Former CEO of Motorola comments on Finance Chief and Business success
Last night I heard Ed Zander, former Motorola CEO speak at the FEI Silicon Valley meeting. He echo’d what we often hear about keys to business success and failure. His comments about finance chiefs were entirely consistent with our client experiences and worth summarizing:
Finance Chief Success
When the time for questions came, I couldn’t help but ask Ed, “When you think back to the very best CFO who worked for/with you, what was the difference between this person and all the others?”
Ed’s response, “They speak up when they disagree. They know the business….ones that come to product strategy meetings…..ones who help close deals.”
Entirely consistent with our experience with clients. A top reason clients call us to replace someone is, “He/she just didn’t know our business. We need a business leader in this CFO. Not just a number cruncher.” We find this true across industries and across our national client base.
Ed also values ethics, knowing the numbers cold, transparency, an independent voice and bringing the bad news early.
- You must be customer-centric. He joined Motorola and often the largest customers had not been visited recently
- Measure everything
- Principles, as in doing the right thing
- People and teamwork. Set common values and bonus plan so you’ll work together
- Hire A-Players
Most notable, he added that the BIGGEST MISTAKE in his working career was people..he “picked some wrong ones.”
Although Ed was a large company guy, he said, “If you have 25 people, everyone has to be an A player.”
We agree. Great advice. Call us to strategize about how to create an exceptional opportunity for an A Player. There is significant strategy around what “exceptional” means and we’re happy to help you identify, recruit and evaluate for your specific definition of A Player.