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Our second workshop series for emerging growth CFOs

Dorothy Pavloff | 05/21/21

At Attivo Partners, we are committed to the development of financial professionals in the venture-backed community and with that purpose in mind, we created the Center of Excellence for Emerging Growth CFOs.  The Center of Excellence is a series of workshops with a goal of accelerating skill development and galvanizing a community of leading financial professionals.  In May, we hosted our second Center or Excellence series with a focus on Leadership.  


Showing up as a Leader

Doug Randall of the Trium Group led us through a series of frameworks to guide us in developing leadership and influence within rapidly scaling companies by considering ways to reduce friction, clarify strategy, and build trust.


Taking Control of your Mindset


Our discussion began by considering the power and influence of mindset on personal leadership. Much of the time we are not limited by our skillset but rather our mindset, which determines the set of actions we believe are available to us. We examined situations where we allow ourselves to fall into victim mode and our payoff is sympathy, safety, and justification. Then we considered what might be possible if we shift toward a responsible mindset and meet adversity with a focus on actions we can take to create an outcome we want. This short video by Will Smith highlights the opposing views of Fault vs Responsibility.  A responsible mindset might mean more work and more risk, but the long term rewards of continuous learning and personal growth combined with earned influence and trust lead to more desirable outcomes and opportunities.


Polarities of Strategic Tensions

We often face a situation thinking we need to make a choice between two polarities.  We are either grounded or visionary, structured or flexible. The real challenge lies in identifying action plans that integrate both poles: data and intuition, mission and margin. When we integrate “and” thinking, we open up a range of choices, spanning a spectrum of possibilities.  Expanding the discussion gives management teams the freedom to explore the finer details of their strategic priorities rather than shutting down the discussion with “either/or” thinking. With “and” thinking, leaders have the opportunity to manage the tension between the poles rather than solving the problem of one or the other. Click the links below to learn more.



Resilient Leadership

As finance professionals, we create plans and forecast the future performance of our business. Our forecasts are based on a set of underlying assumptions, typically based on past experiences. Scenario based planning allows leaders to consider a range of possibilities for the future, challenging our entrenched beliefs.  All of us have experienced first hand, the unanticipated impacts to our business resulting from the global pandemic. Our former view of the future has been upended and in order to enable our business to be resilient in the face of uncertainty we need to contemplate different ways in which the future could unfold.  During this process, we examined the strategies and tactics we would employ to respond to each scenario and asked ourselves:


  1. What are the most important implications for my business in this scenario
  2. What are my biggest opportunities
  3. What are my three biggest threats
  4. What is one action, as a CFO, I can take in this scenario


In some cases, this evaluation identified strategies that cut across scenarios becoming core operating elements. The following are additional resources leaders can use to formulate resilient operating plans.



Our purpose in creating this Center of Excellence is not only for skill development but also for creating a forum for idea exchange and community building. The skillsets an emerging growth CFO possess are a unique balance of strategy and operations. Our aim, within this community, is to share knowledge and best practices for value creation. We look forward to continuing our support of the emerging growth CFO community through Attivo’s Center of Excellence.


About Attivo

Attivo is a full-service consulting CFO and accounting firm that supports venture-backed emerging growth companies. At Attivo Partners, we like to engage with clients at the earliest stages and implement the financial systems and processes that enable you to make informed decisions and set the groundwork for your company to scale. We believe our core values of placing our clients first, building long-term relationships that create value, encouraging continuous learning, and emphasizing collaboration among ourselves and our community leads to a higher quality of service for our clients.