CFO Summit Cape Town: CFOs challenged to care for the caregivers


Top finance execs learn about leveraging and channelling their energy sources at CFO Summit.

CFOs need to remember to take care of themselves as they cannot serve from an empty cup.

This was the clarion call from leadership coach Inge Walters, who was addressing top financial executives at the exclusive CFO Cape Town Summit, which took place on 18 April at the 180 Lounger in Cape Town.

Inge said CFOs need to turn the lens on themselves in order to grow as individuals as well as have a positive growing impact on their organisations.

“Holistically I don’t need to convince you of a business case where people are thriving in their environments, but what might be more tricky is convincing you that you need to be thriving and focusing on how you do that in the face of challenges. Most of you (as execs) tend to think about the team, but tend to forget about yourselves.”

Inge said although leaders invest in their people and teams to mitigate burnout, absenteeism, presenteeism and quiet quitting, the real starting point should be with the leaders. “As leaders we need to understand what this word, ‘thriving’, means to us as individuals.”

Inge then conducted an interactive session where she challenged attendees to define what is thriving in their space.

CFO Summit

One executive in attendance defined the word as being your best self while another said it is more about reaching an objective and reaching their highest potential.

Another noted that to them it is more about finding personal and professional fulfilment in what they are doing.

Another said:

”It is more about getting the energy from what you are doing to propel you to do even more. This then satisfies that core objective that you are seeking in your work and motivates and keeps you going.”

Getting your energy right

It is important to firstly understand your energy sources, how to best leverage them and know what also drains your energy, explained Inge.

“We have four energy sources – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. For instance, we underestimate the importance of sleep as a source of physical energy. Similarly, with mental energy where you shift a limiting belief or narrative, you can remove that feeling of being stuck and open yourself to different views,” she explained.

CFO Summit: Inge Walters

She said:

“We don’t rise to the level of our goals, but we fall to the level of our systems.”

During the interactive session, she asked half of the attendees to fill out Post-it notes with one of the energy sources that they find most challenging to tap into, and the other half of the room then got to pick a note where they felt they could positively contribute to the challenge. Together, they had to come up with a plan to address the challenge.

CFO Summit: Hennie Nel

At the end of the session, executives in attendance said they found it informative and encouraging. One attendee said her challenge was tapping into spiritual energy, and the useful advice she received was to learn to listen more: “Some very wise words I received was to listen to individuals and know that you don’t have to respond. Knowing that you are a sounding board to someone – that in itself unwinds the mind.”

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