Grant Fitz, Chief Financial Officer at EFI, joins Megan Weis to share his best insights regarding a thriving financial leadership style, the role of a CFO, and the importance of diversity in leadership.
Grant brings nearly thirty years of experience overseeing accounting, business support, and financial planning and analysis in the print marketing, tech, and automotive fields at companies such as Valassis, Xerox, Nexteer Automotive, and General Motors.
In July 2019, Siris Capital purchased EFI, and Fitz was brought in to significantly improve its financial performance and prepare the company for an exit strategy in the future.
Grant oversees the financial and information technology operations for EFI and supports the development of sound business strategies, strong internal controls, financial discipline, and integrity.
Megan: Today my guest is Grant Fitz. Grant is the Chief Financial Officer for Electronics For Imaging, EFI, headquartered in Fremont, California. EFI was purchased by Serious Capital in July 2019 and shortly after Grant was brought in to significantly improve EFI's financial performance to prepare the company for an exit strategy in the future. Grant oversees the financial and information technology operations for EFI and supports the development of sound business strategies, strong internal controls, financial discipline, and integrity. He has also been instrumental in restructuring the company due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has resulted in both revenue and profit growth.
Prior to EFI, Grant was the CFO for Valassis Communications Incorporated, a privately owned $2 billion technology-driven media company. During his time at Valassis, Fitz was able to create enterprise value by growing the business in key segments. With over 14 acquisitions as well as through organic growth efforts leveraging data and analytics to create high-return integrated digital and print offers which also improved the overall cost competitiveness of Valassis.
During this time, Grant was also a board member of Blink Charging, a public technology company. Before Valassis, Grant was the Chief Financial Officer of Xerox's $12.5 billion technology business and the president of Xerox Financial Services. He was named to this position and appointed a corporate Vice President and Officer of the Xerox Corporation in April 2013. While at Xerox, Grant led a comprehensive business turnaround which drove over $850 million in efficiency savings and generated the highest profit levels and profit margins for Xerox over the past 15 years.
Prior to joining Xerox, Grant spent more than 20 years at General Motors where he held multiple positions with increasing responsibility, including being the first Chief Risk Officer at GM supporting GM CEO and senior leadership team with a focus to create a competitive advantage through mitigating the company's key risks. Grant was also the Chief Financial Officer of GM Powertrain Europe, where he led the finance operations for a $5 billion company with 9,500 employees, seven manufacturing plants, three joint ventures, and five engineering centers.
Grant also worked as the general director of General Motors' internal audit team where he led the internal audit operations for GM's global automotive operations. He held various other leadership roles in GM in both Europe and the United States including being the finance lead for the GM Fiat Alliance which generated over $1 billion of synergies.
Grant received a Bachelors of Science and Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Master's of Business Administration from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. Grant, thank you so much for joining me on today's episode.
Grant: Well, thank you, Megan. It's a pleasure to be here on an early Monday morning.
Megan: Today, we're gonna be discussing your career journey and the insights you've gathered along the way, specifically regarding the role of a CFO and a bit about the importance of diversity in leadership. I'm really looking forward to hearing from you today and learning about your story. Let's get started.
Grant: Okay, great.
Megan: As always, let's start with you and your career journey and how it is that you ended up where you are right now.
Grant: Sounds good. It's an interesting path because to be open, I never planned on being in finance. I originally started out as an engineer working in General Motors. Really was loving the work that I was doing there. I was working in manufacturing at the time. GM had a really great program at the time that was a fellowship program. They ended up sending me for my master's as part of my career development. Through that, I just fell in love with finance through the MBA program.
As a result, I came back to GM after getting my MBA and asked to go into finance and they were really gracious about it and got me into finance, working as a plant controller of all things in Taiwan and New York. That's where it all started and from there, I just moved forward and just have had a great career working in many different industries and for many great leaders and companies throughout that time.
