I have just been appointed Finance Director in one of my clients business’.
As their business grows it has become clear that they need my input in a higher level capacity as well as in the operational/ getting things done role that I’ve been carrying out so far.
Recently I have found an article by Sir Anthony Seldon, the retiring headmaster at Wellington College, about his advice to his successor on taking over his role. While this talks about running a school I think it is actually pretty relevant to taking over a leadership role in any team.
The main points were:
1. Praise and Build
Dont make changes just for the sake of it. First you should look to understand the status quo and the people so that you only change the things that need to be changed!
2. Be your own person
You need to introduce new ideas rather than impose them, but if the changes are for the good of the organisation rather than your own ego you’ve got a good chance of success.
3. Do your thinking in advance
Once you get started there’s no time to stand back and reflect so you need to understand your own plan for what you want to achieve in place at the outset.
4. Enjoy Yourself
Its far too easy to get bogged down and lost in procedures and office politics.
Don’t let yourself be sidetracked by other peoples’ agendas.
5. Trust your judgement
You will never have the same opportunity again, so don’t end up with regrets that you didn’t do what you wanted to do.
This month I am celebrating 3 years of working independently as a management accountant.
It’s been an interesting journey over this time. When I started out I knew all the accounting things that I was good at, I knew the bits I wanted to do and the accounting things I really didn’t want to get involved in, but I didn’t really know if anyone else was interested in me doing that for them.
So I’ve been on a steep learning curve. Most notably, in the beginning I thought that I had worked for a small business before – my first job inside a company was with a software business that turned over £10 million a year in the UK alone, which was small compared to where I was working immediately before and after!
My first client turned over a little more than £1 million a year – I soon learned that the real world looked very different and exactly what “small business” meant.
Luckily while I was working with that business I was advised that you should plan for a new business venture to take at least 3 years to get established. The lady who told me this wasn’t interested in professional services; she was running shops, but the advice has proved spookily true. In the last 12 months I have finally worked out what works for me and my clients, and I feel (touch wood) that things have settled into a comfortable rhythm that I can build on.
All my clients are great individuals. My kind of work involves giving advice face to face about sometimes delicate issues so it’s vital that we have a trusting relationship and get on on a personal level. This in turn makes the work even more satisfying.
Hopefully the next 3 years will be even better!