Welcome to the
John Symons Blog
Please join me in sharing ideas in mentoring, leadership and realising peoples potential.
Posted by John on May 15 13
Have you noticed that roles in Finance are in constant tension between Assurance and Professional Advice? I tee’d up that conversation last month from a strategic clarity perspective (see my blog) but today I want to peel those layers back a bit. I think this easily relates to the metaphor of Yin and Yang and the affect when those natural tensions are out of balance. (more…)
Posted by John on May 15 13
Here is an article that I commented on in the May CPA magazine (In The Black). CPA ITB – Crunch Time (May 13)
Firstly, I deeply believe you can’t shrink your way to greatness (ref Tom Peter’s). There is also surprising little discretionary spend to pull levers these days. Even in very big organsations, most spend is locked up in salaries, supply chain and fixed costs. So…we need to take care with short and long-term impacts. (more…)
Posted by John on Apr 17 13
Deep down, CFO’s and Senior Finance Leaders essentially deliver two things – Assurance AND Professional Advice (to drive business performance). How we do this, makes a HUGE difference to the value we create, the people we work with and the influence we hold.
My concern in this conversation with you is that we sometimes get lost in the detail. (more…)
Posted by John on Feb 12 13
I saw the new movie Lincoln on the weekend which was epic in many ways. A constant tension in the movie was the seemingly impossible choices he had to make. In a poignant moment, Lincoln discussed his strategy with a colleague who argued for sticking to his moral compass. At the time , I thought of the many board rooms I’ve sat in where we have had this same conversation. (more…)
Posted by John on Jan 16 13
Hi everyone. It’s my first newsletter for 2013 so welcome back and I look forward to BIG things happening for you this year.
Fresh on the heels of my December newsletter I was asking you to notice your action. That meant at the end of the calendar year to make time to look back (at what you achieved) and look forward (at what is coming up). It means being honest with yourself to recognise achievement as well as where you might be stuck. Please, don’t get sucked into busy work after the holidays and dive back into the same old routine.
This time, I ask you to look at your activity a bit differently. With Pareto in mind I want you to be really tough on yourself to consider where you create the most value for your business. (more…)
Posted by John on Sep 17 12
My newsletter this month speaks about the role of Finance as a true business partner. It’s problematic because even though it’s a strategic imperative for Finance to provide professional insight and drive the performance of it’s organisation it can be mired on both sides of the relationship. (more…)
Posted by John on Aug 29 12
As Finance Teams mature I see them reach very high quality in operational excellence but then they wonder..what next? For me, the next step in a high performing team is about clarity of purpose, bold ambition and a culture of innovation. It means a very clear focus on the Why with a spirit of creativity on the What and How.
Posted by John on Jul 12 12
Ok, it’s a tough time of year. Finance is swamped with assurance, reporting, rollover, audit, and in many cases setting up new budgets. It’s also a good time to stop and reflect….what will make this better in the future.
For me it’s focus. (more…)
Posted by John on Jun 21 12
“We know it’s bad practice so why are we still so addicted to budgeting”. I love this comment in the recent article from Fin Review’s Capital Magazine (June 12).
Its a discussion on why we should shift to rolling forecasts. I’ve contributed to that article which is great but I think we also use the term budgeting to mean different things. From some it’s their annual planning process. For me it’s the distracting effort of breaking plans down to every profit/cost centre and account code, by month. We can free up massive amounts of time, effort and value by getting great at forecasting to mature the business insight and understanding of current and future performance.
Posted by John on Jun 7 12
Here’s a brief Fin Review article from last week which considers aspects of financial analysis and forecasting. I spoke with the journalist for this and a wider article coming soon in the June Capital Magazine. What I like is the notion that this is a failure to focus (on what matters).