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10 Leadership & Self-Improvement Books for Finance Leaders (Part IV)

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Last week, we brought you a list of 10 popular leadership and self-improvement books that are of value for finance leaders such as yourself.

In a post-pandemic business environment that’s increasingly challenging, where can you find new ideas for adapting and overcoming the obstacles in the way of the growth and success of your business?

It’s always a solid idea to seek these insights from those that came before you, and have different perspectives that could provide fresh insights on tackling the issues before you.

After all, as a preeminent leader of our time would say,

Reading is important. If you know how to read, then the whole world opens up to you.

- Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America

 

We've put together another list of 10 popular leadership and self-improvement books that will give finance leaders like yourself some fresh new insights, and help prepare you for a world and business environment that’s so different from what came before.

To add these books to your to-do reading list, simply click on the link in each heading to learn more.

 

1. For Finance Leaders Keen To Learn From The Wisdom Of Others: Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Essential Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger

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“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up.”

That’s the advice of Charles T. Munger, the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and the right hand man of Warren Buffett himself, as found in Poor Charlie’s Almanack. First published in 2005, it’s a compendium of talks delivered by Munger between 1986 and 2007 which draws on Munger’s comprehensive knowledge of business, finance, history, philosophy, physics, and ethics.

As a finance leader, you’ll find practical tips that go beyond the domains of finance and investing, and give you guidance in navigating some of life’s toughest challenges.

2. For Finance Leaders Who Needs To Manage Conflict - Possible: How We Survive (and Thrive) in the Age of Conflict

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Conflict is a natural part of life, and is essential for growth and problem-solving. That is the argument of bestselling author and international negotiator William Ury, one of the world’s leading experts in conflict resolution.

With Possible, Ury draws on five decades of experience in negotiating conflicts around the world lay out a “path to possible” which provides consists of practical takeaways and time-tested-practices to help you engage and reshape conflict constructively, and navigate disagreements of any size.

As a finance leader, Possible can show you how to handle complex negotiations effectively, and navigate disagreements of any size between your direct reports or your colleagues to arrive at a satisfactory resolution for any conflict.

 

 3. For Women Finance Leaders Interested In The Stories Of Their Fellow Women - Women CFO Stories: 11 Global Leaders Who Lead By Example To Dream Big!

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Did you know that a growing number of CFOs are women? In fact, according to the Crist Kolder 2022 Volatility Report, 2022 saw a record number of women CFOs – even if they’re still massively under-represented in most news and media.

Nidhi Agarwal brings us a collection of career journeys from 11 of the most accomplished women CFOs around the world. It explores how these women have navigated the unique challenges and opportunities of being a woman in finance, and provides the insights and experiences they share on topics such as leadership, mentorship, work-life balance, and overcoming biases and barriers.

If you are a woman in a finance leadership role, you’ll learn much from the experiences of your fellow women finance leaders in Women CFO Stories, and be inspired to aspire for significant achievements in your career and navigate your professional journey with confidence.

 

4. For The Finance Leader Interested In Lean Management - The Lean CFO: Architect of the Lean Management System

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How can you evolve your role into that of a lean CFO, and transform your business’s management accounting system into an efficient lean management accounting system?

Nicholas S. Katko shows us how in The Lean CFO, which focuses on providing practical guidance for finance professionals like yourself in lean manufacturing environments, and addresses the challenge of adding value to operational managers.

It will show you how you can become a lean CFO by leading your business into developing and deploying a lean management system, and covers everything from lean accounting to performance measurement, strategic planning, and more.

 

5. For The Finance Leader Managing Remote Working Arrangements - Distributed Teams: The Art and Practice of Working Together While Physically Apart

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Though John O’Duinn first published Distributed Teams: The Art and Practice of Working Together While Physically Apart in 2018, the timing of its publication seems almost prescient considering what happened only a couple of years later.

Based on his 28 years of experience working in, leading, and coaching globally distributed organisations, O’Duinn shares his personal experiences and those of others to provide key lessons leaned about managing and collaborating from a distance.

In a post-COVID world where hybrid working arrangements remain commonplace, CFOs and finance leaders like yourself would be well-advised to learn and apply the lessons in this book to your own businesses.

