Running close to that, I think the CFO needs to foster an internal environment that encourages discourse and dialogue around needs and priorities. You have to make sure that people are speaking on the same frequencies and that they're articulating what their needs are. The CFO can help establish that internal environment of meetings, status reports, just making sure that folks aren't going off in their own direction. While the CFO may not be at the center of that, I believe that the CFO should make sure there is a process of keeping those folks within a framework, of making sure that expectations are being communicated, understood and followed up on.
The other challenge, and this is all part and parcel of it, is to take the operational focus and to drive that into a strategic focus. Each group's individual manager may have their own responsibilities and action plan, but you need to evaluate those and make sure they fit inside of a strategic focus.
Another challenge is that there's only a certain amount of resources that are available and you've got to manage those resources -- it's not only cash, but it's time and it's technical skill, it's people resources. These are finite, so let's make sure we are making the best use of those resources. That's where you have to make sure you have efficiency.
I've got seven people in my IT group. I've got a number of projects that require their support -- which comes first and how much time are you going to give?
The other side of that is working-capital utilization, making sure that you're watching your inventories, making sure they aren't just tied up inside the warehouse, sitting on the warehouse floor. This is the old-fashioned issue of blocking and tackling, and it's still there today. It was there in the '40s, it was there in the '60s, it will always be there. It's core to what the CFO has to keep his eye on.
4. What is a good day at work like for you?
This is a good question. It's days where I'm involved in initiating and not reacting -- that's a lot more fun when you've got some ball control. In a very, very general way, that's a good day.
The way I run my day is that I like to start with a rough to-do list. I'm not married to that to-do list, but if I can get through most of it by the end of the day, when I'm putting the key in the ignition I feel good about that.