The What-If? Leader

How do you balance revenue, risk and corporate level strategy?

Head of Finance for Americas at SITA and former CFO at Leadercast, Harihar Subramanian, discusses the balancing act between supporting strategic vision and prioritizing organizational investments. In his CFO role, Harihar identifies necessary risks within the organization, taking the approach of being a "What-If? Manager" -- asking questions and describing potential scenarios that provide his team with the best analyses to manage growth, resources, revenue, and business investments. Discover how you can encourage team building and mitigate risk while supporting your organization's strategic vision.
The relationship between a CEO and a CFO is a very, very critical component for an organization. Interesting, again is, trust comes in absolutely number one. Credibility comes number two, and then everything else is after that. I've had a couple of managers with whom I've worked in the past. It's taken some time. Trust doesn't come overnight. It takes some amount of time for it to come. I spent about two and a half years in Australia, and I had a general manager there, and we started off on a rough note. Not negatively, but it's just that we were trying to find a space, find comfort levels, and when we actually did, and we [inaudible 00:00:46] on certain commitments that I said I would. It definitely lifted the trust factor and the credibility factor. And then, the relationship completely changed. With any role of a CFO, all you're basically doing I mean numbers are one small piece of it. You're trying to be the eyes and the ears for the business to your CEO. You want to be the risk manager, if you will. You want to be a "What if" manager, literally. Everywhere you walk around, you're going to ask the questions, what if this happens? What if this does not happen? What if both of these things happen? And you've got to do the scenario analysis, and that's what a CFO effectively is, is there for to manage and mitigate the risk of the business. And then you partner with the business to say, "Okay, how do we strategically grow?" The CEO role is always a bit of on the front end. You've got to be up close and personal with the investors if you're a public company, with your shareholders. There are some CFOs who prefer to remain that way. But, business partnership, its trust, its credibility, and then everything else that goes along with the organization's come into play.

Harihar Subramanian

Harihar Subramanian is the Head of Finance for Americas at SITA and former Director of Finance for Phillips Electronics/India.

He was a member of the Philips Electronics team for 10 years, working in North America, India and...

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