5 Pillars of Financial Control – #1 – Leadership and People

Written by Stewart Hayward

When we look at the five pillars of financial control, it’s clear that the first pillar is always leadership and people.

No organisation, or business, or group can effectively function without solid leadership. It’s a necessary foundation for smooth operations. Leaders inspire people, they make sure that everybody is where they should be in terms of the vision of the company, and their role within it, so it’s vital to have strong leadership.

So, we’ve looked at a few perspectives from the veterans within the business industry, and these are Caroline Adams, Sam Ryan and Paul Sutton. These fantastic folks have offered these great perspectives about leadership and people, and we thought we’d share some of their wisdom.

Setting a Vision

It’s generally agreed that a good company has to set the vision for its team at the beginning. As Sam says, concerning a company she worked with, it was necessary to start “exploring who we were as a team, what habits we’ve got into, what our mindset was and behaviours were in the team, and through that, a lot of opportunities emerged for us”.

It’s clear from that statement that it’s essential to identify who is part of the team – what their strengths and weaknesses are, what they bring to the situation, and what opportunities arise due to that. Caroline supplements this ideology by correctly identifying an excellent viewpoint while referencing her own experiences to sit and think about what “is it that we’re trying to achieve, what’s the journey, and how are we going to get there?”. 

The Right Hiring

Paul brought a different perspective to the table when it came to setting the vision for a company, as he touched on the importance of hiring the right people. He went on to share a little anecdote that was passed to him some 30 years ago by a colleague, and it goes like this:

“One of the very first financial directors I worked for gave me two vital pieces of advice. First of all, he said you don’t pick the safe candidate. By that, he meant don’t pick the candidate that is going to play it safe; pick the one that will test you in a good way, and challenge you because it helps you to move forward. The second piece of advice was to build a team with complementary skills. There’s no point hiring a team of people where everybody wants to be the manager, and nobody wants to go and talk to the retailers”.

That’s some pretty profound wisdom, and it does speak volumes about the importance of building the right team with complementary skills. It’s very tempting when putting a team together to pick a group of forward-thinking, ambitious, bright businesspeople, but those kinds of personalities can invariably clash because they’re all striving for the same thing, and there can only be one or two people at the top.

People and Leadership are Everything 

So, if there are one or two things that all three of our experts agreed on, it was that leadership, and people are everything. It’s a vital opportunity to fill up your team with the right people. At the same time, it’s essential to make sure that you establish the team’s dynamic, give everybody a chance to put across their ideal characteristics, and showcase what they can do.

All three of our experts agreed that, ultimately, strong leadership involves identifying what kind of people you have at your disposal. It’s essential to get this part of the project worked out ahead of time because you will not get another opportunity. You need to know where you’re going and what you’re doing, and you need to know there and then. It’s not the kind of thing you work out halfway through the project; it’s an integral part of the business that you work out at the start. You identify team leaders, peacekeepers, team players, and solo acts, and you manage them accordingly.

Final Thoughts

So ultimately, people and leadership are essential pillars of financial control. Your project, regardless of what you’re trying to do, relies upon the people you choose to do it. Therefore, everything you do with them needs to be done properly. There needs to be an effective use of your time and resources. You need to make sure that you have worked out the team dynamic at the start, because it can’t be left uncertain halfway through.



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