At Amplify we discussed how consistency matters in leadership.
In particular, we talked about how kids respond to coaching better when there is consistency.
If you are consistently calm, there’s power in that.
And if you are intense – having consistency in that can make it inspiring and optimistic.
When you try to impact kids and they are overly concerned with your emotions and response, you don’t get the learning or results you hope for. They can be anxious trying to understand your response instead of focused and engaged.
It’s similar in business.
Our business coach talked to us about consistency and how we needed to strive for that as an executive team and as founders leading that team.
When you have great passion, this can lead you to volatility.
Intensity and passion can work, but not at the expense of consistency.
Knowing the risk of inconsistency can be a significant first step.
Having the kids you coach, or the employees you lead, approach their work and interactions with a focus on what your intensity will look like, or what armour they need to put on to be prepared, or how they are going to respond, is a distraction.
Similarly, if you don’t have consistency, do you have clarity?
Are your expectations understood?
It isn’t always easy!
Let’s walk through our top eight examples in Financial Leadership:
1. The exact date you release your reports and insights allows the team and leaders to plan for analysis and meetings and act with the information – and that’s the whole point.
2. Using the same format for your reporting allows the team and leaders to understand expectations, quickly understand the report, and find the information they need. They don’t have to spend time understanding; instead, they can leap to commitment and action.
3. Consistent expectations on cash outflow decisions can allow you to be proactively part of the business decision instead of looped in after the fact. When you aren’t part of the process, sometimes it’s because you show up inconsistent!
Are you over engaged and micromanaging? Distant and unengaged? Cost police and obsessed with money? Inspiring and visionary? Do they know the you that will show up?
4. The magic. When Amplifiers anchor discussions and decisions to the strategy and growth of the client, it is a form of consistency that influences and builds trust.
If you have a challenging conversation and can’t anchor it to the strategy and growth, you might not be ready, or it may not be a necessary confrontation.
CFOs that practice this magic consistently build trust and influence.
Controllers that develop this, advance their careers and are going to CFO.
5. A consistent A/P cycle and process
Moving to a process (ideally with automation) lets our clients grow strategically.
When you put a payables cycle in place, you can expect:
💸 Better cash flow management and forecasts – you control the output and you can predict it.
🤝 Better business partnerships with your vendors – they know your cycle and no longer have to follow up and chase you. This saves them time, along with not frequently checking the bank/mail to see if you happen to have paid. You build trust through consistency.
🏦 Quicker access to financing – Cashflow management leads to profit and loss forecasts and financial health. Conversations with investors and bankers are made with confidence and accurate data, leading to better negotiations and the ability to fund growth.
6. Collections and Invoicing
Timely invoicing allows the value alignment to be more consistent, obviously linked to the cash outflow.
Imagine buying a chocolate bar and paying later? By then, you may forget the pleasure or purpose of the extra calories. You may feel guilt for the indulgence, which creates an unwillingness to pay.
Or how about when the lawyer or auditor bills you way after the fact? By the time you are paying the invoice, you forget the stress and the anxiety of them meeting the deadline and the great need you had for the services.
When you bill your clients on time, and consistently, you get paid quicker.
Leadership: Flexibility and Chaos
7. Creating a culture of flexibility is an act of threading the needle between empowerment and chaos. Without policy and rules and the consistency they bring, you are at constant risk of disorder.
As a Finance Leader, you need to push back on some flexibility to bring confidence to your team and the organization’s leaders.
Even if they resist, there are some areas of finance that benefit too greatly from consistency to be overruled by flexibility.
The need for consistency is prominent if your business is in the stage of scaling.
- Purchase Orders or Requisitions
- Controls on disbursements
- Delegation of Authority
These are just a few!
8. Cashflow Forecasts
A Finance Leader that forecasts cash consistently and can speak with confidence on runways or pinch points is trusted.
The executive can sleep at night knowing this is constantly monitored.
The bank and investors can trust the reporting and communication, knowing that risks are identified, monitored and mitigated consistently.
Team members can respect pushback when they know it’s based on consistently updated forecasts.
As Finance Leaders, four areas we are involved in are month-end reporting, the executive team, cash management and leadership.
Each one of these benefit significantly from consistency.
Our other areas of responsibility do too!
Questions To Ponder
Can you think of anything you do that needs consistency?
Is consistency not always a good thing?
Do we need some spontaneous interactions and emotions too?
Let us know your experience with it.
Read the other blogs in our three-part series on consistency:
Part 2: Consistency Matters! (in Technology)
Part 3: Consistency Leads to Great Hiring
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