10 questions for Mohawk President and CFO Jack Haren

By , IDG News Service |  Networking

The other thing that comes to mind is that very early in my private industry career at Union Camp I had an opportunity to work with a boss who practiced a management style that would be called management by walking around. I observed that and thought that it was really quite effective. He got out from behind his desk, was quite visible, really was close to what was happening, was involved. Seeing him out there listening, being visible and staying in tune with what was happening -- if there was a bottleneck or some folks were having problems, he was happy to stay with them, to help them. That built trust. I think that is really key to teamwork and effectiveness.

He also put a lot of emphasis on the hiring process. If we had a position opening he would sit down and really understand what were the critical needs. Then he would select managers across a broad range of responsibilities and he would have them do the interview with the [job] candidate. Maybe three or four managers would ask questions in their particular areas. I found that to be really effective at getting at what were the candidate's abilities.

You're really investing in getting the right people -- they are the key to your success. Identifying the right people and then developing them, and just as importantly retaining those people, was a critical insight that I got out of that. On both those measures, that helped me, and I formed my style around that.

3. What are the biggest challenges facing CFOs today?

This is a huge question. Nine times out 10 you're going to get the answer that the challenge is the rate of change that's going on and the complexity of change. It doesn't really matter what industry you're in, that's one of the things that is driving the agenda and really requiring folks to stand back and try to understand what is going on. Out of that comes the challenge of change management, because that's something that people need to take ownership of and take control of.

It's one thing to say I know which way we're going and I know our destination and I understand our objective and goals, but it's really the process of getting there. Change management is really something folks need to work at and put time and resources into and realize that it's more than just a cliche. This is a resource that needs to be addressed and filled and monitored.

Many times that falls to the IT group and that's not necessarily where it should be. I think they play a huge part in it, but change management needs to be formal, there needs to be a discipline to it. It can also be driven as much by the customers, so you need to get them involved in the decision-making process.

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