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Crucial Conversations Define Financial Professionals’ Careers

  • By Staff Writers
  • Published: 1/8/2014

In times of crisis, financial professionals often face choices that could put their jobs at risk.

Self-interested actors tend to procrastinate rather than speak up, which can allow problems to grow until the organization is jeopardy. Influential professionals, however, are the ones who speak up in those defining moment. Doing so can not only improve the trajectory of the organization, but also of the professional’s career.

The Crucial Conversations in Finance Survey, produced by AFP and VitalSmarts, features 101 insights from financial professionals describing how they handled sensitive or critical situations at their organizations. In some instances, these practitioners faced potentially risky outcomes for their careers. In other cases, the bold actions they took resulted in positive outcomes that drove results and bolstered their careers.

The report looks at the importance of holding effective conversations with managers and provides guidance for having a successful dialogue. These skills are crucial for financial professionals who aim to become top performers, leaders and influencers in their organizations.

The insights featured in the survey reveal a clear pattern for success and dialogue skills that can help any financial professional can use in a defining moment.

  • Step Up. Don’t avoid, delay, or talk around the crisis. Instead, step up. Have the right conversations with the right decision makers.
  • Salute the Flag. The military have a saying, “Always salute the flag before you disagree with your commanding officer.” This advice minimizes the chance that your speaking up will be seen as an attack.
  • Start with Facts. Your credibility rests on your professional expertise, so get your facts straight.
  • Tell the Story. Explain what the facts mean and what they add up to while taking care not to overstate your conclusions.
  • Encourage Testing. Have dialogues, not monologues. Ask for second opinions and data collection. Let others discover the problem the way you did.
  • Be Generous with Credit. When you successfully defuse a crisis, share the credit with the decision makers and stakeholders who made tough choices and took difficult actions.

Download the Crucial Conversations in Finance Survey here.

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