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FinNext Blog

How You and Your Team Can Get the Most Out of FinNext

Jan 8, 2019

With the calendar flipping from 2018 to 2019, it’s time to refine annual development goals for myself and my team. This is especially a challenge for managers because it is easy to push staff development aside in our never-ending quest to stay on top of our day-to-day work.

HOLDING YOURSELF AND YOUR TEAM ACCOUNTABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT

One effective way I’ve been able to hold myself and my team accountable for development is to ensure we create and document specific development goals as part of the performance management process.  It becomes more difficult to push aside development when it is ingrained into the annual performance review. 

A TEAM RETREAT TO FINNEXT

We created a plan based on which sessions would be most relevant to our roles and skills gaps.

Last year I set a development goal of attending a finance conference with my team. I’ve been an AFP member for more than 10 years so I’m familiar with the quality of their educational content and networking opportunities. So when AFP announced FinNext—the organization’s first conference specifically for FP&A professionals—I knew it would be the perfect event where my financial planning and analysis team could truly develop themselves. To maximize the benefits of FinNext, we created a plan based on which sessions would be most relevant to our roles and skills gaps. We wanted to ensure that we would leave FinNext with a surplus of lessons and advice that we could translate into organizational outcomes.  Here are the lessons of our FinNext “team retreat.”

PRE-CONFERENCE PLANNING

Well before we arrived at FinNext we spent time trying to understand each of the educational sessions.  The three of us worked through each of the session abstracts to find the most relevant to our team goals for the year. Creating this linkage is key to ensuring the benefits of conference attendance are captured. This pre-conference meeting actually was where I first realized the benefits of having a team at the conference. Usually I struggle to choose between sessions that may overlap; however, with three of us attending we were able to cover most of the sessions.

Don’t forget to build in time to explore the exhibit hall and networking time! In my experience some of the best learnings come from talking with peers who more often than not are struggling with similar issues. 

IN-CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE

Be sure to engage in active listening, take notes, and ask questions.

While at FinNext I urge you to stick to your schedule. There’s so much going on at FinNext and at your home office that, frankly, it is easier said than done! But it is important to leave the inevitable call or email from the office until later. During the session, be sure to engage in active listening, take notes, and ask questions. It really helped to re-group immediately with my team following our sessions to debrief while the content was fresh in our minds.  

POST-CONFERENCE

After your trip to FinNext be sure to debrief with your full team and share what objectives, techniques, advice and conclusions you learned. These debrief sessions should go beyond simply describing what was heard, or what new technology is available, but instead should focus on turning ideas into action and to reinforce the link between what was learned at the conference with how it will help your organization achieve its goals and priorities

With FinNext 2019 around the corner, now is the best time to make the team commitment and start planning! Register your team today, and we hope to see you there.

Jordan Krugman, CTP
Head of Finance & Corporate Services, North America
Invesco Ltd.
Vice Chairman, Secretary
AFP Board of Directors