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<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Deal With a Lax and Incompetent CFO

October 30, 2005
Dear Fed Up:

Your sincere intention to help the business is the key point here. Remain focused on that and leave out less-relevant issues--especially ones of a personal nature.
Ideally, you would first meet with the CFO to address the issues directly. If you feel that meeting with the CFO would be truly counterproductive--aside from your own anxiety about confronting the issues--you may want to discuss the matter directly with the president/COO. In either case, let the person know that you need to meet in private about a very important matter.
Here are some guidelines for managing the meeting. These can be adapted, depending on whom you end up meeting with:
1) Express appreciation to the person for meeting with you. Let him know the conversation is difficult for you, albeit necessary.
2) Describe what has been going on using specific examples in nonjudgmental language.
3) Describe the business impact of this situation (how it has affected other employees, heightened the company's legal exposure, increased costs, reduced profitability, hindered production, prevented essential communications and so on).
4) Describe what is likely to happen if the situation persists. Also point out how things could improve if the matter is dealt with and corrected.
5) Ask the person to react to what you have said. Also, be sure to listen to the response.
6) Make a specific request to correct the problem, should top management fail to do so.
7) Make the choices clear. You may present several options, such as having your president:
  • Confront the CFO with the need to change behavior.
  • Move the CFO to another position.
  • Take away certain responsibilities from the CFO.
  • Remove the CFO from the organization, if necessary.
8) Ask your president what he or she intends to do.
9) Regardless of his decision, thank him/her for hearing you out and considering the situation. Offer your support in making the solution work.
Resolving this problem will go a long way toward building employee commitment to the business. Allowing it to continue perpetuates the frustration you already experience. It is important that your president/COO understands this.
SOURCE: Kevin Herring,Ascent Management Consulting Ltd., Oro Valley, Arizona, Jan. 13, 2004.
LEARN MORE:Charge Managers With Inspiring Loyalty
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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