must also become proactive catalysts for collaboration, who think and plan strategically.

Being a CFO is no longer just about number crunching. The new CFO 2.0 will operate like “shadow CEOs” who adopt Systems Thinking and who become experts at leveraging both the financial capital and the human capital of the organization to maximize the ROI of both assets.

The new economy is forcing both the CEO and the CFO community to think very differently or face being left behind. Of the two, I think it may be the CFO community who will more challenged to make this adjustment.

The modern business world requires a lot of right brain activity from highly left brained individuals.

The good news is in my work with CEO’s and CFO’s I have seen that once they see the LOGIC in adapting the new ways of thinking and begin learning the new collaborative leadership SYSTEMS they can employ, their progress is quick and it sticks. Then the results keep them motivated to master these skills.

A company that is fortunate to have both a CEO and a CFO that are Systems Thinkers and master collaborators will secretly possess one of the most competitive advantages imaginable and will be rewarded with prosperity.

The emergence of the new CFO 2.0 will redefine the modern organization.

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