"Managing your finance business partner relationships - you are not responsible for getting your stakeholders out of bed."
You are not responsible for them hitting their targets because you are nottheir mummy.Here’s how to avoid acting like you are.
Start off by looking at your relationships
Originally, when my wife, Claire, and I moved in together, Claire was a dawdle bum… she doesn't really like getting out of bed in the morning.
So initially, I saw it as myresponsibility to make sure she was up on time and out the door.
But then, of course, I just ended up pulling my hair out because I like to be up early and what not.
Then I was listening to a relationship coach, and they were talking about how in a relationship, one person can't assume that parent role.
Being responsible for their partner means that the relationship is not really on an even keel.
You need to be equal and be responsible for yourselves.
Applying this to Finance Business Partnering
And this got me thinking recently, when I was working with a coaching client.
They were talking about their business partner; for their sales numbers - they didn't really think that they were going to be able to hit their targets.
They had current products… those forecasts numbers were fine.
But it was the new products in development whose numbers and forecasts were very optimistic.
So therefore they didn't really want to present those numbers to senior management because they thought they were toooptimistic.
But who's responsibility is it?
What I had to say to them was: “you're not responsible for the salesperson hitting their targets.”
You're not responsible for that department.
Finance is there to coach and mentor them, but they're not responsible for the targets.
So then it became: well, how could we present the numbers differently?
Presenting the numbers differently
Here’s what we decided:
- Have your main sales number of existing products,
- Then have a secondary line of new products,
- And then you can add notes.
These numbers seem a little bit optimistic in the current climate, but what you're doing is:
- you're putting the responsibility onto your sales business partner to hit their targets, and,
- you're communicating to senior management where you think things might fall through.
Know your role
So why should you ensure that your stakeholders are taking responsibility for their targets?
Well first of all, it's because you can't really influence the sales numbers.
You can't go out and get customers to buy more products. It's not your role.
And secondly, the stress. We all have enough stress going on in our own roles, never mind trying to take on stress from somebody else's role.
Bringing it back to relationships
The same goes for your relationships at home.
If you're taking all the stress of trying to get someone else out of bed, well, haven't you already got enough going on in your own life?
It’s clear that if we are both responsible for ourselves, it would make life an awful lot easier.
So, folks, I would love to know, how do you ensure your business partners take responsibility for their own targets?