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Speak Like a CFO/Get Senior Management's Attention

ISM's 93rd Annual International Supply Management Conference

St. Louis, MO
May 2008


Robert Rudzki, CEO and president of Gerybeard Advisors, LLC

Led by Robert Rudzki, CEO and president of Gerybeard Advisors, LLC, this packed afternoon workshop showed attendees how speaking like a CFO can help them elevate their own — and their organizations' — professional effectiveness to world-class levels.

"Supply management is unique in that it can impact all of senior executives' key objectives," Rudzki told attendees, citing the desire to meet or exceed expected earnings and performance, grow revenues and earnings year-over-year, and reduce risk in revenues and earnings as examples.

Rudzki spotlighted a myriad of financial terms used by CFOs and CEOs, including which ones are the most important to grasp and use — in particular, Return On Investment Capital, or ROIC, since, as he explained, poor ROI can lead to "corporate suicide."

Rudzki also covered how to relate supply management initiatives to core financial concepts and how to build alliances with finance and accounting departments, and offered examples of how world-class organizations apply these concepts, tools and processes.

Interaction with senior executives is one of the principal challenges facing supply management leaders, Rudzki continued. "[They] often seem to speak a different language," he said. "And I'll be the first to tell you that putting numbers into charts won't make change happen."

Really getting through to management requires developing a bold vision which speaks to their interests (ROIC, cash flow, risk management, etc.), laying out your transformation plan and roadmap, and building your business case in terms of what you should be able to deliver — preferably in dollars and cents, he concluded.

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