Why Building a Culture of Empowerment Matters for 7 FP&A Teams

We all now understand that we can be just as effective and efficient working remotely as being physically inside of a building. This opens up a whole nother ball game for FP&A teams and leaders to promote a culture of empowerment—where people have more autonomy, greater learning opportunities, and a clear runway to make business decisions.

Promoting that culture of empowerment creates a direct avenue to creating a learning culture. With all of the changes and challenges that are happening in 2020, FP&A teams need to feel empowered with decision-making more than ever before to get through the year. And, FP&A leaders need to lead with empathy.

These FP&A teams weighed in on the importance of building a culture of empowerment. See how they are finding success this year by focusing more on learning, collaboration, and empathy.

Future Success Begins with a Culture of Empowerment

Terry Ndifuanja
Director of Finance
Save the Children International

Culture is a core component of every society. Besides its intrinsic value, culture lays the foundation of all social and economic benefits.

Achieving dynamic visibility during the pandemic moments requires a dynamic FP&A decision-making process, cross-functional collaboration, and strong business partnering. In my view, acceptance—and the future success of the strategic and operational plan—begins with a culture of empowerment.

The Need for Front-Line Empowerment

Danny Bharat
VP Finance NTD & VP Planning Analytics
American Tire Distributors

In an environment that is ever more complex and uncertain, traditional command and control become an anchor. Businesses need to optimize globally and think long-term, but business units need to win locally today and respond to this ever-changing business environment.

Balancing these often-conflicting needs isn’t easy. The best lessons can be learned from an unexpected source. Contrary to the stereotype, military planners have always recognized the need for front-line empowerment.

The concept of “Commanders Intent” is about describing what success looks like. The intent is not to prescribe but rather to empower teams to improvise in response to the changing battlefield requirements. Search for “Strategic Corporal” on the web and you will find examples and rationale for why often the lowest ranking and youngest leaders must be empowered to think for themselves and act.

Distributing Authority and Inspiring Accountability

Terrell Turner CPA
Finance Leader
TL TurnerGroup

To effectively adapt to new changes caused by 2020 challenges, the FP&A team needs to have a plan for enhancing their non-technical skill set.

In this new world, FP&A must:

  • Develop stronger internal relationships.
  • Communicate strategic implications effectively.
  • Foster a higher level of confidence.
  • Inspire a greater sense of accountability across the entire business.

All these changes will require FP&A to focus on a greater sense of empowerment of others by having clear objectives, proper context, relevant milestones, more congruent self-service tools, and more distributed decision-making authority.

None of us know exactly what to expect in 2020. And no one person or group can manage the business and uncertainty alone. We must embrace changes and focus on empowering others if we are going to be successful in this new world.

Empowerment Needs to Be Lived Out

Abby Obomighie
Head of FP&A
Hitachi Europe

Building a culture of empowerment within any FP&A team is key to building good FBP (Finance Business Partners) who offer their services to drive the business and performance.

Organizations don’t get results by focusing on results only—they must focus on the environment that produces the results. FP&A operates in this space to focus beyond the numbers, beyond the books, beyond what is presented.

Empowerment needs to be built within any FP&A team and people need to know the goal. People perish because of a lack of vision. To empower requires tenacity, leadership, honesty, a growth mindset, and trust. Empowerment has to be lived out.

More Agility, Minimized Risks, and Improved Decision-Making

Tejas Parikh
Founder/Director
Akshar Business Consulting

Empowerment at various levels of organizations is essential, especially in the “new normal” context, where the modern workforce increasingly expects flexibility to work from home and an improved work-life balance. The modern workforce wants a culture where they are trusted to utilize their time resource in the best mix possible, while being professionally responsible.

A culture of empowerment is increasingly important as FP&A teams look to enhance their softer skills like communication, influencing, and business partnering skills. Empowering the FP&A professional enables them to go out and try their newly acquired skills within the business environment.

A culture of empowerment:

  • Enables the business to be more agile in a fast-changing current environment.
  • Helps the business maximize any opportunity that might present itself while minimizing risk as appropriate.
  • Allows the business to better leverage knowledge from all levels within the organization, which improves decision-making thereby adding value to the business.

More Loyalty, Productivity, and Positivity

Desiree Gonzalez
Vice President, Finance
Hope Media Group

FP&A professionals need to go beyond sensitivity analysis and embrace “scenario-planning.” If we’ve learned anything from working remotely during the pandemic it is that we must trust and empower our staff.

Creating a culture of empowerment is critical to the success of a team, the organization, and the employees. When employees are empowered, there is a higher tendency of loyalty to the organization, greater productivity, and a positive response to change.

But one of my favorite benefits of an empowered culture? When someone feels valued, and sees the growth they accomplished through empowerment.

Provide Opportunities and Inspiration to Lead FP&A Teams

Hector Rubalcava
Finance Manager & Business Partner
Amtrak

Building a strong culture of empowerment can completely transform an organization from various financial and non-financial directions, resulting in numerous internal and external benefits.

For companies to be financially sustainable and get the best out of their employees, they not only need to supply them with resources, skills, and authority. Companies must also provide opportunities, motivation, and inspiration for FP&A teams to lead the organizational victory.

It’s important for finance leaders to help team members:

  • Find their passions.
  • Become more curious about learning new business processes, tools, and concepts.
  • Sponsor innovation and creativity as a discipline.
  • Promote an agile mindset of continuous improvement.

Leaders must see all of these initiatives through, while endorsing a culture of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. In the end, it has been proven that empowerment makes employees more loyal and satisfied, makes customers happier, and makes organizations more profitable.

At Collectiv, we believe in the importance of building a culture of empowerment for FP&A teams. Sign up for our FP&A Visioning Program.

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