Wanted – FDs with a vision
John Vincent, co-founder of Leon Restaurants and head of Vasari Global, is frustrated by empty companies. In a recent blog in Management Today he railed against zombie businesses that focus on share price with little or no concern for people and society. He believes that companies need to have a sense of mission beyond the share price, or they won’t last.
I can relate to that. There is nothing worse than a company that has no purpose other than to make money. Indeed it is clear that a business that pursues profit without any thought for the way that it does so is unlikely to be sustainable.
But hang on. Apparently I am not supposed to think like that. I am a finance director. It seems I don’t get this vision thing. I am a process guy who likes nothing better to wallow in the numbers and cut “unnecessary” costs. That is apparently why FDs do not make good CEOs.
Balderdash. Good FDs are good precisely because they do get this vision thing. They can look beyond the numbers and appreciate the difference between cost and value. They do understand how wealth is created.
However they also know how easily it is destroyed. Indeed there is an argument to say that some CEOs have too much vision and that a little focus on the numbers would not do them any harm at all.
The truth is that a good CEO is a good CEO regardless of his or her discipline. They articulate the vision, support the processes, engender trust and ultimately create wealth.
Actually I do have a vision. It is of a business that I have helped to know where it has been, know where it is going and know that it has enough fuel in the tank to get there. It may not be bright and fluffy, but it is reasonable and achievable, and has helped a number of CEO “visions” succeed.