The Source for CFO Thought Leadership
As today’s digital technologies deliver data and information to the furthest reaches of the corporate enterprise, the voice of finance leadership must travel further and resonate more broadly to connect with each and every business decision-maker.
And therein lies a challenge.
Historically, finance leaders have resisted dedicating much thought to their own professional narratives, in the belief that their CEOs and fellow corporate leaders would speak on their behalf.
However, today’s CFOs have realized that to open doors and engage with stakeholders outside the realm of traditional finance, an engaging professional narrative has become a necessity.
“Thought leadership” is a label traditionally applied to white papers or magazine supplements painstakingly crafted to help others to understand a business opportunity.
Make no mistake: The intent of a professional narrative should be to position an individual for business opportunities. In other words, a professional narrative is thought leadership.
We created CFO THOUGHT LEADER as a platform designed to help finance leaders explain themselves and their career experiences in a way that larger numbers of executives could relate to and find more engaging.
Just as important, we know that by learning about the successes and—yes—failures of others, CFOs and senior finance executives can more confidently advance their own narratives as they chart their leadership paths and take inspired action.
A little more than a dozen years ago, I was named editor-in-chief of a print magazine for finance executives, one of a succession of business-to-business publications for which I had served as editor over a period of more than 20 years.
It was a tour of duty that careerwise would prove to be both calamitous and transformational: “calamitous” because the business model that had supported print magazines as well as my more-than-two-decade career was quickly collapsing and “transformational” because this collapse finally forced me to look beyond print journalism.
My goal in going forward was to develop an information resource for senior executives and business leaders. Still, I had no idea what type of resource I was going to develop and which group of executives I wanted to serve.
Having attended quite a few finance conferences over the past decade—like you, perhaps—I am well familiar with the theme of “the changing role of the CFO.” It’s a discussion that normally includes a slide or two highlighting the growing number of stakeholders with whom finance leaders have to engage these days.
I was attending one such conference when it occurred to me that many finance leaders were in need of a narrative reboot. In short, they needed to begin explaining themselves and their career experiences in a way that larger numbers of executives could relate to and find more engaging.
At the same time, I realized that mobile technologies could play a big role in the reboot. I was not yet familiar with the podcasting world, but I felt that if my information resource could feature the actual voices of business leaders, we could shed more light on each leader’s emotional intelligence.
As I drilled down on my idea, I became convinced of two things: first, that a narrative reboot would benefit few business leaders more than CFOs, and, second, that few forms of media were better suited to sharing narratives than podcasting.
Along the way, we could inspire other CFOs and finance career builders out there who were looking to advance their own strategic thinking and extend the reach of their thought leadership beyond their own organizations.
As we like to say, The future of finance is listening, and today CFO THOUGHT LEADER is a top-ranked, award-winning business podcast. I should mention I didn’t go it alone and I had some wonderful mentors including the late Steve Player, a top finance consultant who from my print days on forward served up generous helpings of encouragement.
As we like to remind our CFO guests, people are what make experiences stick in our minds. We hope you’ll tell us about them. –Jack Sweeney
Regarding our Sponsors: The views, opinions, and perspectives expressed on the CFO Thought Leader podcast are solely those of CFO Thought Leader and its guests and do not necessarily reflect those of any podcast sponsor.
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