The finance team play a key part in shaping the direction and future growth of an organisation. Building and developing a high-performing team is therefore integral to any successful business.
Like with any successful team, there are many different aspects that make up a high-performing finance team. To create an effective and successful team requires members to communicate well, work together towards the agreed goal and execute their role effectively.
So as a finance leader, how can you achieve this?
1. Personality types
Having the right balance of personality types is a crucial and common aspect to the making of any effective team. When hiring in your finance team, it’s crucial to not only look for a certain skill set but you are hiring a diversity of personalities. Too many of one personality type can create a negative impact on the potential and success of your team.
Here are 4 examples of personality types that are integral to a high achieving finance team:
- The Idealist: A positive thinker with big ideas, focusing on the future and the next project. They enjoy creating a vision of what is to come for the company
- The Realist: Often practically minded, they can deal well in a variety of situations. They are strong-minded, independent and bring ideas back down to reality
- The Creative Thinker: Thinking out the box is their strength. Approaching situations from an alternative angle that others may not think to do. This can generate new and alternative ideas
- The Facilitator: They like to get things done. Highly organised, they take a selected idea and begin to plan on how to action and accomplish them. Delegating and keeping the team on track is one of their strengths.
To ensure you are hiring a balanced team, it’s worth considering and implementing personality testing at the interview stage for any future hires. It’s also beneficial to complete a personality testing exercise as a team so you can all understand and respect each other’s personality types. How do they complement each other and what are the strengths and weaknesses that come with these?
2. Communicate your team’s sense of purpose
“Start with the end in mind”, is the second habit stated in Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. How can you relate this to your finance team? The key to this habit is knowing your purpose and what you are trying to achieve. As a leader of a team, you should be working with your employees to answer the following questions:
- What is the purpose of what we are trying to achieve?
- What outcomes do we want?
- Why are these outcomes important/valuable?
- Why are we about to do what we are about to do?
By asking yourself these questions as a team and brainstorming collaboratively will result in everyone having a better sense of purpose and direction. This undoubtedly will encourage teamwork and improve motivation levels which will result in a more effective and engaged team.
3. Personal Development
Personal development is a great way to engage and increase productivity amongst your employees. Investing in your team member’s personal development is crucial. It will provide them with the opportunity to grow within the company and ultimately produce better results.
To facilitate personal development, it is essential you invest time in providing ongoing constructive feedback to everyone within your team. Feedback should not be in the form of a box ticking exercise to follow company protocol e.g., formal appraisals. Ideas as to how you can invest in an individual’s personal development include diarising weekly one on ones. It is important in these meetings, to communicate that there will be time specifically allocated for you as a leader to constructively feedback and for them to feedback to you. As a business, you could also offer coaching and mentoring programs within your company. This should help to facilitate business-wide goal setting and productivity.
4. Succession planning
A succession plan can make or break the future of your team’s performance. The well known saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” sums up the importance of implementing a succession plan into your team.
To create a succession plan, you need to develop and identify the future leaders who will likely replace those in the above positions. By communicating that you have identified an employee as a future leader will help to retain your best performing team members. These employees will understand where their next internal career move may be and how they can get there. Boosting motivation levels and ultimately productivity. Equally, being able to demonstrate how quickly employees have progressed internally to external finance professionals, will help to attract the best finance talent in the market.
5. Hiring based on aspirations
When recruiting new talent into the team, it is imperative that you invest time at the interview stage digging deep into the candidate’s motivations and aspirations. This is key to ensuring you have the right balance of ambition within the team.
Before starting the hiring process, it is important to ask yourself, what are the current dynamics of your team? This will help you to assess what aspiration levels of an individual you actively want to hire to align with your team’s goals and future succession plan. As an example, if you already have 2 team members who are seeking fast-track progression into an FD role, do you need a third?
To assess this at interview, a few key questions you can ask include:
- What are your future career goals and when do you plan to do to achieve them?
- What are you looking for in your next position?
- In what way does this position align with your professional goals?
- What do you do to achieve your professional goals?
If the candidate’s goals and aspirations align with your team and company aspirations, then that is a big tick in the box. If the aspirations do not align, as impressed as you may be at the interview, it is unlikely that they are a compatible match for your team.
Building a high-performance finance team is a difficult task with lots of different elements to think about. There is no right, or wrong answer and each leader needs to adapt their own style to help improve effectiveness and productivity. However, by continually considering these different aspects will help you to retain and form a more successful and engaged team.
If you are looking for further advice on the above or want a consultation with one of our Directors on your existing finance structure and succession plan or your employee attraction and retention methods, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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