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In Life, Problems Are a Feature…Not a Bug

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” — Theodore Isaac Rubin From time to time we…
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stand out as a cfo

Standing Out as a CFO

Going beyond the conventional wisdom. Approach the job differently. “The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely…
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goals

Expectations vs. Reality

Balancing Striving with Acceptance “..for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so..”   – Hamlet, Act II, Scene II   The Reality: We Plan and…
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enjoyment

Now or Later?

Should I Maximize Current Enjoyment or Optimize for the Future? The Paradox of Abundance — Having to Choose All the Time We live in a world with abundance. What people…
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Prioritize Fulfillment to Achieve Success

“Don’t just be the best. Be the only.” — Kevin Kelly (heard during an interview with Tim Ferriss) We strive for both fulfillment and success. In our personal and professional…
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Contract Terms that ???? and ???? CFOs

Benchmarks for what to Avoid, what is Acceptable, and what is Ideal. You’ve just closed a big new client or firmed up that large renewal and shared the news on…
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success

Rethinking the Meaning of Success

Moving from ‘What We Have’ to ‘Who We Are’ and ‘How We Feel’ “He is a wise man who does not grieve for things which he has not, but rejoices…
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Anything Worth Knowing is Complicated

We all would benefit from seeing nuance and complexity in the world. Nothing worth knowing is ever simple enough to summarize in a few sentences or 30 seconds of video. …
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Thoughts on Motivation: When Things Don’t Seem To Be Going Well

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” — Viktor E. Frankl (Man’s Search for Meaning) Would you like to feel motivated…
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selling to the cfo

Selling to the CFO

Convince them that New Initiatives are worth the risk and better than the status quo. “The biggest risk in the world is not taking any risk. In a world that…
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control

Lessons from Vacation: Control, both an Illusion and really Important

A definition of ‘Control’: “the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.” I really value being in control. Or at least the feeling of having…
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business metrics

Selecting Metrics to Track Business Performance

“That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” – Karl Pearson As modern humans we love to measure things. We measure so that we know how…
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learning

It’s Hard Work to Keep Learning

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”  — Henry…
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visionary, strategist, doer

The Visionary, the Doer, and the Strategist

The optimal mix of leadership skills in building a successful company. “omne trium perfectum” —Latin saying translated as “Everything that comes in threes is perfect.”  (This post was inspired by…
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motivation

I Don’t Feel Like Doing Any Work

Thoughts on Getting Your Motivation Back “We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it.”  – We’re Going on a Bear…
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We Can’t Be Good at Everything

Acknowledging and accepting that we will miss the mark and often not perform at an optimal level. How would you rank your experience with our product / service today? I’m…
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Do You Want to Hire a ‘Head of’, ‘VP’ or ‘C-Level’?

“There are really three parts of this question of the right people. The first is the right people on the bus. Second is the wrong people off the bus. But…
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Explore vs. Exploit

“Should I Stay or Should I Go” — The Clash (1982) Trade-offs are hard. The question of how to choose between the thing one knows and a potentially better unknown…
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Thriving, Not Just Surviving

How Leaders can help Employees with Morale, Resilience, Wellbeing and Happiness “I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.” – The Dalia Lama, speaking to…
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board meeting

Thoughts on Preparing for a Board Meeting

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” — Brandon Sanderson (science fiction and fantasy writer)  …
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AI and computers

Humans Collaborating With or At Odds With Computers?

Reducing the Risk of ‘Being Replaced’ “Compassion: that’s the one thing no machine ever had. Maybe it’s the one thing that keeps men ahead of them.” — Dr. McCoy, The…
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Fathers and Sons

“There is no friendship, no love, like that of the parent for the child.” — Henry Ward Beecher Dates are filled with meaning and memories. Social media adds even more…
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innovation and finance

Innovation and Finance

Redefining the Role of the Finance Leader “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” — Wayne Gretzky   Innovation and finance. Those two words…
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framing

Framing: Leadership Involves Helping People See the World in New and Different Ways

“…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” — William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2, Scene II It’s March, which means NCAA Basketball Tournament time.  I…
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Thinking Versus Doing

Doing is celebrated. Thinking is underrated. Encourage thinking time on your teams. “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” — Voltaire   This is one of the…
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meltdown of SVB

Reflections on the 48 Hour Meltdown of SVB

A business school case study in the making. This past Thursday morning, SVB‘s balance sheet strength was not top of mind. When I got wind of what was going on,…
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fractional work

Fractional Work: The Pros & Cons from the Perspective of the Worker

“I don’t like work–no man does–but I like what is in the work–the chance to find yourself. Your own reality–for yourself not for others…” ― Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness…
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international women's day

Everyday Woman

International Women’s Day is Wednesday, March 8th, a global day focused on driving gender parity. We celebrate the achievements of women and the positive influence they’ve had while striving further…
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qofe quality of earnings

Value Depends on Quality

For businesses, it is the quality of revenues and earnings that matter. “Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” — Steve Jobs…
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inner critic, pug in a blanket

The Inner Critic: Acknowledging, Accepting, and Taming It

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh (I initially wrote…
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technology, do things that don't scale

Do Things That Don’t Scale

Changing the Approach to Work with the Advent of AI Tools “You do not want to compete, you want to be a market of one.”  “Spend your time doing only…
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new opportunity

How to Increase Your Odds of Landing the Gig

Picture this scenario… You are really hoping to land a new opportunity that you’ve been working on. Maybe it’s a new client for your business; or maybe a new job…
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quitting your job

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

The idea that success stems from never giving up is a core part of our culture. It is embedded in the wisdom of those we revere as heroes and role…
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authenticity

Authenticity and Its Place at Work

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of comedy specials on Netflix. Aiming to add a little levity to my evenings after work. (In case anyone is curious, some of my favorites…
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professional vision

