By Adam Bloch, Co-founder of fdu group.
It’s not easy for a CFO to make the step up to CEO, a position where a person needs more than just qualifications and achievements on a CV. A question we’re often asked is how someone can make this step successfully and what pitfalls to avoid. By following a few simple, yet often overlooked steps, the transition can be a smooth one and a lot of potential problems avoided.
Below are three top tips for those looking to make the move from CFO to CEO. But these aren’t actions that can be done overnight; they take time and should be started well before the transition takes place. Applying the principles below in your working life leading up to the transition will help make sure the right things are in place before the move takes place.
– Recruit the right people to cover the CFO role
While it sounds obvious, recruiting someone with the right experience and someone you can trust is crucial. One of the biggest challenges is letting go of the financial side of the business and having someone you trust in the CFO role will make a big difference. It’s easy for a former CFO to fall into the trap of spending too much time on the finances of a business and having a good CFO – one who isn’t afraid of telling you to step back – ensures the rest of the business doesn’t get forgotten.
– Recognise your strengths, but focus on your weaknesses
Rather than worrying about playing to your strengths, focus on the areas of your business where you’re less confident and resource appropriately to cover for this. Whether it’s a case of recruiting extra help in that area or training other staff, your focus should always be on your weakest area of expertise and what you’re doing to improve this.
- Build the right relationships with the rest of the executive and support teams
Being a good CEO is as much about having the right personality as the qualifications, and having the right relationships in place is a good starting point. Ensuring your new aims and ambitions for the company are effectively communicated throughout the whole team can make the difference between a team working well together and people pulling in different directions and slowing progress.