Megan: I hear, obviously, talking to CFOs all the time, but there's so many of them these days that actually came from an engineering background. It's always interesting to me, how do you feel like that background maybe makes you a better CFO?
Grant: It's funny because the things I learned in two places, one is just the engineering discipline of problem-solving and dealing with issues and doing it in a very straightforward manner, disciplined manner. It applies to any part of business and it's just been so key with that. The other piece was this, although it maybe wasn't as necessarily manufacture engineering but working in a manufacturing environment very young in my career, very early in my career, in a heavily unionized environment, it was just a great experience because it really taught me about how do you work with people at all levels.
How do you ensure that you've motivating individuals, and we're all working towards the same goals. That was just something that has stayed with me ever since and I often find that the things that I do today are no different than when I was starting out early in my career. The problems are just a little bit bigger, but the same process follows it. A lot of the things that I do really haven't changed in terms of the approach because they're just trying to choose methods that work.
Megan: As you look back on your career, are there turning points throughout your career that you can point to as this is really what made me who I am today?
Grant: Yes, great question. There are a lot of turning points. I would say that if you were to look at what I originally plotted out many years ago in terms of what I wanted to do with finance and my career progression, it would look completely different than what I actually ended up doing in my career. Probably one of the defining moments for me was when I had an opportunity to go over to work in Europe and really had my first CFO job for a small company over there. I ended up living in Europe for about 10 years.
During that time, it was the first time that you can really start to see that the decisions that you make and the things that you're plotting for the strategy of the company, and the business going forward, you can start to see those really coming through. That was a key defining moment for me and just recognizing how exciting it can be to be in finance and help to drive the business and really partner with the business.
Megan: Throughout your career, you served under some very strong female leaders. First, tell us what that was like, and second, I'd love to know how that shaped your own leadership style?
Grant: Sure. It is interesting, I don't know if it was just by chance or how it's happened to work but I've worked for some really strong female leaders in my career as you mentioned. One was, certainly Ursula Burns who was the first African American CEO of a major Fortune 500 company. I also had a chance to work with Mary Barra, who's now the CEO of General Motors, and also had a great opportunity to work with Kathy Mickells who was my boss when she was the CFO at Xerox.
I think the thing that stands out to me on that is that because of that exposure, I never really thought of them as female leaders if I could say that. It might sound a little bit strange, but certainly, they were very strong team leaders but you really started to view them as just very strong leaders and just having that opportunity to work with three individuals of that caliber was something really, really important in my life as I looked at my career development.
The other piece that was interesting is one of those leaders actually, one of their children was on the same soccer team as my son growing up. I would see that person at the sidelines every Saturday, every game during the week. I just really learned somebody who's one of the most powerful business leaders in the world was taking the time out to really find that balance with their family and to do the things that they need to do with their family. I just thought that was so encouraging to see that and just to recognize that it is about having the right balance and just because you might be strong in business, you do well in business, that's not necessarily always what defines you as being successful in life.
Megan: How do you feel like the experience has shaped your own leadership style?
Grant: It's probably been more interesting in terms of just thinking about it from a diversity standpoint of really learning about looking at different points of view and recognizing that people's backgrounds bring a different opportunity to look at problems differently, or to look at issues differently. The fact that I've had an opportunity to have more interactions with some female leadership has probably shaped me to be more receptive to thinking about ways that people might approach the business differently.
I think part of that is also the opportunity that I had to work as well in Europe for 10 years and learning that just the typical way of doing things that I might have learned through growing up in the US didn't always work the same way as when I lived overseas.
I think accumulation of all those different experiences have really just opened my eyes that I get amazed at no matter how many times I go into meetings thinking I have the right answer coming out just humbled by the fact that it's not the right answer but somebody had a much better idea and a much better way of thinking about things. Just recognizing that there are people collectively can come up with some great solutions to things. It's has been probably the best experience for me.
Megan: It's amazing to me that you've been able, or that you've had an opportunity to work under three such strong leaders. Most people will never get an opportunity to work under one so [chuckles] it's interesting to hear how that.
