Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 17, 2019

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. This Famous CEO Won't Hire You if You Haven't Done 1 Simple Task
He knows how to hire and promote future leaders. The first thing he looks for in a job candidate is someone who knows "the basics." Here are three ways to make a great impression in your next job interview.

2. Short-term pain for long-term gain: The new CEO’s dilemma
New CEOs often hear two conflicting messages: first, get out of the gate quickly because your honeymoon will be short and you need to show results; second, play for the long haul. Can you do both? The answer is yes, but it’s hard, and the results can be bittersweet. The companies of new CEOs who shifted their focus to the long term underperformed their counterparts at first and outperformed only after the CEOs had left.

3. [Podcast] Why you should apply analytics to your people strategy
Bringing advanced computing power and analytics capabilities to bear on people decisions in an organization is crucial to driving lasting and effective change. In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, Simon London speaks with McKinsey partner Bryan Hancock and senior partner Bill Schaninger about why people analytics matters even more in a world awash with data and more advanced computing and analytics capabilities.

4. Shareholders Are Getting Serious About Sustainability
Most corporate leaders understand that businesses have a key role to play in tackling urgent challenges such as climate change. But many of them also believe that pursuing a sustainability agenda runs counter to the wishes of their shareholders. The impression among business leaders is that ESG just hasn’t gone mainstream in the investment community.

5. How Firms Can Avoid the Mediocrity Trap
Managers who are emotionally insecure or who have a fragile self-esteem regularly face a dilemma when making hiring decisions: Should they hire someone better than them or a less competent person who might make them look better by comparison? In their defence, B-players may simply fail to recognise A-players. Or they may suspect (without proof) that the most qualified applicants won’t commit to the organisation. It doesn’t help that some A-players can come across as arrogant and rub B-players the wrong way.

6. 6 leadership lessons for uncertain times
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation have triggered a wave of change that in the next ten years will reconfigure how people live and what jobs in all professions will look like. The possibilities are steeped in excitement and in doubt. “It leads us to this idea of uncertainty,” said Wendy R. Carroll, Ph.D., associate professor of management at Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia, Canada. “We are left trying to make sense of the space between the hype — the extreme hype — and that middle space about what it’s really going to look like.”

7. We lost a Belgium-size area of old-growth forests last year
Ancient trees, like those in tropical rain forests, are crucial for slowing climate change, but they keep disappearing. It’s more important than ever that countries try to limit losses–and work to plant new trees.

8. Confronting the risks of artificial intelligence
With great power comes great responsibility. Organizations can mitigate the risks of applying artificial intelligence and advanced analytics by embracing three principles. Artificial intelligence (AI) is proving to be a double-edged sword. While this can be said of most new technologies, both sides of the AI blade are far sharper, and neither is well understood.

9. Today’s Board Recruitment Priorities
Industry-specific experience is at the top of the list of board recruitment priorities, ahead of business leadership, accounting, digital or technology strategy, according to a recent report. Deloitte’s Center for Board Effectiveness and the Society for Corporate Governance recently released the Board Practices Report, which highlights emerging governance initiatives for boardrooms across culture, talent, strategy, risk, technology and innovation.

10. For Aflac, Slow Growth Means Extra Cash Flow
Start-up companies are well known for operating in the red during their early growth phases as they spend heavily on sales, marketing, and research & development to establish strong positions in their markets. Then, at some point in their success journey, they may decrease the percentage of revenue directed toward those efforts and begin to turn a profit, albeit while growing more slowly.