Innovation and future-proofing in mid-tier firms: The central role of CFOs


Last week I gave the keynote on Future-Proofing Your Organization at a function organized by American Express to launch their very interesting American Express CFO Future-proofing Survey.

There were many interesting insights in the report, with many media outlets picking up that 45% of CFOs of Australian mid-tier firms believe their company is at risk of failure in the next 3-5 years if innovation is not prioritized.

Some of the main themes coming from the qualitative research are shown in this graphic from the report:


Source: American Express CFO Future-proofing Survey

In my keynote I helping bring to life through key ideas and examples how mid-tier firms can drive effective innovation, and the action required to build agility in an increasingly fast-moving business environment.

A key point coming from the survey and also the discussion at the launch event was that executives in mid-tier firms feel they are caught in the middle, lacking the resources of large companies and the nimbleness of startups.

However for those leaders willing to change their organizations, there is the potential to turn this around to combine the advantages of reasonable resources and a lack of bureaucratic scale.

I believe a key dynamic in the economy is the increasing divergence in performance between organizations.

This is particularly pointed in mid-sized companies. Those that continue as they have will be left behind by a rapidly changing world. Yet there are phenomenal emerging opportunities for the leaders that can drive agility and performance through effective governance, a central role of the CFO.