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New York, New York

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

By Dennis Jones

new-york-skyline-cfo-24-hours

“Oh, how I loathe investor visits,” thinks every CFO, and especially Krempe’s, particularly after having been shuttled between innumerable meetings in the last week.

“They all just blur together after the first handful,” he had said to his CEO when she’d asked. He’d wanted to make a sardonic aside that they were far less eventful than going to Prague and touring new real estate. But he had thought better of it, partly because his boss seemed a lot less jovial and a lot more stressed after their meeting with the HR consultants about the sagging engagement numbers.

He also seemed to get the distinct impression that she wasn’t exactly thrilled with him in particular. You see, he oversaw the People and Recruiting organization that wasn’t turning her workers into a die hard cadre of committed Krempe employees. The opposite, in fact, a bunch of burnouts, if the engagement numbers were to be believed. What did she expect? He was first and foremost a numbers guy. Suffice it to say, things were a lot easier in business schools.

And to make matters worse, his smartphone battery was running dangerously low. Unthinkingly, he’d left a bunch of high-bandwidth apps running in the background, including both Krempe’s video conferencing and ERP services.  He didn’t know where his charger was, where he could buy another, and the kicker, he’d just hit one of the many dead zones in the Financial District, New York, New York so he’d certainly struggle to get to his next meeting without the use of a location services app. Luckily, he had some time.

Time to think. Not like too much thinking could be done in the hustle and bustle of Wall Street in the middle of the afternoon. But there was some.

From the CFO’s vantage, things could be worse. He wasn’t an optimist, show me a CFO who is, but topline numbers were solid. Good, but not spectacular, growth across the board.

Granted these engagement numbers had thrown everybody for a loop. But wasn’t “engagement” for hippies? “Engagement, what does that mean anyway?,” he had said when his Head of P&R had first approached him with the scheme to run a companywide survey in the first place. Now, they were too far down the rabbit hole to stop. He could see the dollar signs already, just draining from his budget.

Worse still, guess who was calling him, and with his battery at less than 10%? His Head of P&R. This couldn’t be good. It never was.