The CFO As Champion Of Change

Submitted By horeto754
Words: 7805
Pages: 32

The CFO as Champion of Change
E xc e r p t e d fro m

Reinventing the CFO:
How Financial Managers Can Transform Their Roles and Add Greater Value

Jeremy Hope
Buy the book:
Barnes & Noble

Harvard Business Press
Boston, Massachusetts

ISBN-13: 978-1-4221-4107-6


Copyright 2009 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
This chapter was originally published as chapter 7 of Reinventing the CFO:
How Financial Managers Can Transform Their Roles and Add Greater Value, copyright 2006 Jeremy Hope.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior permission of the publisher. Requests for permission should be directed to, or mailed to Permissions,
Harvard Business School Publishing, 60 Harvard Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02163.
You can purchase Harvard Business Press books at booksellers worldwide.You can order Harvard
Business Press books and book chapters online at, or by calling 888-500-1016 or, outside the U.S. and Canada, 617-783-7410.


The CFO as
of Change
Changing something implies not just learning something new but unlearning something that is already there and possibly in the way. What most learning theories and models overlook are the dynamics of unlearning, of overcoming resistance to change. They assume that if you can just get a clear enough vision of a positive future, this is motivation enough to get new learning started.
—Edgar Schein, The Corporate Culture Survival Guide


transforming the finance operation and performance management practices is invariably the responsibility of the finance team led by the CFO.
Though there are many books on the art of change management as well as consultants peddling panaceas, it is not an easy path to follow. Parachuting best practices from one organization into another is not easy, nor is it usually effective. How effective change is implemented varies from one organization to the next.

2 reinventing the cfo

For instance, some want a consultant’s report to rubber stamp in the boardroom while others prefer to go it alone and learn as they go. The context for change also varies significantly. For example, there are more constraints in the public than private sectors, and private companies can usually move faster than public companies
(with fewer stakeholders to convince).
The change management formula we discussed briefly in the introduction serves as a reliable guide to the prospects of success.
It makes the point that successful change is the outcome of three factors: D ǂ V ǂ F > R (where D = dissatisfaction, V = vision, F = first steps, and R = resistance to change) and that all the first three variables must be in evidence in sufficient strength to overcome the resistance to change.
This chapter will look at this transformation journey through the prism of actual practice. It will draw on the experiences of a number of organizations, including the World Bank, Tomkins,
American Express, Unilever, and others. It also sets out some milestones to look out for. It will suggest that the CFO needs to:
• Make a compelling case for change
• Set some directional goals and get started
• Gain the support of key people
• Involve operating people in the change process
• Avoid more complexity
• Show some early wins
• Be patient but maintain the momentum

Make a Compelling Case for Change
The case for transforming finance begins within the finance operation itself and extends to its business partners. Let’s start with finance. How many of your team have worked overtime in the

The CFO as Champion of Change 3

past three months? How many