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CFOs: Extroverts vs. Introverts

Are CFOs introverts or extroverts? Does it matter?

This conversation started in the CFO forum on Linked In. I blogged about it (and added that blog post to Proformative) and it was the most-read story on SmartBrief for CFOs last week. I thought we could continue the discussion here. What are your thoughts? 

Reference URL: http://www.cfo-coach.com/2010/02/cfos-extroverts-or-introverts.html

Answers

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

One persons experience - very early on in my career I was subjected to the Myers Briggs test. At that time I was diagnosed as an "ENTJ." Later in my career I took the test again, and I did not change. For those that do not know - the first letter represents where I fall closer, i.e. Introvert or Extrovert. But if you have seen the test, the results are shown on a scale. Interestingly, I fall closer to the mid-point but on the Extrovert side. I reviewed your original posting (link) and comments.

CFO's in general fill multiple roles and these qualities have a place. For example -
-CFO's must speak with current and potential investors (extrovert qualities help);
-CFO's are Financial Analysts (introvert qualities help);
-CFO's facilitate change and work within groups (extrovert qualities help)...

In the end I believe it is what you are asked to achieve/accomplish, as a CFO vs. the actual title, which will impact your success.

On a different note - I am a "Leo" any meaning?

Great post. Thanks.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

I've got nothing on the Leo side, Regis.

I just recently read an article about the benefit of CFOs being introverts ... because they tend to be better listeners than their extroverted counterparts. That said, I don't think being an "I" cripples a finance executive nor do I think an "E" gives them any leverage. It would ONLY be if the CFO was abnormally shy, socially handicapped, or a numbers person to the exclusion of talking to anyone that a problem arises. And those are not introversion issues, but something entirely different.

Thanks Regis. I always enjoy reading your insights.

Ken Mason
Title: Controller
Company: Pascua Yaqui Tribe
LinkedIn Profile
(Controller, Pascua Yaqui Tribe) |

I am very similar to Regis in that I tested ENTJ early in my career but more recently tested INTJ, but barely on the "I" side. I agree with the assessment that a bit of introversion helps with focus on the detailed analytical work while extroversion is an asset with the "people" aspects of the role. I enjoy digging in and reconstructing accounts for the intellectual challenge but the real reward is sitting down with program heads, providing them financial results they can trust and collaborating to build a brighter future for the organization.

On the lighter side, I am a Cancer but have five planets in Leo, including Mercury, which astrological sorts associate with communication. A sun in Leo or my chart would both suggest extroversion if the planets indeed ruled our natures. :)

Topic Expert
Dana Price
Title: Vice President, M&A
Company: McGraw Hill Education
(Vice President, M&A, McGraw Hill Education) |

I agree you have to be both, and a good CFO knows when to be E or I at the right time.

I am consistently ESTP on Briggs and a very strong "E" on the Briggs test. The reason I am so "E" is probably my M&A background and the fact that I was often the only woman in the room. I think our experiences and situations we end up in have an impact on our E or I. I guess being so E is better than being a strong D in DISC training. Does that help your Leo issue any Regis?

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

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So true, Dana!

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