Grant: No, it is. To be very balanced here, I've had some really successful male leaders as well too and probably one of the bigger ones who's been a great mentor is just Luca Maestri who's now the CFO of Apple. All those people who just really help to shape who you are and ideally if you do things well, you help to pass on the same thing to others that are earlier in their careers as you work with them.
Megan: It sounds like diversity has been or has played a big part in your career.
Grant: Without question, definitely.
Megan: Let's talk about your current organization, EFI. What is it that they do?
Grant: Electronics For Imaging is basically a technology company that is privately held. It's owned by Sears Capital which is just a fantastic private equity company to work with who is all about creating value. EFI has been a leader in the print industry in really helping to transform it and bring it forward for digital printing.
Essentially, you can think of it as when you go and receive something in the mail or through a delivery, a package box that might have all different types of colors, it may even be personalized with your name on it, we're the company that makes the printers that can produce those vibrant images. Really help to bring out things that can uplift brands and help to drive better ROI for the customers that need those boxes to help sell their products. That's one of the key things we do.
We also make these printers that-- These big slides that you would see at stadiums, things of that nature, we're the ones that provide those printers. Even in the textile industry, just the color that comes through on your textiles and your fabrics, we do that. Building materials with all the colorful floors and tiles now. They're all printed on equipment that we manufacture.
Then we certainly provide- we had a software company that we've recently sold that helped to support the improved deficiencies with the printing process and managing the print operations. We also have a company in our headquarters in Fremont California that basically does, it's called Fiery, that does a lot of the color management for some of the big OEM copier companies that are out there that you use in your office and other print shops around the world.
Megan: Sounds like you guys are doing some pretty cool stuff.
Grant: It's been fun. I love technology and it goes back to being an engineer. That's really one of the big reasons why I joined is because they're very much a technology leader and driven by technology.
Megan: How long ago did you join EFI?
Grant: It's been probably about two and a half years now.
Megan: Right at the start of the pandemic?
Grant: Yes. It was very interesting. Exactly.
Megan: What are your proudest achievements since joining?
Grant: It's been a whirlwind since I joined EFI because of two things. When you typically get bought by a private equity company, they have a business plan that they want to implement and it typically drives a lot of transformation, but the nice thing is its transformation for EFI was a transformation on things that really needed to be done to help drive the business forward to be more competitive, but also to really drive the innovation development cycle much stronger as well too.
I spent the first several months working on that and really had a good foundation with the whole transformation plans that we were doing. Then COVID hit and suddenly just like that overnight your revenue drops 30% and you're trying to figure out what do we do. It was so great to see the team at EFI come together during that situation. We really what I would say is weathered the storm. You heard that term many times in the press but really get through the issues so that we basically didn't miss a beat when it came to profitability in spite of lower revenues really continued to drive profit growth.
More importantly, we made a conscious decision to double down on engineering investments so that we were really ready when the pandemic started to break, then we would have some new products coming out that could just really help to lead the industry. That's what's happened now because we've been introducing new products as we've gone forward and it's really just hit the right cadence for the business to help continue what EFI has been known for a long time which is just innovation and driving new business in the industry that wasn't there before.
Megan: You started your career with big public companies and today you're working for a private equity-backed company. What was that transition like?
Grant: It's interesting. I had always wanted to work in private equity at least with one assignment in my career. I did that because I spent a lot of time as you mentioned in big public companies and spent a great deal of time just understanding that whole process and what it takes and how do you drive the business forward.
I always had felt that there was some fundamental problems with a public company approach in that one was speed to be able to make decisions and to move forward and to not be focused as much on just the quarterly results. I thought it would be always interesting to just work in a privately held company where you didn't have necessarily all those constraints on you on quarterly earnings and just the whole process of a model that might be burdened a little bit in terms of slowing down decisions.
