Every C-position has its own argot, its own turn of phrase. CEOs are addicted to sports analogies and fighting words. A CIO career requires constant tactical maneuvers, as the CEO might put it, against the three-letter acronyms that drench IT speech and dampen relations with the business.
I thought you might enjoy hearing some of the verbal tics of the CFOs I heard speak at a recent summit of CFOs in Boston. You might be surprised at how alike you sound on a few topics.
In any case, next time you sit down to talk turkey (Happy Thanksgiving!) with your CFO, sprinkling on a few familiar phrases can’t hurt your CIO career.
Runway room, as in: “Some stimulus to the business sector to really start growing jobs and get this economy to turn is really important. That and runway room. Without some runway room, so you can take advantage of the stimulus, you are not really stimulating anything.”
Growth, as in: “We are very much focused on growth.”
“We have always been focused on growth.”
“We try to be entrepreneurial and focus on profitable growth.”
Resource allocation, as in: “One of the most important things a CFO does is resource allocation. Not all investments are created equal.”
“We are much more disciplined about resource allocation.”
Execution, as in: “Execution cures all ills.”
“You can’t worry about the swings; you have to focus on execution.”
Quarter to quarter, as in: “If businesses fall into the trap of being focused quarter to quarter, it is because they have allowed that to happen.”
A penny of EPS (earnings per share), as in: “We don’t think a penny of EPS really matters one way or another if we are investing those dollars with a high ROI.*”
The reality for us…, as in: “The reality for us is that there are a lot of other places in the world that are more investment friendly.”
At the end of the day, as in: “At the end of the day, in business, you make decisions based on confidence.”
*ROI: This is a term your CFO can’t get enough of.
If you have any others, please let me know. I’m making a dictionary.
For more tips on how to talk to your CFO, check out, “Build a strong CIO-CFO alliance in 2011, or put IT strategy at risk.”