With the passing of the 20th anniversary of WorldCom filing bankruptcy in the aftermath of the whistle being blown on its reporting of fraudulent financial statements, I wanted to revisit Cynthia Cooper’s page-turner, Extraordinary Circumstances. Former CFO Aaron Beam helps us to understand how and why this fraud was committed as he draws on his experience in the financial statement fraud at HealthSouth. Aaron is an author and sought-after public speaker at major universities around the country.[Read more…] about Revisiting WorldCom’s Financial Statement Fraud
One of my favorite CFOs is Bob Lung. For the past 33 years, he’s been chauffeuring players and dignitaries at the NFL’s annual Hall of Fame weekend activities in Canton, Ohio. In this fast-paced interview, we talk about Bob’s favorite moments at the Hall of Fame ceremony, what it means to be a driver during this event, and a couple of special stories. We also discuss whether your business should have a Hall of Fame.[Read more…] about Should Your Business Have a Hall of Fame?
What is the best book on negotiation you’ve ever read? Many readers might suggest Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. What if I said there is another title that’s far more practical with ideas that you can put into practice right now? That book is Negotiation Simplified by Jim Reiman. In this fast-paced conversation, we talk about the core four concepts of negotiating and the best discussion I’ve ever read about goals in the context of negotiating.[Read more…] about Negotiation Simplified with Jim Reiman
Bill Campbell was a legendary business coach who mentored larger-than-life business leaders such as Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and many others. I agree with his biographers calling him a trillion-dollar coach. If that’s true, we need to call Joe Ehrmann and Biff Poggi trillion-dollar coaches too. Jeffrey Marx in his impactful and transforming book, Season of Life, reveals how these two coaches have made a difference in the lives of young football players which applies to all areas of life.[Read more…] about More Than a Trillion Dollar Coach
Imagine trying to capture the family history starting from your grandfather’s grandfather through today. How would you construct the narrative over those six generations? Would you take a timeline approach by filling in important details over the course of those hundred-plus years? Or would you try a different approach the way Katherine Howe did with her co-author Anderson Cooper in their book, Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty.[Read more…] about What Happened to the Vanderbilt Dynasty?
Rob Hart’s book, The Warehouse, is a speculative dystopian thriller. The central character is an online retailer called Cloud – think Amazon dominating its rivals in the distant future, which has devastating effects on small retailers across the country. There’s a dying founder – is he a hero or delusional? Why did Paxton and Zinnia take jobs at Cloud? Is it for the paycheck? Rob is the first fiction writer to be interviewed on CFO Bookshelf.[Read more…] about The Warehouse
Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird states, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view … until you climb into their skin and walk around in it.” Elvis Pressley sang, “Before you abuse, criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.” In this conversation, we unpack the big ideas and linkages between business success and customer empathy with Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, the co-author of Empathy in Action.[Read more…] about Is Customer Empathy All Talk or a Difference Maker?
Jeff Sands is the author of Corporate Turnaround Artistry. Before he started fixing and mending other companies’ broken income statements and balance sheets, he first had to fix his own where he learned how friendly banks could be. During this conversation, we also learn about debt stacks, a few myths about bankruptcies, the five stages of a turnaround, the three types of turnaround CEOs, the role of luck, and what Jeff calls the salvation process.[Read more…] about A Turnaround Expert Learned His Craft the Hard Way
If you think Netflix was the cause of Blockbuster’s failure, you’ll change your mind after you hear Alan Payne explain the reasons for this company’s demise. Alan was a longtime owner of a chain of successful Blockbuster stores. He was also featured in the Netflix 2020 documentary, The Last Blockbuster. His new book is Built to Fail, and we learn four reasons for Blockbuster’s eventual bankruptcy which started with poor leadership at the CEO level.[Read more…] about A Blockbuster Failure
More than twenty-five years ago, I knew next to nothing about the concept of company culture. Treating others the way I wanted to be treated. That’s what I did and hoped others would do the same. I never worked for a CEO before 2004 whose primary focus was building and developing great teams. One of my favorite books on culture is Powerful by the first HR leader at Netflix. This is the book I would have enjoyed reading in the 1990s.[Read more…] about A Financially Powerful Culture