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Nobody is Perfect!

December 6, 2010

Nobody’s Perfect! Don’t I know it & how…  That word “Perfect” however keeps popping up quite frequently as of late.  Maybe it is just me…


I just received the most recent ESPN magazine in the mail; it’s titled “The Perfect Issue”. In it, writers interview Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant & Don Larsen, along with many other stars that are striving for perfection in their respective sports, on & off the field of play too!   I was in church this past week & listened to a sermon about how nobody is perfect but we all strive to do our best while constantly trying (with hope) to be better dads, husbands, friends, sons, brothers, workers, or bosses.  I have also been actively searching for a new position.  As part of my  search tactics, I have been talking to recruiters, networking & replying to ad’s on numerous websites.  Not only are employers & headhunters looking for the perfect candidate, but some folks like myself are still searching for the perfect job as well.


Would it be unfair for me to say that prior to last Thanksgiving, 2009,  9 out of 10 dentists surveyed (tongue in cheek), would have said Tiger Woods had the perfect life? I wonder what the results of such a question would be now?  Don Larsen pitched the perfect game in the World Series on 10/8/54!  Perfect for 1 day!  I won’t dig into Don Larsen’s personal life since then, but professionally he finished his career with 81 wins against 91 losses.  Is it fair to say he has not had a perfect life since that glorious day 56 years ago?  It’s really unfair how much time he has literally been forced to spend at memorabilia shows getting paid to sign pictures & baseballs for a increasingly smaller & smaller crowd of fans that never heard of him or his marvel while he ekes out a meager living.


I drove across the United States with my youngest son & daughter, our dog & 3 bunnies in August, 2009, as part of our move from New Hampshire to Mission Viejo, CA. During our travels, we stopped at a roadside store in Utah. It sold leather goods. My son bought a whip, just like Indiana Jones!  A week later after my wife & other 2 children flew out to join us in our new home, my wife did not think the whip was a ‘perfect’ choice for a souvenir!


At that road shop, I met an American Indian. She was selling necklaces, hats, braids, & other items. It didn’t strike me until recently, but she told me all her handiworks have flaws & imperfections.  Initially, I thought she was just being honest with me & trying to sell us on the uniqueness of each item, but she explained that it is not only hard to make anything perfect but it gets harder the older you get.  The quality is always there & the effort she puts into her work is present, but it is knowingly not perfect. She said the last item she ever makes will be the only perfect thing she crafts in her whole life. She also said she will not sell it. She will save it & take it with her.  I thought it was pretty cool when I heard that story, but I forgot all about it up until the past week.


Recently on a group website I regularly browse, the discussion came up begging the question:  “Which is better for an organization… a CFO with a CPA certification or CFO without a CPA?” Let me preface, I am a CFO without a CPA. I did not however enter that on-line discussion. I fully understand & appreciate the fact I have a skewed point of view.  I guess in some folks perception, without those ‘CPA’ initials after my name, I’ll never be the ‘perfect’ candidate.  In a nutshell that is what Perfection is…  A Perception, real or imagined!

I chose not to be an accountant. I’d go nuts sitting behind a desk all day.  I prefer to build bridges, tear down walls &  strengthen teams by working across disciplines, focusing on strategies & making other departments stronger that will ultimately drive the financial results.  I personally believe that Accounting is the caboose or tail & should not be literally pulling the train or wagging the dog.  I am sure there are some great CFO CPA’s out there, but I don’t like being stereotyped or put into a vertical chimney that CFO’s only do accounting!  I’m so much more than that. The traditional accounting oriented CFO, is a perception held by many executives & recruiters in their own vertical chimneys that have not experienced working with a CFO focused on the total business & not just the financial books.


I am admittedly not that elusive ‘purple squirrel’, so called perfect candidate with initials at the end of my name.  I’m so much more.  I have run my own P&L branches with great success. I embrace sales & operations as the conduits to drive results.  In lieu of buzz words & certifications, I espouse looking at the results. I kindly request employers & recruiters to do the same for me!


In my last job, my best programmer was an Accountant. My Assistant Controller earned a degree in Philosophy & minored in Accounting.  These folks however were awesome in their jobs.  Before I got there however, they were not being properly utilized, virtual misfits, literally stuck in a pre-imposed vacuum that labeled &  stated,  “oh, your an accountant, then sit in this seat &  do this work.” Unfortunately many people follow those narrow paths & can get dead ended!  I’m not a genius & far from perfect, but I know how to build a solid team & evaluate talent, regardless of  degrees or initials.  These 2 employees are superstars & literal MVPs for the company now after being recast to their sweet spots!


A true Leader & Corporate Executive is not afraid to surround themselves with people smarter than they might be with varying styles, opinions & experiences.  My “A team” makes me & the company look good!  I don’t want the perfect Accountant, perfect Sales Rep, or perfect Operations Manager all who only know their own trade. I want wise, experienced & open minded people on my team.


I pray to God & our Blessed Virgin Mother for support to be a better father & husband. I know I have slipped up. Most folks do & some are quicker to point the finger than others. I know I’m not perfect. but I am constantly striving for Proper Perspective.


So nobody’s perfect, But I’m trying!  I also know what I am very, very good at.  I love working, probably too much.  I’m better than a majority of my peers & have the professional results & track record to prove it. I’m totally out of character with the last statement, as I prefer my actions to speak louder than my words, which has been the case for over 25 years, all without any initials following my name.  I only hope that folks can look beyond a pre-conceived perception of their ‘purple squirrel’ before they judge me as a less than ‘perfect’ fit to partner & lead a team as CFO/COO.

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