Change is inevitable after any presidential election, but never has that been more true than it is today. The president-elect and his incoming administration will bring about new policies, laws and regulations, many of which are sure to impact the business financially. And while the finance department is no stranger to change, the current climate of uncertainty following a tumultuous election challenges CFOs to set a tone of stability and unity.
In her article, Post-Election Advice for CFOs: Keep Calm and Carry On, Kristine Brands warns: “Don’t allow uncertainty to disrupt your organization . . . Until there are specifics, rely on your proven resources and processes for decision making.”
In other words, continue to trust your people to do what is right for the business. They were here before the election and will help you navigate changes when they do come. Making drastic changes in anticipation of what may come will only increase the uncertainty and create a culture of distrust.
Until you better understand forthcoming changes, Brands advises CFOs to “[f]oster an environment of open communication by listening to your employees and stakeholders about their concerns, and reassure them that you value their ideas and contributions. Host the conversations to let them know that your organization is a safe space for everyone. To move forward, focus on building a strong team that leverages diversity of thought and promotes inclusiveness.”
The ability for CFOs and team members to see each other face-to-face is necessary to promote inclusiveness and foster that environment of communication. When you can’t get together in person, a video call enables CFOs to make eye contact with everyone on the call so that no one feels excluded. An enterprise-grade solution also provides noise cancelling technology that works to negate presence disparity and help everyone to feel like they are in the same room. This is key when remote workers already feel isolated and disconnected from the group.
Discussions about a new administration and the changes on the horizon are bound to stir up emotional responses. Because leaders can see everyone on a video call, they can read expressions to identify who may have concerns but is not sharing them verbally. Video also allows CFOs to diffuse emotions or opinions to focus on the tactical impact to the business without invalidating opinions.
The ability to meet face-to-face regardless of everyone’s location will also prove to be beneficial when it comes time to implement changes. “As Trump’s policies come into focus, create ad hoc teams to address and respond to new policies and economic developments,” writes Brands. “For example, corporate tax and financial regulatory compliance reforms were key campaign themes that may benefit your organization. Prepare a plan to identify and prioritize the impact of the issues on your organization; the experts and resources necessary to research them; and the protocols to develop processes, policies, and procedures to facilitate implementation.”
These important discussions require clear and effective communications. Therefore, everyone should be able to quickly and easily connect via video, whether for an ad-hoc one-on-one call or for a pre-determined conference call. They should also be able to share content in real-time. This will save everyone time and potential frustration as they reduce the number of emails going back and forth while working through the nuances of a plan.
Of course, preparing plans to respond to change will reduce the amount of time your team has to work on existing projects. While CFOs should be careful not to introduce unnecessary change, they should consider how they can improve existing processes to increase productivity and help employees be more effective.
Brands writes, “Take a fresh and hard look at your organization by looking at it through a different lens. Is your organization doing things because that’s the way they have always been done before or because that’s the best way?”
Change is inevitable, and when it’s significant, imminent, and often emotionally-charged, fostering a collaborative environment within finance is the first step to adeptly navigating the business evolution. When you can’t sit in the same room, video offers an effective way to meet either one-on-one or as a group. CFOs who provide their teams with enterprise video capabilities can improve team productivity and the quality of their meetings while creating the inclusive atmosphere that will be key for success in 2017.