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Navigating Uncertain Times: How CFOs Can Lead with Resilience

In this era of paradox, where some businesses contemplate downsizing while others grapple with hiring for critical roles, today’s CFOs must simultaneously play offense and defense. They need to strike a balance between right-sizing and staying agile while retaining and recruiting essential talent to seize opportunities amid change.

One notable approach to fostering adaptability and recognizing opportunities in times of disruption is by establishing a culture of transparency. Companies like meQ have embraced this strategy, publishing annual goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) organization-wide. These goals are readily accessible on the company intranet, and individual and departmental objectives are aligned with these overarching goals. On a quarterly basis, company-wide performance is reviewed, using a straightforward “stoplight” chart to indicate progress, potential risks, and areas requiring proactive attention.

Strategic CFOs are well aware that, in times of disruption, the ability to gauge the resilience of their workforce and predict potential workforce risks is the key to success. Resilience is no longer just about determination and grit; it’s about the capacity to handle adversity, withstand shocks, and continuously adapt and thrive amidst ongoing disruptions and crises. Fortunately, resilience can be quantified, learned, and scaled through digital tools such as interactive lessons, activities, and readings designed to instill new habits and ways of thinking.

CFOs can lead their organizations through uncertain times by focusing on three crucial aspects:

Predict with Data

Prediction is the bedrock of resilient growth. Predictive data empowers CFOs to detect disruptions, gauge their impact, and formulate suitable responses. This data is essential for creating awareness across the C-suite and inspiring action to build a more resilient workforce. Predictive People Analytics (PPA), which leverages data, algorithms, and historical analysis, can help organizations predict burnout, stress, performance, and well-being.

Prioritize Resilience Training and Mental Well-being

Research shows that roughly half of employees lack the resilience skills needed to thrive in a volatile environment. People with low resilience are more susceptible to burnout, depression, and anxiety, making them less productive and more likely to quit. Highly resilient individuals exhibit better emotional regulation, impulse control, self-efficacy, empathy, and more. Personalized digital resilience training can address well-being issues before they impact performance, making initiatives like Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and virtual care options crucial for employee well-being.

Prepare the Workforce for Growth

Preparation entails equipping employees with the skills and mindset for growth. This includes empowering them to embrace change and tackle challenges. To achieve this, it’s not enough to focus solely on physical well-being; we must delve into psychological basics, particularly a growth mindset and psychological safety.

Takeaways

Resilient workers can recognize and rectify unproductive thought patterns while maintaining an optimistic outlook, making resilience the solution for fostering a flourishing workforce in a volatile and disruptive climate.

In times of uncertainty, the differentiator between organizations that thrive and those that stagnate is resilience. To succeed in a rapidly changing and disruptive environment, both organizations and their employees must embrace and cultivate resilience. Balancing short-term and long-term strategies is at the core of the CFO’s role, and building a resilient workforce is the linchpin to achieving these objectives.

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