I did it and I would say that it's been really quite great because when you have a strong partner who's really focused on generating value, you can make decisions very quickly and you can move and really be much more nimble in the marketplace and be able to address issues when they come up.
I've enjoyed that quite a bit, but both of them have their issues in terms of the business model. They're pluses and minuses and I don't think one's better than the other, but I wanted to experience both. I've done that and been really pleasantly surprised with just how smooth the transition has gone.
Megan: Do you have any advice for other CFOs who are possibly considering making that jump?
Grant: I think in the end, it's all about what you want to do with yourself individually and with your career and your development. I would say that going into a public environment and then into a private is probably a little bit easier than maybe going from private into public. I think that just my personal view is it probably helps prepare you a little bit more for the transition if you've had public experience first.
In the end, I've always been a firm believer that your gut is your best instinct when it comes to these types of decisions. You just listen to what you really think is the right move and from my standpoint, it's all about creating value. What I get excited about is where can I create the most value? Where do I have the opportunity to create the most value? Whether it's public or private, it doesn't matter. I think it's more about what that next opportunity is and just, is it something that really excites you and that you make a big difference.
Megan: You mentioned the speed at which you guys are putting out new products. A few months ago, you guys put out a game-changing digital printer for the packaging industry. Talk to me about the process of putting out a new product and what CFOs should be considering before that launch.
Grant: Sure, so this probably bends a little bit on or relies a little bit on some of my background coming out of the auto industry, becaus putting out a vehicle into the marketplace in the auto industry is extremely complex. You can just think of all the thousands of parts that you have, all the safety issues, all the reliability, quality issues. To do that flawlessly and to do it where you're talking about defects per million is really quite a quite an accomplishment.
I think from my standpoint, you have to be perfect at all phases of the product introduction. You have to have technology, honestly, it's probably the key issue on making sure that you're making the right investments in the right technology and that it's really going to be a game changer when you think about it in terms of the investments that you've made in the industry.
That's why you do that, but you have to be able to execute. I don't think that sometimes finance gets involved as much as they should on being able to help drive the business to execute better. Having things like dashboards and tracking systems, the right approach with quality systems and development processes, those are all the infrastructure that needs to be there. What I often use the term industrial strength processes that really will stand the test of time and help can help deliver projects on time and on budget and with the right technology.
I think it's important to have that discipline and to be able to go to your engineering leader, go to your technology leader and say, "Where are you at in the development cycle? What's going on with this?" Making sure that they're doing their things upfront so that when the product does launch, it's not going to have a problem. It's not going to be an issue where customers are going to say great technology, but it doesn't work so it really doesn't help me.
It's that full cycle of having a really strong process not only with the technology development but also with being able to launch it and then clearly go to market as a key piece. Just the campaigns that you want to have working with your marketing teams and your sales team on how they're going to really market this and go to market because in the end, it is there to drive more revenue. You want to make sure that we're ready with the right approach to do that.
Megan: I'm just curious, are you Six Sigma trained?
Grant: I'm not technically Six Sigma trained, but early in my career, I worked very extensively in quality management at General Motors. I had a chance to work with an individual by the name of Dr. Deming, who was one of the founding fathers of the whole quality movement. Literally helped the Japanese auto industry get to where it is today through his quality approach and processes and systems. That was a really you talk about a defining moment. It was one of those things where to work with somebody of that caliber and of that impact on the world really was quite quite astonishing and was very, very educational for me. I just learned a massive amount from him.
Megan: Yes, I'm sure as someone with significant financial and operational experience, what's your best advice for CFOs who are new to the game?
Grant: I'm a very curious and inquisitive person. I love to learn new things. I think that I view it as a balance of a lot of different things. First and foremost is just being very inquisitive and just asking questions. Don't being afraid to ask questions that you might think you don't know or you should know the answer on, excuse me and people are going to thank you.
