Leadership is critical to a financial recovery. A leader articulates a vision of what will be achieved through financial recovery. In addition, a leader demonstrates the behaviors and attitudes that are necessary to recover. He or she engages stakeholders in the recovery process and enables them to make meaningful contributions. A leader also makes tough decisions and keeps the recovery process on track and moving forward.
What if I’m the only one who thinks we need fiscal first aid?
Finance professionals and other senior leadership in an organization may have more access and a better understanding of some of the potential pitfalls facing an organization. If the need for fiscal first aid is not well known or easily articulated to a wider audience and organizational stakeholders, efforts need to be made by the finance professionals and/or leadership to help better communicate the challenges being faced.
To help determine next steps, consider:
- Why is the situation not better known by stakeholders? Lack of communication? Complexity of issue? Is situation as dire as perceived by those in the know?
- What are the consequences of delaying action?
- What information has been communicated to date? What potentially contradictory information has been communicated to date?
- Is there a probable solution to the issue? Is the issue evolving too rapidly to address at this point?
To help overcome the identified issues, senior leaders should create a two-way conversation about the situation. First, the need for fiscal first aid should be clearly articulated, laying out all the facts that led to the need in readily understandable terminology. Second, to better engage the stakeholders and community, stakeholder feedback should be readily integrated into these conversations to listen to stakeholder concerns, ideas, and perceptions of the situation at hand. Ask direct questions to elicit opinions if they aren’t being volunteered or if discussion is being dominated by a few individuals. Having a common definition an understanding of the problem is a key first step towards reaching a solution.