For CFOS, It’s Only the Lonely | Alan Haughie, CFO, ServiceMaster

What do you wish someone had told you at the start of your CFO career?

“I don’t expect any sympathy for the following statement: It’s a lonely job. It actually is. And that’s why, I think, something like this that you’re doing here is a great forum because generally CFOs don’t get to talk to other CFOs or listen and communicate with each other. It is a bit of a lonely job, and I don’t recall this ever being pointed out. Again, I don’t expect any sympathy, I’m well paid. I have a good life. But, I’m pointing that out because I think I might have paid more attention earlier to ensuring that I had a network of CFOs to touch base with. To share problems with. Hence, a forum like this is a very valuable one.”

Is there a personal habit that you believe has contributed to your professional success?

“I have a tendency to overprepare. It feels like overpreparation when I’m doing it. I religiously prepare for most things. And I do that because I want to free up my mind to think, so anything that is more routine or giving a presentation or taking the board through certain materials, I know the materials inside out. So, then, I can look at people. I can watch their body language, their physical reaction to the things that I’m saying so that I’m not looking at my notes or down at the pages. I try to make sure I know my material, so technically I can discuss it with my eyes closed. This way, I can watch the reactions of the people that I’m talking to, to see if my message is getting across.”

—Alan Haughie, CFO, ServiceMaster

Listen to our interview with CFO Alan Haughie HERE

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