Why is he asking that question? I just found so many times when I ask these questions that I think are so basic that you realize that the question is pretty fundamental in terms of where the organization is at on something and what they're doing, and why are they doing that. I think that you just having that inquisitive nature is really important for a successful CFO. With that being said, having a good balance of what I would call the technical skills, certainly, you need to have those. Whether it's the accounting, finance corporate finance capabilities, having that is really important.
I would say the area of internal controls and financial reporting, just recognizing that that is so critical as a foundation is something that I think a lot of new CFOs that haven't had a chance to maybe work as an external auditor or to work in intro audit sometimes have blind spots. They don't realize that you need to have a real you need to spend time with your team periodically looking at account reconciliations and things like that. Just some very basic things to make sure that the organization is doing the right thing and are working on the right right areas.
It's that balance of being strategic, and also being very operationally and execution-focused that I think you need to develop, and find out what works for you because everybody's different. Those are things that I just try to make sure I'm carving out time to work on in all these areas versus just focusing on one area and then having something else that doesn't go right because I wasn't paying attention to it.
Megan: That's great advice. When you were at GM, you were their first chief risk officer. Tell me about that experience, and what went into the process of being the first and how did, how did you shape that role starting from ground zero?
Grant: Yes, that was a really interesting role. Essentially I had been before General Motors went in, went through his bankruptcy, which was learning to experience in and of itself. I had a chance to work at in the internal audit area and was running GM's automotive, internal audit operations.
We started to do some audits that were maybe a little bit more business focused on things like, what are some of the big risks that could really impact General Motors and what would happen if these things occur and are we prepared? There was just some questioning marks on why are we doing that at maybe some pushback along the way. Then when some of these big risks did occur and essentially the company did go bankrupt, people recognized that, some of the leaders.
When we brought in when General Motors had a new CEO, Dan Ackerman who came in and basically was at a very strong risk management mindset, my name came up. He asked me to become the first chief risk officer because of some of that earlier work. Just the whole approach on risk from a holistic standpoint and so it was very simple. Dan was very direct in visual, but he basically said the "We're in a boat and I want you to be able to tell me when the iceberg is 10 miles out so that we can steer away, and you avoid it." He was a ex-Naval academy veteran and used a little bit more salty language, but you got the point pretty quickly.
We had a great opportunity to put down what I would say is a blank sheet of paper of how we really wanted to approach risk. I used some outside consultants and some other experts, and we basically put in place an approach where we identified the key risks in the company. We had all of the business leaders were assigned some of those key risks to go work on mitigation and to start to deal with issues.
When it started to get some attention is when things like the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster that happened I guess probably about 15 years from now, it's showing my age a little bit. The company had already exercised some disaster recovery things and it was in a well position to really manage through that crisis. Or when there was a time that gas prices suddenly shout out through a global crisis the company had already thought through what do we do in case the prices rise again, and what some of the marketing campaigns we want to do and things of that nature.
I view risk management as being able to exercise the muscles that we may not normally use, but when these things really do happen and they won't always happen the way you think they'll happen, there'll be one or two at the same time that are a little bit different. You've already exercised. You've got that muscle memory as an organization to be able to react and to respond to it quickly. It becomes real competitive advantage because of the agility that it creates versus just trying to wait and see what happened and are things going to get better.
Even at EFI, that was my-- One thing we picked up on the COVID crisis in early December 2019 that we started to see that this was something that could be really big. By March in 2020, when the crisis really started to hit the US, we were already implementing actions that we could take to manage through that crisis and were fundamental in our ability to really do very well throughout the whole pandemic.
Megan: Yes, it sounds like that must have been an amazing learning experience.
Grant: It really was, and sometimes had I not being an expert was actually a benefit because it gave you a chance to think about things differently versus then just what maybe somebody who's been so focus in one area, just brings a different thought process, which I've always thought has has been a little bit interesting as well, too.
Megan: That's a great segue into the next question. The world today is obviously very unpredictable. What advice would you give to CFOs to improve their financial planning and analysis processes?
