The CFO on my team has a quirk that drives me nuts.

Dear Nicole,

The CFO on my team has a quirk that drives me nuts. He is good at what he does, but often shows up to meetings late and opts not to attend important meetings. The other direct reports are starting to resent having to be on time and at meetings. Help!

- Mr. Planter

My Quick Read: Your CFO is not getting real value out of the meetings – getting information and getting value from the information is not the same thing. Wise executives proactively manage their time and other people’s time too. It sounds like she/he is trying to do that; however, it looks like she/he is not communicating upfront about how she/he is doing it, and that’s creating the rub.

Hello Mr. Planter,

The good news is this is a communication issue. The bad news is they are all communication issues.

So here’s an easy guide to use for creating dialogue around it:

  • Have a conversation with the CFO to get clear on what is going on.
    • Guide for conversation
      • Open with observation - "I noticed that you opted out of the last meeting..."
      • Ask probing questions to understand her/his perspective – “What’s going on?”, “what’s the upside/downside of not attending?”
      • Manage expectations about what will change going forward –
          • lay out your expectations about how you want to see this handled so it isn’t perceived negatively by others on the team - “showing up late to meetings isn’t being respectful of other people’s time”
          • Bring it up at the next meeting with the rest of the team to help them reframe their concern. “As CEO, I recognize that in our culture proactively managing your time (e.g. “opting out” of meetings) is not seen as a positive thing, but I would like to change that …”

        In closing, release the need to come up with a solution that works for everyone all by yourself. The more involved they are in coming up with a working solution, the more invested they will be in making it work.

        Happy Leading,

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” –Marianne Williamson