A first step to better work-life balance may be brokering better relationships across collaborators who can help solve challenges.
If you’re fortunate enough to work in a company that offers half-day Fridays in the summer, you’re probably already looking out the window with longing. What occasionally makes the long wait for sunshine even harder, of course, is when you’re so swamped with work-related challenges that you wind up spending even more time indoors.
CFOs and their teams often fall into this category because of the increased pressure from other departments, based on responses to a poll produced a few months back by the Institute of Management Accountants. An article in Strategic Finance reported that 26% of those polled said they were “somewhat dissatisfied” and 12% were “very dissatisfied” by the level of work-life balance they have today.
“Satisfaction with work-life balance increases as the median working hours decrease for each group,” the article said. “Overall, respondents work an average of 48.4 hours per week (median 46.5). When asked about the number of hours worked, 47% would prefer to work fewer hours per week, and 62% reported feeling pressured to work more hours per week.”
There’s no easy fix to this, of course, but there is at least the potential for finance professionals to improve that ratio by developing a more collaborative relationship with the rest of the organization. In fact, it may be as much about showing more value through the information finance departments provide and the way they show that value. A recent interview with Patrick Brooker of the CFO Centre in the Globe and Mail spoke to this:
“At the CFO Centre we call it the barbecue test,” he laughs. He explains that the centre’s chief executive officer Ian Young selects CFOs for his team with decades of experience, but the true test is whether or not he would invite them to his home for a barbecue. Because it’s these communications skills that employers want to see.
Of course, that article was talking more about what it takes to get hired as a part-time or “virtual” CFO, but even those in full-time, established roles need to pass the barbeque test. As they tap into technology that arms them with better insight into business performance, they’ll have the first ingredient, so to speak. They’ll have something helpful and important to talk about.
The secret sauce? That’s a spirit of leadership that takes those insights and brings them to other stakeholders in the enterprise in a way that empowers them and makes them feel part of a shared mission – not just another guest at the barbeque, but someone who’s ready to cook up something transformative.