 

6. For The Finance Leader Willing To Take A Risk - Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts

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Not every strategic decision you make in your capacity as a finance leader in your business will yield the best outcome every time. There’s always an element of luck you can’t control, and information that’s hidden from your view.

So how do you navigate such uncertainty when you have to make a decision on incomplete information? According to Annie Duke, the key is to think in terms of bets, just like a poker player would.

A former World Series of Poker champion turned business consultant, Duke draws on examples from business, sports, politics, and her expertise in poker games to share some tools you can use to embrace uncertainty and make better decisions. With Thinking in Bets, Duke want to help you be comfortable with the fact that great decisions don’t always lead to great outcomes, and conversely that bad decisions don’t always lead to bad outcomes.

 

7. For The Finance Leader Who Needs A Proven Approach To Decision-making - Principles

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For a proven, but no less innovative approach to decision-making as a finance leader, you can’t go wrong with Ray Dalio’s Principles.

In his book, Dalio – the founder of legendary hedge fund Bridgewater Associates - shares his unique approach to decision-making, and delves into how you can develop and apply a set of guiding principles for yourself in order to achieve success in your role. It comes with hundreds of practical lessons, all based around Dalio’s cornerstones of “radical truth” and “radical transparency”, which shows you the most effective ways of making decisions, approaching challenges and building strong teams.

While Principles has no lack of novel ideas, it also presents a clear, straightforward approach to decision-making that a finance leader like yourself can easily apply, whatever your objectives happen to be.

 

8. For The Finance Leader Who Wants To Cultivate Good Habits - Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones 

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Sometimes, it’s your habits that get in the way of you carrying out your responsibilities as a CFO or finance leader in your business effectively. And even if you want and/or have tried to break these detrimental habits, it’s probably easier said than done.

But James Clear, one of the world’s leading expert on habit formation, shows in Atomic Habits how the problem isn’t with you, but rather with the fact that you have the wrong system for change. And as such, the solution is to adopt a proven system instead that is effective in helping you create and maintain good habits, and gives you strategies for breaking bad ones.

With this book, you’ll learn how to make time for new habits, overcome lack of motivation and willpower, design your environment to make success easier, and get back on track when you fall off course. These will stand you in good stead not just in your role as CFO or finance leader, but also in your personal life.

 

9. For Finance Leaders Who Want To Transform, Not Just Digitise Their Businesses - Beyond Digital: How Great Leaders Transform Their Organizations and Shape the Future

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Digital transformation has become a necessity for every business and organisation in the modern, digital age of business. However, truly achieving this requires much more than just digitising your business; it requires a wholesale reshaping of its culture and way of doing things, which requires intentional leadership that only finance leaders like yourself can provide.

Mahadeva Matt Mani and Paul Leinwand from Strategy&, PwC’s global strategy consulting business, identifies seven imperatives that you must follow in order to transform your business for the digital era:

  • Reimagine your company's place in the world
  • Embrace and create value via ecosystems
  • Build a system of privileged insights with your customers
  • Make your organization outcome-oriented
  • Invert the focus of your leadership team
  • Reinvent the social contract with your people
  • Disrupt your own leadership approach

Beyond Digital comes with 12 case studies of big brand names undertaking digital transformation in their operations, and provides finance leaders like yourself with battle-tested lessons for taking the changes in our working world as opportunities to define a bolder purpose for, and thus transform your business.

 

10. For Finance Leaders Who Want To Be On The Right Side Of Disruptive Innovation - The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

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A bestselling classic on disruptive innovation by Clayton M. Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma has been cited by some of the world’s best-known thought leaders, including Steven Jobs and Malcolm Gladwell.

In the book, Christensen demonstrates how even the most outstanding businesses in the world can do everything right, and still lose market leadership and eventually failing; thanks to disruptive innovation. He’ll also give you a set of rules for capitalising on disruptive innovation, using case studies of successes and failures from leading companies as a guide.

If you intend to help your business ride the wave of disruptive innovation from your role as a CFO or finance leader, you’ll only do yourselves a favor by reading this seminal work – if you haven’t already.

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