Our Guest Mentor:

Brad Eisenhuth is the founder & CEO of The Outperformer, an online career management platform dedicated to the accounting and finance community that provides members with various supports, webinars, 1×1 consulting, mentors, subject matter experts, and others in the community to help them work through career challenges and decisions. And Brad also does a lot of work with organisations enabling their employers to access best-in-class thinking to deliver better results, all through the power of career development.

Brad is based out of Sydney Australia and has over 12 years in recruitment and search, most recently as Director of a performance accounting & finance executive recruitment group. He’s also is a published author of CFgrOw: Staying in the driver’s seat on the path to CFO where he’s analysed the career success and progression of ambitious accounting and finance professionals, discovering those factors that differentiate the best from the rest and used this knowledge to create a system recommended by the Australian Financial Review and other publications.

Brad has also presented as part of the ACCA’s Think Ahead Series as well as other forums for the accounting and finance community.

Key Quotes From the Episode:

“One thing you learn whilst careers have evolved and why some people have pushed forward in their careers it comes back to the ability to help people appreciate that value. And say well I am delivering stuff that’s of value to another person and intrinsically by nature then other people feel the need or a capacity to support you for doing great things for them.” [02:26]

“So when we look at this idea of business partnership or creating value for others and when we realise that it’s not actually about us and it’s about other people we’ll see that 80% of the people we deal with will be really willing to help us succeed and develop and grow in ways that are important to us if we’re clear about that. So there’s a clear relationship between career success and achievement of the things that are important to you and this whole idea of partnership and supporting others around us.” [04:06]

“This idea of partnership is really about understanding the objective and getting the other person to genuinely partner with you and help you achieve what the overall objective is for our business and be aligned on that as opposed to battling against each other and thinking in old ways.” [26:31]

“I do think collaboration is completely where we unlock a lot of potential.” [06:31]

“Mentorship is all around where can someone else help you achieve what you’re trying to achieve where can someone else help you get through a problem or get over a speedhump in what you’re working on.” [07:41]

 “The people I’ve looked at over their careers they may be introverts, they could be introverts, there’s no commonality between successful finance people and this idea of we’re an introvert or extrovert and I really want to highlight that first because when we think about some of these ideas for anyone in your audience who feels they are a little bit reserved and that they’re not the sort of people that network or that they can’t create relationships, it’s probably more to do about the way you’re going about it rather than the nature of your personalities.” [10:37]

“The career sweet spot is a concept that I’ve come up with and now described it as the CHIN model: Clarity; High Performance; Influence and Networks. And really what it’s about is identifying this version of success that’s important for you. Now that might change as our lives evolve, we may have children or something significant happens in our lives that changes our perspective on the world or there’s certain things about our ambition that change, but ultimately this framework is designed to help people find their version of success and what’s important to them.” [11:09]

“Clarity is about looking at two features in our career, first is internally so what is it about me that drives me, who am I, being self-aware about the things that I’m good at and things that I’m not so good at and where I enjoy spending my energies and once you understand this it becomes like the centre-piece of your compass, and where do I take all these strengths that I have and values I believe in that are important to me. And once you understand that you start to use that compass and direction for what does great look like, what’s this version of success, what are some of the things I’d like to be doing, how do I understand the functional, behavioural elements of someone that is doing what I’d like to be doing in the future, can I tap into that and really appreciate that, rather than just making a judgement of the job spec or a judgement of what a recruiter tells you, how do I really understand what it’s like to operate at that level in the future and start to capture that through some experience and people and start to play around with it.” [11:47]

“So clarity is an evolving piece but at least to people who are clear on that direction they can build structure around that.” [12:57]

“High performance is about two elements, it’s measured and subjective by the eyes of the beholder. So when we’re in any organisation or the market place or when we’re looking at our career we need to appreciate that performance or that how we deliver our role is directly relevant to this idea of where we’re going in the business and what’s important to getting there. Now the more you tap into that and the more you engage with stakeholders that you create that value for the more they trust you, the more they appreciate you, the more that they’ll support and develop you.” [13:11]

“So realising that performance is a huge driver to career performance and attracting more career opportunities really valuable because not matter where you are in your career if you can take a step back every few months when you in a particular phase within an organisation what is performance in the eyes of the people I support.” [14:01]

“Now sometimes what people feel is great and what you feel can deliver is not right so what you start to realise is hang on what is my strength and where is this organisation going, in fact this doesn’t play to my strengths and it’s an environment that doesn’t make me feel good and I can’t perform effectively here and maybe that’s a really good indication that you’re not in the right environment to create strong performance and then you begin to look for the sweet spot of where can I look for a balance of where my strengths are and my performance can be really really valued.” [14:08]