Grant: Yes, I think so a couple things that today is a really hard time to predict on what's going to happen. Probably one of the most difficult times in terms of just so many mixed messages that are out there in terms of where the economy's going and what's happening. I think the majority of people would certainly say that things are probably moving towards closer to a recession. Although certainly, I think the US is still little ways away from that.
There's also a lot of really positive signs that are out there. Demand is really strong, still just a lot of activity and corporate earnings will see how the QC results come in, but for the most part, corporate earnings have continued to stay very strong. Which I think is a really good bellwether test as well, too, where the economy's going. When we get into this type of environment where it could be you could see things continue to do well in your industry, or it could really go south very quickly.
I think it's important to have models to have thought through different scenarios and really to be scenario-based in terms of your planning process and to have-- This might be what we think is going to happen, but here's what I would call, I often use the term, just the envelope of possibilities. We could end up in a really severe economic situation in our industry. This is what it would look like and these are the things that we would need to do to, to work through that or we could end up in a continued expansion opportunity that could really drive great business growth for us in our industry and how do we want to deal with that as well, too. It's having that in your pocket, the scenarios I think is important.
The other thing that I think is really key particularly and I know technology, there's a lot of things about automation and things of that nature within finance, but I think the modeling of having different models that can drive to where you see the business going is also important. No model that I've ever worked with has been right. It's always had its flaws and it's always had its issues, but when you have models that have been developed, it might be coming from a couple of different perspectives.
To me, it's always been interesting to really triangulate on why is this model telling me this. The other one's telling me that is, it makes you start to think about the business and what's going on. It really fits in well with the scenarios planning and that to me is really critical is just to be ready for different scenarios, because it is such an uncertain time right now.
Megan: Are there any tools or technologies that you're using for dashboarding or modeling? Just any tools or technologies that are helping to make your life easier?
Grant: Yes, a couple things here and I'm not by any means, that the poster child for CFO, using the best technologies and things like that. What I've learned in my career is, and I think it's really important today more than ever, is making sure that you have some really strong data analytics type of capability within the company. Having some people that really understand the data sets and the databases, and can manage through the data and make sure that it's the data's in a good spot and you have what I call the golden source of data that everybody relies on and one source of truth, essentially.
We don't have multiple pieces of data out there, but having that in place and having the capability to really manage through that data in the analytics, I think is just fundamental before you start to get into all the dashboarding and things of that nature.
We've put in some capabilities that we didn't have before, to work through our data, brought in some real data experts on some things. We're starting to see the benefits now where we've really had started to automate our dashboards with real-time data and just using that to help to start to make business decisions much faster and much more quickly. We do have the benefit of being on one ERP, so that's great within the company. It's the first time I've ever had that in my career. That's been fantastic that really can help enable that.
With that, we definitely are working on more areas for automation and opportunities within finance, but within the business as well, too. That's the next area that we've really have started to look at is picking processes, working on automation and leveraging that within our finance team. That's the journey that we're on. I would say, there's so many good tools out there right now to help support that. It's really something that it gets a little bit hard sometimes to select, which is the best tool, but talking to your peers and getting their insight on what they're using and what works well for them, I think is a really key thing too, for people that are starting this journey.
Megan: What advice do you have for CFOs looking to drive strategic value to grow revenue and margin?
Grant: Yes, I think it's all starts again about my comment, about being curious about the business and you need to know your business and your industry. That's something that is really important. There's more and more, and it's grown over time, as I've seen it is that the CFO role has become the really effective CFOs are really ones that are true partners with the business. In order to be a partner with the business, you really need to understand the business and know the business and know the business and learn about the business.
I think that when you start to get that value where you can really be at the table and be providing some good input on strategies and ideas, that's really when you become, you start to be very effective on how helping to grow revenue and in margins.
One of the areas that I think in general, CFOs have not been as strong on is just the whole go-to-market and the sales organization and really driving the understanding of how to go to market and understanding, marketing campaigns and returns and where you want to make those investments. Those are really some key areas that I think that you can make an impact right away with your business. Including even compensation systems for sales and organizations and start to grow revenue and margin.
