CFO Studio magazine with Todd McElhatton 17 CEO’s right hand.” But, with companies like Amazon disrupting the pace of business, such a partnership is not without its challenges. “You have that tension of making sure things get done right while moving quicker than the rate of change in the world,” notes Gilboy. It’s akin to speed walking on a tightrope, he says, but it’s all in a day’s work. Office Culture According to Gilboy, “the biggest challenge for any CFO is—and should be—actively supporting and, most importantly, guiding the company to support creativity and innovation focused on end consumers, while driving shareholder value creation by ensuring mindshare and resource devotion is focused on greatest impact.” However, that doesn’t mean, he continues, that every good idea can be pursued. “One of the most beneficial contributions a CFO can make at his or her company is to drive a day-to-day leadership strategy in which a culture of honesty and critical thinking wins the day and emotion does not.” Gilboy explains that such a culture is achieved when attention is focused on an honest assessment of what the data portrays. “This leads to tough, but objective, decision- making, and it ultimately forces the team to pivot and move on to the next thing, instead of chasing ideas that aren’t going to pan out.” Gilboy says the office of the CFO can foster this type of culture by maintaining a stance that “every ‘no’ is one step closer to a ‘yes,’ ” and by openly celebrating successes and “ideas that stick” so people feel good about being part of a winning team. And, most importantly: “By leading a team that clearly articulates a vision, and then a mission, of how we’re going to pursue that vision, so people can start with what the bull’s-eye looks like and go from there.” Top Teams Gilboy, who spent two decades in public accounting at KPMG before settling in at CGI, believes he’s been able to propel his position to that of strategic and visionary “right hand” by forever focusing on being part of, and then building, great teams: “teams that were very performance focused, that understood what the goal was, and that went about achieving it.” Gilboy suggests CFOs zero in on people, and on trying to hire the best team possible. “At the end of the day, it’s a war for talent, and you need to build a team that makes the company better.”The CFO needs to lead that team to demonstrated results. “Not just financial results,” he notes, but “accomplishing whatever the objective is.” Furthermore, considering somuch time is spent on data-driven insight, CFOs can seize the opportunity to play amore active role in shaping the next bestmove to create shareholder value by “shepherding the emerging trends of big data and predictive analytics in that context.” Gilboy recommends CFOs get up to speed— yesterday—on how such capabilities can add value to a company and how to build them into an organization. “In today’s world of rapid change and increased efficiencies, you have towork hard and smart.” The End Game As a strategic and visionary partner to the CEO, Gilboy is playing an active role in keeping the Chamberlain Group one step ahead of the times as it takes “access solutions,” a space where the company has a tremendous legacy, and redefines what that really means. “As a result, we’re transforming CGI from a manufacturer of products for the past century- plus into an Internet-of-Things solution provider.”That, he says, is “very exciting.” Although he’s far from retirement, Gilboy, 54, says the success he relishes the most is watching people he’s hired develop in their careers. “Seeing them flourish, starting their own consultancies and businesses because I gave them the opportunity, or coached them, and they rose to the challenge, it’s a tremendous compliment.” And knowing that, eventually, their new flat-screen TV will be safe and secure in the garage, instead of out in the rain on the front porch—or worse, in the back of a getaway car—is just the icing on the cake. The CFO and CIO – Perfect Together Call it the wave of the future, or just a long time coming, but either way, more and more CFOs are being called “boss” by IT department staff. Chamberlain Group CFO Brendan Gilboy believes that’s a move in the right direction. “So much of IT is information these days,” he says, “and the fundamental role of the CFO is to organize and interpret information to share with the company so that we, as CFOs, understand business performance and what indicators we need to be looking at to make decisions about trade-offs.” Gilboy has acquired a “good, plain-English command” of IT issues, he notes, which is a positive thing, considering CGI is in the process of establishing itself as not only a century-old product manufacturer, but a pioneering Internet-of-Things solution provider, as well. Plus, the company’s CIO reports directly to him. “We have a business strategy and our IT strategy supports enablement of that strategy.” Gilboy says his office doesn’t try to integrate a standalone IT strategy with the business strategy, but instead “we develop our overall business strategy and then we develop an IT strategy to enable that business strategy.” He notes that could range anywhere from automation of manual processes, all the way to developing new capabilities to understand disparate data sets. Strategically, the IT conversation has moved from automation and IT enablement, according to Gilboy, in favor of big data, cyber security, and information privacy. “Those are the issues that are top of mind right now.” He predicts that won’t change anytime soon. “It’s a war for talent, and you need to build a team that makes the company better.”