It’s Tuesday in the corporate dining room…. I’m with the CEO and President of a national retail company….
He confides in me: “I’ve got a leadership team right now, director-level and above individuals, where probably half of them really don’t have the technical knowledge and/or competencies to have been placed in those positions. What you have is individuals who are very good at executing what senior leaders need executed. But when you say, “Hey, I want you to think about it and make your own decisions,” that’s where it starts to fall a little flat. They don’t know how to stand on their own two feet.
“What I need is there’s probably, let’s call it 75 people, that are director-level and above. I need those 75 people running the daily operations of this company rather than the six senior executives having to live in the weeds. Financial acumen is one of the spaces that we see that they would need to be prepared to fully deliver that.”
If you’re a leader of a company, division, or department, you might have similar concerns and needs. Fundamentally, delegation of decisions over resources, like budget and headcount, is a universal leadership challenge:
- The good news is that your non-financial managers are great at delivering within their non-financial responsibilities.
- The bad news is that their non-financial decisions don’t directly connect to your Big Picture financial objectives.
What do your managers have to know for you to trust them with the company’s resources without you “having to live in the weeds” reviewing their decisions? Here are financial competencies they need:
- VALUE: How does my company create value and how do I contribute?
- INSIGHT: How does my company make money and what is my connection?
- FORESIGHT: How do I make my plans and decisions more financially grounded?
- OVERSIGHT: How do I make my progress updates more financially accountable?
These competencies go a long way in addressing your delegation challenge and in building your trust that your managers can “stand on their own two feet.”