Larry Fink’s Sense of Purpose: 3 Key Takeaways for today’s CFO

December 2, 2019

A Carlyle Round table Discussion

Carlyle recently welcomed CFOs from a diverse range of industries to engage in a round table discussion around Larry Fink’s letter to CEOs – closing out our 2019 CFO dinner series.

Larry Fink claims that, “without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private can achieve its full potential.” In line with the evolving role of CFOs as leaders, Fink raises questions such as: What role do we play in the community? How are we managing our impact on the environment? Are we working to create a diverse workforce? Are we adapting to technological change?

These questions stimulated thought-provoking outcomes from guests, specifically as to how applicable they can be to CFO’s in businesses across all sectors.

1.     It’s not just our employees who are asking about “purpose”

Modern CFOs have seen a trend in 2019 where the importance of “purpose” now comes from the customer as well as the employee. This demonstrates a shift in the needs of today’s customers and clients. CFOs must address these to remain competitive in their sector.

2.     Greater “Sense of Purpose” in UK compared to the US

CFOs who have spent a considerable length of time working in both the UK and US markets found that the UK market places far greater emphasis on finding “purpose” and “meaning” in their work than their US counterparts.

3.     The next generation are driving the “purpose” agenda

The up and coming generation and future CFO leaders demonstrate a greater focus on purpose, sustainability and personal development in their careers than their predecessors. This is evident from recent new-hires and graduates entering the workplace who highlight purpose as early as their first interview. This indicates a clear direction of travel for finance leaders and where their focus will lie in their roles; pointing towards more purpose-oriented leadership styles and focus in future organisations.

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