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CFO Coach: The Five Worst Things You Can Do

  • By Cindy Kraft
  • Published: 2012-07-03

Oh, there are many more than five things you could do—or refuse to do—that can damage your career. But here are five that in today’s economy, I believe are critically important to every finance executive.

1. Buy into the (self)hype that you are invincible and irreplaceable.

We might be invincible and even irreplaceable for awhile, but rarely are we those things in the long term. Holding the perspective that we are prevents us from doing the things we should–and need–to do to ensure career viability.

Companies can, and many do, go under—even with the best planning and the most talented leadership. They can also be sold or merged, resulting in new leadership put in place. A career that is ignored because you are working so hard in your job may just be facilitating your vulnerability.

2. Become unemployed.

All things being equal, you have the same skill sets, contribute the same impacts, and hold the exact same strengths while you were employed... even while standing on the curb and looking back at the building on your last day of employment. But one thing that you now also have is the black mark of unemployment and the one thing you’ve lost is the very effective power of passive positioning.

One only recognizes just how powerful passive positioning is once they no longer have it.

3. Undervalue networking.

Something I routinely hear from Finance Executives is that they are too busy to network. Might I suggest shifting that paradigm and asking you to consider that you don’t have time NOT to network?

4. Be invisible.

Being invisible is a risky proposition today. I blogged about this a few months ago when I quoted a coach who said a firm with whom he consulted almost missed out on hiring a very qualified senior executive because it believed the candidate’s invisibility made the company suspect his entire background was fabricated.

You don’t need to tweet, or Facebook, or be involved in the myriad other social networking sites if you so choose. But to not have a credible, complete, and compelling presence on LinkedIn is a risky proposition.

5. Plaster the job boards with your resume.

Nothing screams desperation more loudly or clearly than your resume “discreetly” posted on job boards. And yes, that includes the so-called “100K” boards who pander to senior executives.

If the passive candidate is the most courted, resumes in a job board SCREAM “I need to get out of here and fast!” about as loudly as one can scream. The moment that happens, you no longer hold true passive positioning.

The latest Execunet Executive Job Market Intelligence Report says senior executive transitions are averaging 5.7 months. From where I sit, it makes sense to plan on nine months. Which means, about a year before you think you are ready to make a move, a savvy finance chief will already be executing good career management strategies towards the goal of moving on and moving up. And a truly savvy finance executive will make good career management habits an ongoing exercise.

Cindy Kraft is the CFO-Coach. Reach Cindy at Cindy@CFO-Coach.com, 813-655-0658, or at www.CFO-Coach.com.
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Copyright © 2014 Association for Financial Professionals, Inc.
All rights reserved.

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