CFO GUEST: Patrick McClymont of Hagerty
EPISODE: #862: The Numbers Don’t Lie
Machine Generated Transcript
CFOTL: Does anything comes to mind when we ask for a finance strategic moment of insight?
McClymont: The thing about this one, I go back to my time at IMAX, and so when I was hired at IMAX, the company was coming off of two very strong years, in the midst of the third. They had just taken their Chinese business public in Hong Kong, and that had produced a bunch of capital. And the mandate for the new CFO and why they found me attractive, it was going to be external. It was, you look at ways to drive growth, add legs to the stool, acquisitions, partnerships, those kind of things. In my first handful of months, I did the sort of normal onboarding and diagnostic. I also joined that in August, and so went through a planning process, which was helpful.Read More
And then early in my second year, so I was sort of five months in or something myself, along with the CEO Rich Gelfond, we kind of were looking at the numbers and noticed that some of the trends were moving against us. And I went back, did a bunch of work on it and came back and sat down with him and said, look, I know the mandate was X, but I’m concerned. How do we think about sort of an early warning system? What do we use to make a decision? Are we still headed in the direction we wanted to be or are we pivoting here? And Richard had been there forever and tremendous intuition on the business. And so he kind of agreed where I was coming from and said, okay, look, let’s look at the next three titles that are coming out and we’ll monitor our performance on those. And if we find that we’re in a position where we’re not on track, then let’s have a real conversation.
And he said, but go get ready for that real conversation now. If we end up in a spot where we need to pivot, let’s start working on it. And for me, it was sort of the moment was, okay, I was hired to do one thing, feels different, and always remember the numbers don’t lie. And that was the framework that Rich and I came up with is, okay, look, let’s just create a little scorecard, a short term scorecard, and we’ll hold ourselves accountable to it. And if the numbers tell us to do something, we’re going to do it. And the moment was sort of, especially coming from banking, banking all numbers go up into the right. And look, we all have these strategies and narratives and we’re all biased to believe that wonderful things will happen. And in the finance situation, always remember the numbers don’t lie.
And ask your peers on a leadership team, okay, if that’s true, whatever it is, if it’s true, is it in our numbers now? When will it be in our numbers? And it look, there’s a very constructive way to have those conversations. It’s just about the initiative and remembering that … Ask those challenging questions, help people recognize that the sands can shift underneath us pretty quickly. And then from the CFO slot, you can’t just ask the question. You’ve got to be willing to roll up your sleeves, dive in with your business partners and help them figure it out. What is the pivot we need to make and how do we get at it?
So that was the one for me, that recognition that this can move pretty quickly and you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got the resolve to ask the tough question, and then the follow through to build, sort of buy-in to what the solution is.
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