Revisiting Your Professional Vision for 2023 and Beyond

Have you been forced to find a new job due to downsizing? Are you unsatisfied in your current role? Is your work not intellectually challenging and rewarding? Do you have…
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leadership skills, cubes, man

Leadership Skills: Important Yet Often Overlooked Attributes

I’ve been reflecting on the characteristics of leaders, whom I define (somewhat broadly) as anyone who leads an entire function in an organization.  The descriptors most often associated with leaders…
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setting goals, new year resolutions

Principles for Setting Goals for 2023

Happy New Year! Early January is the time for reflecting on the past year and planning for the new year. The types of questions I have typically asked myself include:…
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managing upwards yin yang professional person

Managing Upwards: Standing Up to Your Boss

I recently had conversations about the CEO <> CFO relationship with two clients (at very different stages in their scale and growth.) The common thread was that CFOs need to…
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Tell Your Story With a Positive Spin

‘How could things be different?’  When you hear that question, what thoughts occur to you? Most people offer ideas about what could be better and improved. Rarely do they talk…
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financial story, financial presentation

Tell the Financial Story with Greater Impact

Great leaders are skilled communicators. They ensure that their audience leaves a meeting being able to succinctly recite the important learnings. Skilled communicators reinforce a few key points — ideally…
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Build leadership skills

3 Ways to Build Leadership Skills

There is no single ‘correct’ definition of good leadership. In my experience, good leadership comes in whatever form the individual acting the part of the leader decides to take (consciously…
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4 Strategies to Retain Your Employees During The Great Resignation

In today’s COVID-impacted world of work, being a great manager and being able to retain your employees is more important than ever and harder than ever. “To lead people, walk…
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balance

Finding Your ‘Right’ Balance of Progress and Appreciation

Progress feels great. I would rather walk slowly than be stuck in heavy traffic in a car or a taxi. I want to keep moving forward. Often when I find…
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finance leader

The Role of the Finance Leader in Start-Ups

“Grow faster (than you have forecast) and burn less cash.” This is my one-liner on the key take-away from every start-up board meeting. The role of the finance leader can…
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How to analyze financial statements

How to Analyze Financial Statements: Part 2

How to analyze financial statements and make sense of the data “Data! data! data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.” — Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of…
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How to Understand Financial Statements: Part 1

How to understand financial statements. An introduction for those not trained in finance or accounting. All organizations (for-profit businesses and non-profit entities) undertake two primary activities: Raise capital from investors;…
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Importance of disconnecting

The Importance of Disconnecting From Your Routine

The Importance of Disconnecting From Your Routine   “I like camping…not all of it, just most of it. It’s a lot harder to make our food and we have to…
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Low employee engagement

Employee Engagement and Retention: The Overlooked Execution Risk

Low Employee Engagement and Retention is a Business Risk “I never worry about action, but only about inaction.” — Winston Churchill Finding and retaining good talent was always hard and…
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Covid Changes to Workplace Status

How COVID Redefined Status Markers in the Workplace

TL; DR (The Summary) Manifesting personal status and identifying our own status relative to others is a critical element of social existence. We signal status to others through goods (things…
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Career 3.0

What is the Career 3.0 Approach to the Professional Journey?

What is Career 3.0?   “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same as making a ‘life’.” — Maya Angelou   Much of the career advice I read…
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How Community and Giving Back Can Multiply the Power of Your Network

“Give and you shall receive, much more than you would have ever thought possible…No one has ever become poor from giving!” — Anne Frank   A key motivator in my…
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10 Empowering Tips to Become the Leader You’ve Always Wanted to Work For

What does it take to become the leader you’ve always wanted to work for? “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you…
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extend runway

How to Extend Runway in a Difficult Market Environment

Start-Up Founders Know the Destination but Not the Path to Get There Specific Steps That Will Help Extend Runway in a Difficult Market Environment   “If current revenue growth trends…
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reduce friction

Why You Should Invest Time in Diagnosing and Reducing Friction Points

There are two paths to achieving the growth goal — adding fuel and reducing friction.   TL: DR We all want to keep growing in life. Growth feels good. The…
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Combating Burnout

16 Practical Tips To Combat Burnout for Employees, Managers, and Employers

Many individuals, managers, and employers are seeking ways to successfully combat burnout. After a recent Journey CxO Cohort Group session, member Nikki Katsutani sent a thoughtful list of follow-up questions,…
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Why Efficiency Based Goals Are Good For Business

Efficiency based goals is how we tend to run our personal financial lives, and today I’ll share why I recommend them for business as well. ‘Do more with less.’ These…
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finance leadership

Characteristics of a Great Finance Leader

Given the environment today, I thought it a good time to revisit and discuss the characteristics of a great finance leader. Revenue growth and employee growth are much less sexy…
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finance leaders

A Guide for Finance Leaders Managing Businesses in the Current Economic Environment

Learnings from my Interactions with Entrepreneurs and Investors A year ago (mid-2021) investors and founders/CEOs were focused on the first five items on the timeline above. Today (mid-2022) the three…
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business acumen

Enhancing Business Acumen

Business Acumen, sometimes called being “Strategic” or displaying “Executive-Level Thinking,” is a phrase found in many job descriptions for managers and leaders. Business Acumen: The under-appreciated skill in business that…
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professional journey

Navigating the Professional Journey: Embrace Change

There is a small minority of people (~20%) who know exactly what they want to do and pursue it with joy and satisfaction from early adulthood onwards. For most of…
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BALANCE SUCCESS AND FULFILLMENT: JOURNEY CxO IS YOUR GUIDE TO THE CAREER YOU WANT.

Success = comforts, achievement, recognition, status, financial wealth

Fulfillment = meaning, purpose, a sense of worthwhile accomplishment