Describe an event or experience that defines you as an Operator:
Covid and the resulting gov’t programs to support small business via the CARES Act created a massively urgent need to respond and to respond quickly. As a consulting CFO, I had 5-6 clients who all needed to know what to do & how. My team at Attivo did an amazing job staying on top of and disseminating information about the ever-changing details of the CARES Act & what companies could do and couldn’t do, what they were & were not eligible to receive, and whether they should apply for loans or other support programs or not. Using that information, I worked closely with my clients’ management teams to quickly assess the impact of Covid & each company’s response to the resulting hit to revenue. It was really impressive to see these teams work super collaboratively & with a huge sense of urgency to respond quickly. In many cases, the response required a full re-forecast of their 2020-2021 plans and in most cases, a significant reduction in force and other expenses. It required a full team effort to understand the impact of these reductions and to ensure that the cuts could meaningfully extend the cash runway without hampering the company’s ability to continue to operate and even grow. Although super stressful, it was a really impressive display of collaboration and creativity and communication and confidence.
A time when OG offered value:
I’m a big fan of the Q&A email thread and have asked a number of questions over time and have always received fantastic information & support. In particular, I’ve a client that’s got a Brazilian sub, and we’d determined that their outsourced accountants in Brazil needed to be replaced. I figured it was a long shot to ask the group, but sure enough, turns out that one of our members, Ben Myers, has a company based in Brazil. He saved the day with a great recommendation.
The OG events have been fantastic learning opportunities, too. In particular the Market Force Master Class was super powerful, and I think about my own Indicator results & what that says about how I should work with others all the time. Also, I’ve always sort of known what Zero Based Budgeting was, but it was fantastic to have a couple Operators take us through how they’ve implemented it at their companies, including challenges they faced in implementing ZBB and how they worked through those challenges.
Top actionable tools, processes, solutions, or advice:
So, how about 3 things… 2 big picture, and 1 more tactical….
Big Picture #1: Trust in Yourself. If you’ve experienced success in your career, and if you’re in this group, it’s certain you have, be confident in your ability. Your company (CEO, management team, or even just your department or direct reports) needs your guiding hand. If poor decisions are being made, raise your hand and tell them. Support your statement with facts and data but ultimately, Trust in Yourself.
Big Picture #2: Be transparent. Tell people how things are going. Proactively give feedback & proactively ask for feedback. It’s hard, and it requires constant practice to develop the muscle memory, but if you can do it and do it consistently, it’ll pay massive dividends. It will build tremendous trust between you & your team, between you & your Board and investors. It’ll make it easier for others to be transparent with you. And that will allow both of you to work better together to solve problems.
Tactical: Take the time to automate. Take the time to set things up the right way the first time. It’ll make your life so much easier and allow you to focus on the strategic.