Leading by the Numbers
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Finance professionals sometimes have difficulty making the transition to broader leadership roles. There are five critical changes they need to navigate to succeed. A few years ago, the chief financial officer of a large company told me that he estimated that his organization had only about a 30% success rate when promoting finance people to leadership roles in or across business units. The CFO wasn’t happy with that rate; he wanted a better pipeline of executives with a finance background, because the company’s business model and strategic choices required leaders to be well versed in finance. That conversation prompted me to explore — through a combination of interviews, a survey of 35 finance professionals, and a literature review — the question of whether leadership development is different for people from finance backgrounds. In the process, I identified five critical transitions that finance professionals need to navigate when taking on a broader role in an organization.
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