Finance is an “F” word to most managers.
Having taught them finance for the last 31 years, I realize why they avoid learning finance like the plague. They think of finance as a technical skill that must be mastered before earning a place at the table…. a mastery that sounds too hard, too complicated, and will take too long.
As a result, they don’t deeply feel the connection of their plans to the company’s financial goals. They secede ownership of their financial results to the finance staff. They’re less confident and engaged.
It doesn’t have to be that way. I believe finance is just a language – a language about a manager’s connection to how their company makes money and creates value.
And make no mistake – each manager, even if they’re not conversant in finance, makes an important impact on how the company makes money and creates value. But their financial results could be so much better if they knew these things. And to be influential and persuasive, they need to understand and be able to articulate their connection.
But without a language to think through and understand their connection to financial results, they don’t realize how important their efforts are and how integral they are to their company’s success.
They don’t realize that they are value creators. Their job becomes about the job, not about the meaning of the Job – which is value creation – and that robs their job of energy, focus, and satisfaction.
What do company leaders get when their managers realize they are value creators?
- They get decisions by their managers that are directly aligned with their company’s objectives.
- They get rigor in planning and accountability for results.
- They can trust their people with more resources.
- They have a deeper bench.
- They are freed up from micro-managing and thus have more time to do long term planning.
Finance (as a language) becomes an accelerator, not a roadblock.
The result: Finance will no longer be an “F” word.