How do you create a proper leadership development plan?
Apply the B Inspired Me3 approach to your finance development plan.
Me3 = Adding Mentoring to the development process of Experience, Exposure and Education.
Mentoring is vital for finance professionals in today’s corporate environment. You can do things the hard way and learn everything on your own, or you can receive valuable advice from those who have hard earned lessons they can teach you. Mentors also act as a sounding board for ideas that you might have, a free way of testing your thoughts in a safe environment. We always suggest having a mentor both inside of finance and to give you a more rounded perspective, outside of finance as well. Broaden your view of the organization and open up potential opportunities for yourself in the future. Having a cross organization perspective will improve your business knowledge and contribute to your finance business partnering development.
Experience: We don’t develop in our careers in finance without experiencing things firsthand. For development and learning opportunities this will also involve figuring out ways to expand your experiences. Find a cross-functional project, fill in for your manager when they are on vacation, ask to take on an initiative for your team in a leadership capacity. The idea is true development doesn’t happen by showing up to work and performing the same tasks day in and day out. Find a way to broaden your experiences within your role and you’ll be adding to your development in a positive way.
Exposure: This is a critical development area in finance focused on recognition of your value to the organization throughout different levels of management and cross functionally. Have a step level 1:1 with your manager’s manager. Participate in a management meeting that your manager can’t make and represent your team. Ask respectfully to present to a group you normally don’t have exposure to. Win an award that the organization gets to see you collect. Have an idea presented up through management that they know has come from you. The general focus is to ensure your manager isn’t the only one responsible for creating and improving your brand, because the only one that truly owns your brand is you.
Education: The good and bad news is that education is a development area that isn’t overlooked very often. We all look for courses when filling out our annual review. We look for technical courses in our area or skill-based courses if it will directly help us perform. The bad news in my opinion is areas such as Emotional Intelligence (EQ) development are often overlooked in the finance profession, not to mention the specific development plans around Exposure and Education. It’s amazing to me that in the high stressed environments that exist today that EQ is rarely seen as a core skill for people to develop. How to best manage yourself and the relationships around you impacts every worker in the corporate world today, and yet how many people have had the opportunity to improve this skill? Find a good education plan that fits your career development, but please make sure you expand your thinking to include improvements to your mental approach as well. Your biggest challenge will be creating time to hop off the finance hamster wheel as it cycles through quarter ends and plan cycles to take the time to work on your personal development. Invest in yourself, you are worth it.