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Treasurers must avoid building an echo chamber

Given the heightened interest of boards, CEOs and CFOs in cash and liquidity management, as well as payment security and risk management, there is a unique opportunity for corporate treasury professionals to build and leverage their expertise, skills and perspectives in these areas for the benefit of their organizations and for advancing their careers.

Excelling as a treasurer requires a distinct strategy and mindset across multiple domains. The Guide to Excellence in Treasury eBook by CTMfile and Strategic Treasurer, a leading treasury consulting firm,* provides valuable insights on a range of topics. It discusses important steps for the new treasurer, leading practices for securing resources, approaching technology intentionally, taking ownership of cash, working capital and payment security, building and developing the treasury team, overcoming blind spots and more.

With treasurers facing myriad challenges over the past three years, spotting and overcoming blind spots is important. If left unaddressed or unchecked, blind spots can lead to disastrous consequences for the entire organization.

Overcome blind spots: avoid the echo chamber, seek feedback, and balance strengths and weaknesses

Treasurers should make a deliberate and continual effort to overcome their blind spots. This entails identifying strengths and weaknesses, making the most of the strengths, and balancing out the weaknesses both on their treasury team and in their own skillset, the Guide to Excellence in Treasury eBook recommends.

“Blind spots are especially difficult to find out when you have only your own perspective to rely on”, cautions the eBook.

What should treasurers do to see past their limiting viewpoint or opinion?

The eBook suggests that this requires “Going against the dictates of comfort as you build your team, valuing diverse perspectives and avoiding the temptation to build an echo chamber.”

Many treasurers, when hiring staff, are drawn to similarity-based recruitment; in other words, they prefer recruiting people with similar backgrounds and skillsets, selecting candidates based on how much they have in common with them. This may mean that they gather a treasury team where team members are likely to be on the same page, but it will also tend “To construct an echo chamber and impair depth perception”, which will only reinforce the blind spots and make them harder to detect.

To avoid this, the eBook advocates that “Treasurers should intentionally seek to surround themselves with a team whose backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives vary. Certainly, team members need to work well together and should all be oriented towards organizational and departmental priorities, but it’s vital to have those whose perspectives allow them to spot your blind spots, question the status quo, and suggest alternative routes.”

Avoiding an echo chamber is the first hurdle to overcome; listening to differing viewpoints is the important next step. It is crucial for treasurers to seriously consider the perspectives of others on their team or outside of it, even if they don’t agree with them entirely.

Besides remaining open to the opinions and ideas of others, if you wish to excel as a treasurer, you will need to actively seek out feedback, as per the eBook.

“This can be uncomfortable, and at times, the feedback one receives is inapplicable. Often, it is wise to refrain from fully responding to feedback – especially personal feedback – in the moment. Instead, take some time to think it through and perhaps begin working on the issue that was brought to your attention before deciding whether the feedback was accurate or not”, advises the eBook.

The third element of rooting out blind spots is balancing the treasury professional’s strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing strengths is important for utilizing them effectively. However, it’s crucial not to rely solely on them or to identify weaknesses simply to avoid positions that demand unattained skills.

The goal of the treasury executive is to gradually attain a more balanced position in terms of his or her strengths and weaknesses. “For example, introverts are skilled at thinking things through on their own. They should leverage this skill to best effect – but they should also step out of their comfort zone from time to time and challenge themselves with more extroverted tasks. Similarly, extroverts should balance leveraging their strengths with pushing themselves to perform some introverted tasks at times”, counsels the eBook.

Moreover, the eBook suggests, it is important to use feedback and self-reflection to identify your areas of weakness and to use them as opportunities to “challenge yourself and build up strength in those weaker areas.” Such improvements won’t happen overnight, so focus on gradual and consistent progress over time.

To conclude, in a rapidly changing business environment, treasury is transitioning from being reactive to proactive, growing in influence, and taking on a more advisory role to the board.

So “whether you’re aiming to become a treasurer, have just landed the job, or have held the position for years but are still seeking ways to improve and grow”, The Guide to Excellence in Treasury eBook offers discerning advice and ideas that will expand your knowledge and hone your skills, enabling you to add value to the treasury team and make better decisions to help you and your organization thrive.

To download the Guide to Excellence in Treasury eBook, click here

To listen to the Guide to Excellence in Treasury audiobook, click here

To watch the video version of the Guide to Excellence in Treasury, click here


 ⃰ Disclosure: Strategic Treasurer owns CTMfile.

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