THERE IS ONE TALENT that a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) must have to be successful—the ability to make people feel comfortable.
The CFO should not be looked up to for his or her technical abilities, but for his or her leadership qualities. The successful CFO makes people comfortable by inspiring trust. The Chief Financial Officer does this by managing expectations while exceeding them regularly. The CFO is someone who is knowledgeable about business generally and the organization he or she works for specifically. This knowledge allows the CFO to deliver on these expectations.
Identify the most successful CFO whom you know. I am willing to bet that this CFO is excellent at managing relationships. It does not matter the type of CFO he is, the industry he works in, or his technical expertise and background. It does not matter if he started his career in an accounting firm or an investment bank. The single most common thread between all different and successful CFOs is their excellence in managing relationships.
Once you understand that relationships are critically important for your success as a CFO, you will want to identify the different types of relationships you will need ...