Risk of Familiarity

I was once part of a leadership team that consisted mostly of men, athletic boys that grew up to be senior managers & partners.

I use to bring up risks, ideas, thoughts - about our current state, about our strategy, about our team and about the competition.

But I didn’t always get heard. A co-worker understood what I was trying to say and more than once after trying to drill it into the senior leadership he was able to swoop in and give a sports analogy that hit home and the message was finely clear. If you say it with a hockey story all of a sudden it’s relatable.

I was grateful it was heard because it was the message and the team I was concerned about, not fanfare. I found it funny and only reassured me that all the time I spend as a hockey mom and ball mom would benefit my boys someday.

This is not a post about gender or feminism!

This is just one example of the risk of familiarity. We understand and we are magnetically pulled by the familiar. In this case, it was sports. On my kids sports teams, it’s the players that the coach has taught year after year and season after season. At the restaurant it’s the tried and true dish. In our relationships, it’s the bad habits of taking each other for granted and not being deliberate with our attention, our time and our communication. It’s normal. It’s human nature. One way or the other we all do it, unconsciously and sometimes with self-awareness.

There is some good that comes from this -

shared values, simplicity, less energy on decision making. After all we allow what we value to become familiar. We want the good to earn that spot in our unconscious mind & heart.

There’s some obvious risk too. The art of the possible, the new automation and technologies, inclusion, diversity of thought are all often absent within the circle of familiarity. Our ideas bounce back and reassure us - made worse in today’s world of algorithms, talk news and social media.

Finding the balance between the familiar & ensuring you don’t get stuck in your echo-chamber or silo or little world is a constant challenge. Challenging our comfort zone is a challenge.

If you want to grow, you have to change & challenge the status-quo. In fact, if you want stability, you also have to change. When does an organization’s change and growth need a finance leader that isn’t just familiar? When do you need a CFO/Controller and not just the familiar or status quo (a bookkeeper or tax expert)?

When is the familiar holding up the possible? When have you outgrown what made you successful to begin with?

When it comes to small and medium business it’s common to avoid investment in finance & accounting. It’s common to stick with the familiar. It’s common to not recognize what business partnering from a finance leader could bring to your journey of growth.

We believe if you are growing as an organization, you benefit from a #financeleader. To learn more about #cfoservices, #businessadvisors & #connectors, be in touch.

 

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