“So influence is about how you convey your message as a leader the external component, now we’re all leaders, we’re all influencing others and we’re all engaging with others regardless of whether we’re in accounts payable dealing with a supplier or a finance business partner dealing with the sales and marketing team whatever it maybe there’s always an element of influence and the need for the other party to come on a journey with us.” [14:41]

“Now that conveying of message can help us in various ways it can help us achieve a promotion, it can help us collaborate with others, it can help us message something to a very large audience and group and take them where they need to go.” [15:07]

“Now the second part of influence is internal influence so it’s looking at resilience and mental toughness. When I talk to a lot of finance professionals they say to me thing like I’d love to be a CFO or I’d love to do these sort of things but then the mental toughness piece falls over so what they need to do to get to this goal they’re perhaps not willing to do they don’t go out of their comfort zone to move to places or do things, perhaps they’re lacking a little bit of confidence, perhaps it’s the know-how, or just doing what needs to be done and being prepared to be resilient through some challenges” [15:25]

“Resilience is about bouncing back from challenging times, being flexible and malleable in the way your emotions handle with challenges and mental toughness being prepared to achieve a goal.” [16:07]

“We have great people around us that help us achieve and those people can be within our organisation, they help us get things done and naturally in the eyes of those people you also want to be seen as someone else who can also add value to them as well.” [38:08]

“And then also the external people . .. those people who can show us how to get over to the other side of the fence, how to get there more efficiently, how can we solve these problems in a way that is more effective.” [16:53]

“And once you get these people around you you tend to find the cycle of working on all those four components typically leads you to a place where you’re feeling really rewarded, you’re happy, you’re probably attracting really good opportunity and you’re waking up in the morning excited, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not challenged in fact it probably does mean that you have challenges and things you need to do to make a difference but ultimately going back to those clarity and performance elements these are things that invigorate you, these are the things that make you excited and happy.” [17:04]

“So if you can go through that cycle and ask yourself where might I have a deficiency for a lot of people there’s that issue from clarity are they doing things that genuinely make them happy and testing that and challenging that and getting some feedback around that is really powerful. For others it’s network, they haven’t actively invested in their network over their career. They’ve worked with some really fantastic people earlier in their career and they’ve just let them wander off and not maintain a relationship or value that relationship.” [17:33]

“There’s a lot of things that can come unstuck so my view typically when you look at that sweet spot concept is think about within those four areas what might potentially be a deficiency or holding you back from reaching this version of success or career value that you’re looking for.” [18:10]

“Businesses and CFOs are starting to realise that individuals need to drive their own career and that ultimately they’re in the driver’s seat and giving them the tools and giving them the skills and actually investing over a period of time, you here’s this dog and pony style workshop, here it is and get excited, and you should be fine and go and apply those skills and learn. I think they realise if we want to see change we have to go and invest in it.” [20:12]

(Other resources and how to connect with Brad below).

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Key Points From the Episode:

• The one action that differentiates those that progress in their careers and those who don’t.

• Brad shares the relationship between career success and business partnership.

• What arm-wrestling experiments teaches us about business partnering & collaboration.

• Deconstructs the four key elements that he distilled studying the top performers in accounting & finance to help you determine what your career sweet spot is

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[02:26] – The one action that differentiates those that progress in their careers and those who don’t.

[03:00] – Summarises the three types of people: Givers, matchers and takers.

[04:06] – How the odds are stacked in the favour of business partners.

[04:28] – Shares the relationship between career success and business partnership.

[04:40] – What arm-wrestling experiments teaches us about business partnering.

[06:31] – Discusses collaboration and how it unlocks a lot of potential within accounting & finance.

[07:41] – Describes mentorship and how it helps accountants & finance professionals and why people are happy to do it.

[08:30] – Suggests one thing we could put our energy into for the next 12 months.

[10:37] – Suggests that there’s no commonality between career success in finance & accounting and whether you’re an introvert or extrovert.

[11:11] – Explains the four elements of what your career sweet spot is.

  • [11:52] The two features of Clarity
  • [13:02] The two elements of High Performance
  • [14:08] How Clarity & Performance interplay to let you know if you’re in the right role
  • [14:39] The external element of influence and how we’re all leaders
  • [15:25] The internal elements of influence
  • [16:07] Definition of resilience and mental toughness
  • [16:25] The importance of internal and external networking
  • [18:12] How to avoid getting stuck in your career choices

[18:54] – Explains what’s exciting him about his work at the moment.

[20:08] – What CFOs & businesses are beginning to realise.

[22:10] – The best bit of advice he ever received.

[22:40] – Why he started looking at outliers in his industry.

[24:15] – Why some CFOs are saying accountants should stop being accountants.

[25:11] – What he really loves about the accounting & finance community.

Resources Mentioned:

  • How to be the Luckiest Person in the World | Lindsay Spencer-Matthews | TEDxUQ (video)
  • Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (2013), by Adam Grant

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