‘I want to move forward with my career’, ‘I want to increase my compensation’, ‘I want to get promoted’. Do these phrases sound familiar?
I hear my clients saying these things all the time, and we always end up circling back to value. More specifically, the value they bring and the impact they have within their organisation.
Because if you can demonstrate your value in the finance team, you’re well on your way to getting that promotion – or whatever else you’re wishing for!
Most of the time, demonstrating your value can be broken down into three key areas:
- Solving problems – who has problems and how do you solve them
- Taking opportunities – become the go-to person when a challenge arises
- Transforming finance – become a catalyst for transformation
So how do you do this in practice?
Look at problems through the lens of others
Shift your focus away from the goals or interests you have, and instead think about your work through the lens of problems that other people are facing, that you are solving.
To identify these problems in the first place, ask yourself a couple of questions:
- What is a problem that the organisation has?
- What is a problem that customers have?
- What is a problem that the leadership teams and managers need to solve?
Once you have a list of problems along with how your work is a solution, it’s much easier to highlight your impact and value. It’s a simple reframe but very effective way to show that you can proactively add value to your team by making things easier for them. Your solutions could even positively impact your organisation as a whole.
For example, your company might have an issue when using Microsoft Teams for communication. So, you could figure out how Teams can be used in a different way to make it easier for people to collaborate more effectively.
Focus on the problem that your leadership team has
Next, think about the things that your CFO, Finance Director or leadership would love to fix but don’t have time to. For example, they might want to run a diversity and inclusion programme but simply haven’t had the chance to kick it off. Most likely, they’d love to have someone who’s a champion of learning and development, but don’t know who to ask. Take the initiative and volunteer to step up. Essentially, try and make their lives easier.
Whatever you do, just ensure that it will definitely solve a problem you know they have. It’s a sure-fire way to show them you care and are willing to do the hard work to get things done. Many people are solving problems they are interested in, which is great, but try to make they sure they are problems of leadership too.
Stay clued up on new opportunities
Make it your mission to collect information on new trends or breakthroughs in the industry.
For example, right now in Finance, there’s a lot of talk surrounding ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). No one really knows much about it or how much of a part Finance Teams will need to play. One way you could level up and demonstrate your value is by learning more about it and becoming the go-to person on the topic. Or even just run a lunch and learn for an hour on the topic.
It’s the same for understanding the latest technologies like machine learning. What are the latest tools, and how could your team use them to streamline processes? Make it one of your priorities to prepare for the future of finance.
Support with finance transformation
Finance transformation is a hot topic at the moment, but teams aren’t sure where to start.
I work with clients who manage teams of 60 people, and they ask who thinks a certain process is broken and 60 hands will go up. Then, when they ask who’s made an effort to fix it, no one will put their hand up.
As finance professionals, we need to be people that understand what finance transformation is and how we can be catalysts for that.
To be one of these people in your company, you can brush up on how to lead on change (even without ‘hierarchical authority’), your knowledge of new technologies, and methodologies such as Agile which will enable more effective transformation. Whatever you do, the goal should be to streamline and simplify your processes, systems and work. If you can come with a suggestion of how to do that, your value will be clear for everyone to see!
Even if you don’t want to be a technology or process expert, being the person who is the catalyst for teams to organise and start to change is extremely valuable to leaders.
These steps will help you demonstrate your value in the finance team. Focus on solving other peoples’ problems and put yourself in your CFO’s shoes to find ways to make their life easier. Take the initiative, and it will almost always be rewarded!
Provide value by uncovering new opportunities. Read up and learn as much as you can on a certain topic that’s new in the world of finance. Being the go-to person on that topic will clearly showcase your value.
Lastly, become a trailblazer in finance transformation. Suggest new technologies, training or methodologies that will streamline processes. Trust me, if you can save people time and frustration, your boss and your boss’s boss will thank you for it.
Interested in developing your finance leadership skills?
I work with people to develop their leadership skills and help them realise their value. After a 30-minute discovery call, I can help you build a bespoke training programme that works for you and your team. Get in touch to get started.