Great companies require great leaders: This is critically true in the accounting and finance arena. Recently, a growing number of companies have joined the fray in creating experienced financial leadership programs (EFLP’s) to attract, develop, retain and deploy high performing talent. These new entrants join a list of iconic companies who have been offering programs for decades. Thomas Byrne Associates has a 30 year history of consulting on the creation of programs and an unmatched record of staffing them with high potential financial stars. Here are some key factors in long term program success:
Start with the end: What is the goal of your program? Some programs are simply attempting to immerse “early in career” candidates into the company. The new EFLP trend is to seek more experienced professionals and provide a robust platform to support their ascension to the future CFO pool. Know your program goal and map your recruiting strategies to fit it. Be sure selected candidates share your EFLP outcome vision.
Recruit stars: Hire only top ranked targets. This will legitimize your EFLP, assist in attracting other similar quality talent, and support the retention of the top talent you have already managed to find. Avoid the common mistakes of “hiring to the number”, which dilutes your pool with bell curve outcomes, or layering in too many disconnected corporate objectives with your hiring decisions.
Hire great talent when they are available: Building a pipeline of EFLP talent is competitive and difficult. It takes time, focus, energy and circumstance. Why add to that challenge by demanding that all talent be available to start on some random common date if avoidable? You will surely miss opportunities recruiting in narrow time windows. Seize the talent.
Look for unique/exceptional rotations: Rotations should be developmental, strategic, interesting and of a reasonably high profile. They should involve your best managers and provide the opportunity to create success stories. Rotations need to be demanding, challenge the capacities of the participant, and display why you selected them.
Have high expectations: Expect and demand high performance. No coddling or nursing these candidates along. Throw participants in deep water and then stick to a performance model of learn, contribute, and move. Add additional required training, presentation exposure and mentoring to the mix and watch the cream rise.
Select your recruitment partner wisely: You will need a partner who understands your program and goals. A partner who can and will deliver top talent and help brand, protect and advance your model in the marketplace with good stewardship. You will need a partner who will invest in you; developing an EFLP is a time consuming and demanding process in a market where easier recruitment opportunities exist.
Thomas Byrne Associates has been helping organizations build and sustain outstanding programs and outcomes decade after decade. We can help you in the design, launch, staffing and long term success of your program. Contact us for a strategic discussion.