Can’t keep change in a corner.

Introduction: Embracing Change in Finance

I recently had the opportunity to work with a client on a significant project centered around building a strong finance team and upgrading their professionalism, skills, processes, and tools. While we focused on tangible outcomes, most notably implementing a new ERP system, I spent a notable amount of time navigating through the challenges of embracing change.

The Challenge of Change Across the Organization

Change not just in corporate finance, but across the entire organization. We in finance do not operate in a vacuum; a very small change in how we handle a piece of paper could make a very big change in the data someone has access to and uses every day. So change in finance often means change for all.

In other words, I can’t keep change in a corner.

Navigating Through Change: CEO Perspectives

While the initial stages of the engagement were met with enthusiasm, the harsh realities of enduring change became apparent as we progressed. For the CEO involved, this journey of change was particularly impactful. Despite the project’s success, the magnitude of change proved overwhelming for the one who needed to champion it long after we consultants were gone.

Lessons from Academic Reflections: The Gas Pumping Analogy

Some months after this engagement was over, I recalled a moment in the African Studies class I had taken at Brandeis University. This moment lingered with me over the decades for reasons I could not quite understand myself. In 1994, the professor asked his captive audience of aspiring change-makers this: who, in a future just and equal society, would pump our gas?

Realizations and Insights: Embracing Change Together

This realization was mirrored in my work with this client. What can we take away from this? It’s a humbling reminder that our ability to predict how we will feel about future changes is often flawed. Change is hard, but it’s also the pathway to growth and new possibilities. This experience reminded me that change affects each of us differently, and it’s essential to approach each other with empathy and understanding.