Of course, every finance leader needs to understand the mechanics of accounting and know how to identify the financial implications of management’s decisions. Their preparation should also include learning from their experiences—and this includes mistakes, says Ian Charles, chief financial officer with Flexe, an on-demand warehousing solution.Read More
In particular, identifying the optimal candidate for a job is one of a leader’s most difficult and critical responsibilities, Charles notes. It’s also far from straightforward. It’s easy to believe that you’re hiring a star who will move the organization to the next level, only to discover that the individual isn’t as exceptional as he or she appeared as a candidate. In other situations—say, when it’s necessary to fill a role quickly—a candidate who appears less inspiring at the outset can turn out to add tremendous value to the organization.
To improve his track record when hiring for critical positions, Charles has beefed up his interview process. He begins by interviewing several dozen individuals. From this group, he chooses two or three finalists. All go through at least several rounds of interviews, with both Charles and other members of his team.
To be sure, this can mean balancing rigor with market realities. Given the tight job market at the moment, good individuals can find plenty of great opportunities, Charles adds.
Also key to hiring well is adeptly balancing the interests of multiple parties, including the board, management, and employees. Focusing too heavily in one direction can lead to unintended consequences. For example, a goal of maximizing share price will impact the board, investors, management, and employees differently. Charles notes that in the early days of his career, he would lean toward maximizing share price for the board rather than focusing on employees’ needs. “I’ve learned from that mistake as well,” he says.
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CFOTL: Tell us about Flexe. What does this company do? What are its offerings today?
Charles: We power technology-driven logistics programs across open warehouse and transportation networks. What does this mean? We provide flexible solutions to logistics problems and meet challenges for leading brands that want to set up infrastructure when, where, and how they need it. If you need to move product across the country but don’t have an interest in costly and time-consuming contracts with providers and/or warehouses to set up distribution, you can turn to Flexe and we will do that for you in a very efficient way. Whether it’s retail distribution, overflow warehouse management, or e-fulfillment, Flexe provides services to customers in really efficient ways. It’s the future of logistics.Read More
It was bound to happen. When I first came across the business model, I was intrigued by why it hadn’t been done before. It’s much like how we look at luggage today and wonder why it took so many years to put wheels on it to get it through the airport. I remember those days of carrying my over-the-shoulder Hartmann suitcase through miles of airports in order to arrive with a carry-on that was easy to maneuver—when I could have wheeled something. Not to equate Flexe with luggage, but we are a network that allows shippers to easily set up logistics nodes and networks.
One of the hardest parts about the business right now is finding great people. Good talent is hard to find these days, so I think that our number one challenge is staffing the departments with great people. Twelve months from now, I want to have the departments strongly staffed, with the right executives in analytics and strategy, FP&A, and accounting.
Flexe | www.flexe.com | Seattle, WA