F-TEN® is a unique business leadership, mentoring and peer-to-peer network programme designed for ambitious senior finance professionals who are one or two career stages away from a group CFO or equivalent-level role. 195 delegates from 102 organisations have successfully taken part since the programme's inception in 2009.
|Next start date||April 2016|
|Cost||Register your interest for details.|
A look at the programme elements:
Peers, direct reports, line managers and stakeholders provide you with feedback at the start and end of the programme, to help with setting objectives and measuring development.
Obtain guidance from a 350 FTSE CEO/CFO or NED on any challenges you may be facing, benefitting from their wealth of experience and expertise.
Interactive sessions to learn and embed the skills and behaviour required to be credible as a CFO.
Facilitator-led, challenging forums to discuss and apply the learning from the workshops, drawing from both your personal leadership challenges and live business issues.
Meet high profile NEDs, CEOs, CFOs and F-TEN® alumni sharing their different perspectives and ‘lessons learned’. Previous speakers include Sir Martin Broughton, Chairman of British Airways and Sir Michael Rake, Chairman of BT and Deputy Chair of Barclays.
Q. Why do you think the programme is important for finance professionals?
A. It gives finance professionals an opportunity to build an excellent support network, allowing them to share the issues they face on a daily basis with like-minded individuals and gain independent advice and support. The independent challenge that you receive on the programme constantly forces you to rebalance your thinking and approach problems from a new, fresh perspective.
Q. Why did you sponsor Richard (McCord) to go on the programme?
A. I felt that Richard could really benefit from another voice in his ear that wasn’t his manager; ideally someone who Richard would respect, listen to and act upon. I also thought that Richard could do with a) sharing and solving his problems and b) learning how to coach others on their daily issues; these are experiences and skills that you hone very openly on the F-TEN® programme.
Q. What difference has the programme made to the business?
A. Richard has clearly become quite a different finance leader. He has really focused on building a high-performance team around him and taking a more ‘rounded’ approach to leadership: his personal values are beginning to show in the office and I can feel the team around him flourishing on being able to deliver and meet his exceptionally high expectations. This has enabled Richard’s finance team to provide outstanding finance support to the business. I think that without F-TEN® Richard’s leadership would not have changed as dramatically and subsequently the financial leadership that his team provides to a large, growing business would not be as pronounced.
Q. What do you consider to be the most valuable part of the programme?
A. Firstly, the mentoring sessions. My mentor is a former FTSE 100 CFO, and I can talk to him confidentially about issues I am grappling with in the office. He has been there and done it himself, so he really understands where I’m coming from, and he can talk to me about how he dealt with similar challenges in his own career. I’m also enjoying sharing experiences with my peers. It is comforting to know that while we all work in different organisations, and have different roles, the core challenges we face are remarkably similar. In my peer learning group, we’ve been sparking ideas off each other which has been useful.
Q. How is the programme developing you as a leader?
A. Fundamentally, it is making me lift my head up from the day-to-day rigours of my job, to step back and think more about leadership and building a high performing team. With a busy role, it is all too easy to neglect this, but in fact this is the area I am now focusing on most.
I completed a four-month secondment in July 2013 as Finance Director of the Netherlands branch of Carphone Warehouse Group, which was my first experience of working for the Board and making group operational decisions. My time in the Netherlands put my leadership skills to the test. I was in a different work environment with a completely different culture. There was quite a bit of personal pressure too.
F-TEN helped me to work on being able to build alternative leadership styles. The Dutch have a direct way of working. My English collaborative style was viewed as being indecisive and unclear. Therefore I had to develop different leadership skills – particularly as I had four months to impress. I feel more comfortable being more challenging and direct now.
The F-TEN programme has given me valuable insight into my key strengths and development areas, and the mentoring process in particular has provided greater clarity about my career goals and what I need to do to achieve them. The peer learning group and main events provide a fantastic opportunity for networking with fellow finance professionals and for sharing experiences, issues and challenges. It has been great to get insight into how my peers at other organisations have different approaches and ways of working to solve common issues.
The greatest benefit for me to-date from the programme has been gained from my mentoring sessions. By focusing on the skills/approaches needed to address current work related issues in these sessions, I have been able to deal with them more confidently once back in the office. What has also been useful is to tailor each session to a particular issue that has cropped up from the last session so that it all feels very real-time.
The opportunity to have a mentor from a FTSE 100 company appealed hugely – someone from outside my organisation who has helped to challenge me in ways I wouldn’t otherwise receive. He has not just challenged me on work issues but also on the wider reasons why I do things. The whole experience has been hugely beneficial and I’d thoroughly recommend it.
In particular, the opportunity to work with a mentor for 12 months allowed me to explore and assess my leadership capabilities and develop some key skills. The process forced an honest assessment that I wouldn't have taken without this opportunity and ultimately has made me more confident in my own style and capabilities.
Q. Do I have to be a member of ICAEW to attend one of the leadership programmes?
A. No, all of our leadership programmes are open to anybody looking to improve their leadership skills.
Q. Do I have to be an ACA?
A. No, we welcome delegates with any finance qualification or background.
Q. What if I can’t make all of the sessions?
A. We understand that our F-TEN® delegates are extremely busy individuals and it’s not always possible to move priorities around, but we advise our delegates to work out a way to attend as many sessions as possible in order to make the most of their investment in the F-TEN® programme.
Q. How is my mentor selected?
A. Participants and the ICAEW team select a mentor together, to match your development needs with the mentor's expertise.