Mitch Joel taught me (The only book a CFO needs to read about social media) that if you want others to know about your expertise in your area of focus, you need to follow what is trending on topics in your space.
My space is CFOs. I work with CFOs, talk with CFOs and talk about CFOs. It is my job to be on top of what is going on in the CFO world.
A trend I have been noticing is that some CFOs of major companies have been very involved in company PR not only about financial information about the company. They have also been a key point person for new product hype. Here are some recent examples:
Apple (CFO: Peter Oppenheimer, July 20, 2011) Apple fuels September iPhone 5 rumours
Google (CFO: Patrick Pichette, July 20, 2011): Brainstorm Tech video: Google’s Patrick Pichette on Android’s future
Verizon (CFO: Francis Shammo, January 12, 2011) Verizon executive says CDMA iPad coming
I find it fascinating that CFOs are being used to deliver marketing and product messages. Who would have thought that the Finance Guy or Gal would have such visibility on an overall business perspective?
The lesson to CFOs is: If you see yourself as the accountant; that is all you will be. If you see yourself as a key and indispensible face of the company; you will become it.
It can be a big step to move from a purely technical and analytical background to being viewed as one of the top (and indispensible) leaders of your company.
How can a CFO make such a move?
1) Know your strengths (The Strong CFO Program), build upon them, and support yourself with others that have complimentary strengths.
2) Know your relationships, the expectations of these relationships, and understand what is necessary to successfully deliver in each of these relationships. (Roadmap to Successful CFO Relationships).
As CFO, you can become indispensible to your company. You can be a PR Rockstar. The only person stopping you is the person in the mirror.