It is about knowing the business, it's about knowing the product, knowing what technology you have and where your competition is, so that you can be ahead of them. That says just being a good business savvy individual and that's what the CEOs are looking for as a partner, somebody that they can really help to drive these things that that can create value.
Megan: Yes. Your answer and many other answers that always reminds me of the show Undercover Boss, where the boss would go spend a day on the floor, living a day in the life of the employees.
Grant: Yes. I tell you every job I've gone to, one of the first places I go is to the R&D team. I remember when I went to Xerox where I was the CFO, what's now the standalone Xerox Company. One of the first places I went to was out was to park in California, just understand what technology is out there and what there is that can really be game-changing in terms of the business.
I did the same thing at EFI and I just think getting that time, and it's not easy when you're starting out, because you've got so many competing interests for learning about the business and the financials and, heaven forbid. you got a quarterly earnings call and in a month that are two weeks or a day and you got to learn all the financials overnight. If you don't carve out that time to learn about the business, it's going to take you a few steps longer to get to where you want to be as a true partner.
Megan: Lastly, as a CFO, what's keeping you up at night right now?
Grant: Well, we've probably already talked about I, the economy right now is just really an issue and so much of it driven by supply chain issues right now. Supply chain is what's really keeping me up at night and working through that. It'll be interesting to see a few years from now, how the models have changed with supply chain because it seems like every time we go through one of these supply chain shocks, everybody talks about, well, we need to do things differently and maybe do more dual sourcing, and things of that nature, but then there's a lull of several years and people go back to the same habits.
Now companies are facing the problems that are there again. I think that fundamentally as CFOs, we need to be taking lessons from this and making sure that we're really thinking about how do we deal with these things, not when they're happening, but really prepared for them before they happen so that we can work through these much more easily than maybe what other companies are dealing with. Supply chain is definitely front center and, hopefully, we see things easy enough at some point, but I don't think that's going to be going away anytime soon. I think we're going to be dealing with some issues. Probably well through next year.
Megan: Grant, thank you so much for being my guest today.
Grant: Well, thank you as well, too, Megan. It was a pleasure to talk with you and, hopefully, this would provided some insight for some of my peers. If anybody has any questions, don't be afraid to reach out on LinkedIn. I'd be happy to connect with any of the finance community to help them along this journey.
Megan: That's great. I've really enjoyed speaking with you and hearing about your experiences. It sounds like they've given you some wonderful insights.
Grant: Without question. Thank you.
Megan: To all of our listeners, please tune in next week. Until then, take care.
In this episode, we discuss shaping the personal leadership style, transitioning from public to private sector, what should CFOs consider when launching a new product, tips and advice for CFO newbies, amongst other exciting topics.
Shaping the Personal and Thriving Financial Leadership Style
Throughout his career, Grant worked with strong female leaders, which helped him develop his leadership style by treating business problems and opportunities from a diversity standpoint.
“Having more interactions with some female leaders has probably shaped me to be more receptive to thinking about ways to approach the business differently”.
From Public to Private
Grant believes that moving from public to private companies is easier than vice versa as it helps you prepare for the transition better. But it comes down to your ambitions and finding the opportunity to create the most value.
“Your gut is your best when it comes to these types of decisions”.
Launching a New Product
When bringing a new product to the market, make beneficial investments in the right technology and be able to execute and help drive the business by setting up quality systems and development processes. But you also should collaborate with the marketing and sales teams.
“From my standpoint, you have to be perfect at all phases of the product introduction”.
Tips and Advice for CFO Newbies Looking to Cultivate a Thriving Financial Leadership Style
If you are new to the game, you should be curious, constantly learn new things and ask questions. You also need good technical skills in accounting, finance, financial reporting, and even auditing. Lastly, find the balance between being strategic and operationally focused.
“Having that inquisitive nature is really important for a successful CFO”.
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