Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 43, 2017

Do you want to keep up to date with the latest developments in finance, but you are short of time? Don’t worry. CFO South Africa weekly collects 10 of the most important articles from international media for your convenience.

1. Despite their increasingly sophisticated decision-making abilities,...
In 1983, during a period of high Cold War tensions, Soviet information systems abruptly sounded an alert that warned of five incoming nuclear missiles from the United States. A lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defense Forces, Stanislav Petrov, faced a difficult decision: Should he authorize a retaliatory attack? Fortunately, Petrov chose to question the system's recommendation....

2. A CFO's Case For Investing Big in Employee Development
Every company says it: Our people are our company, so we invest deeply in them. But the truth CFOs face when they start to make the case for investing in employee development is that the headwinds are stiff. Professional development professional is expensive. It arguably takes people away from their core responsibilities. And the return is hard to document. Presented with such barriers, many companies hold back on professional development, and many employees feel stalled in their careers.

3. The Three Altitudes of Leadership
High altitudes hold a special place in the history of human achievement. We remember Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese sherpa, Tenzing Norgay as the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Other altitude pioneers include Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, the first human to fly in outer space, and Neil Armstrong, the first person on the moon. More recently, in 2012, Austrian Felix Baumgartner skydived from a capsule at 127,000 feet. In the world of leadership, altitudes are significant, too.

4. Europe Data Regulation Poses Big Opportunity
With GDPR compliance less than a year away, some CFOs I speak with have yet to look past the risk of a big fine. If you're one of them, then this article is for you. Yes, GDPR — the General Data Protection Regulation, a measure intended to strengthen and unify data protection within the European Union, slated to take effect next May 25 — is a costly compliance matter that you absolutely cannot afford to get wrong.

5. 5 Steps To Having Courageous Conversations
According to the 2015 Employee Trends Report by Quantum Workplace, one of the biggest areas of concern for team members is that there is often not open and honest communication with managers. So why is this? Why does miscommunication pervade at least 50% of business conversations? Is technology to blame or are there some other dynamics at work?

6. All Management Is Change Management
Change management is having its moment. There's no shortage of articles, books, and talks on the subject. But many of these indicate that change management is some occult subspecialty of management, something that's distinct from "managing" itself. This is curious given that, when you think about it, all management is the management of change.

7. Grow fast or die slow: The role of profitability in sustainable growth
How can software and online-services companies determine the right balance between growth and profitability? Although some companies, investors, and shareholders are still focused solely on rapid growth, many in the start-up ecosystem are increasingly pushing for sustainable growth, which balances high growth rates with evidence of a path to profitability. These investors and operators view sustainable growth as the leading indicator of a software company's overall health and potential.

8. These 8 Excel Timesavers Will Make You a Spreadsheet Speed Demon
If you've spent any time operating a computer, you've encountered Microsoft Excel. This quintessential program is practically everywhere, regularly making appearances on business computers thanks to its inclusion in Microsoft Office. Excel has become synonymous with spreadsheets as a whole, the way Kleenex defined the facial tissue industry, and is truly the unicorn of the category. But unlike a unicorn, almost everyone has spent some time with Excel.

9. 9 Things People Accidentally Do That Make Their Mondays Unproductive
Most people don't even realize when they're being unproductive. In fact, most people go to bed on Sunday night making all these grand plans of how they're going to make their Monday the most productive Monday of all time only to immediately side-step into the wrong activity and find themselves down the rabbit hole of wasted time. If you're ever feeling unproductive, it's most likely because you've accidentally made the wrong decision. Your Mondays could be so much more productive--if you could only steer clear of these 9 mistakes.

10. How to Give Feedback People Can Actually Use
Over the last decade, I've conducted thousands of 360-degree feedback interviews with the colleagues of the leaders I coach. My goal with these sessions is to get a better sense of my clients' strengths and weaknesses, but more often than not, the feedback isn't particularly useful.