Our recent survey that explored finance teams and their culture showed that:
- Just 37% of finance department employees believe that leadership promotes a culture focused on creating value for the business, which is measured via feedback and KPIs
- And only 35% report that finance teams are always clear on the strategic purpose of a task or project prior to its delivery
A team’s capacity to welcome change, when it is needed, is partially based on their ability to cope with uncertainty, take measured risks and “work in the grey”. This can prove to be challenging if team members can’t relate to the company’s vision or feel that they are contributing to a greater purpose through their work.
Let me use a metaphor here.
If your team only see the project they are working on as a straight path:
- single repetitive tasks
- takes them from A to B without a bump in the road
- gets them to the goal they are supposed to reach
Then change might feel like a time-waster, an inconvenience that will mess with the process they are familiar with. Why would they risk trying a new path, even if it might lead to a shortcut or a better road?
Now imagine what would happen if they were continuously encouraged to:
- think beyond the task and find ways to serve a greater objective by improving time and performance
- try something new without being told off, even if it doesn’t turn out to be a better option
Then the journey to the end goal turns more into a quest. It might be windy to start with, but the rewards could be greater and it might lead them to a “performance highway”.
Of course, there needs to be limits to the exploration and with the guidance of a strategic leader, explicit guidelines can be set on how far to go before going back on the main road. It’s all about setting the right feedback and KPIs to guide team members on the journey without losing sight of the end goal.
How would you judge your team ability “to work in the grey”? What has been your greatest challenge?
We’re always happy to have a quick chat and answer your questions, message us at [email protected]
Ready to take your next challenge and become a game-changing leader in finance? EOI is open for our Strategic Finance leader program.