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Regularly I meet emerging executives who are overly self-critical. I am usually stunned as, because I am entirely objective, I can clearly see parts of their value that they are missing.

I had a rather interesting experience which I thought might be valuable to share with you.

I recently met with a young CA who again reminded me of the power of a strong self-esteem.

It was quite subtle but gob-smacked me much more than I expected.

When he arrived and introduced himself, I was struck by his nerdy presentation. He was smart/casually dressed but his designer-label attire was creased, crumpled and even a bit grubby.

In the normal course, I asked him to tell me more about himself. He began with his current position, describing himself as the group financial manager. As I was becoming impressed, he told me that he had been with group for 10 years, and was in his mid-thirties.

I could clearly see that he was not CFO material.

When I asked him about the current Group CFO, I was not surprised to find out that he was a recent appointment and that my client had obviously been overlooked for the position.

I then asked him why he never got the job and he proceeded to tell me some cock-and-bull story about a takeover strategy that had failed and left him where he was by default.

Again I could plainly see that he was not CFO material . . . yet.

Further interrogation revealed that he in fact carried a major responsibility in the Group and was the deputy to the CFO which indicated that the company believed in his competency.

I assure you he would never get the ‘big’ job until he changed something.

But I was not quite sure what it was that was not working.

It took me sometime after he left to discover what was missing.

He was really a nerdy character. From his slight, gawky frame to his double thick glasses, his weird little gait and narrow shoulders made him one of the geekiest nerds I had ever met!

So what was it?

And then it struck me.

This guy was a fake!

And there was something else –  I did not trust him.

But here is the strange part – if he had just been the dorkiest, nerd, propeller-head that he was instead of making himself out to be something else, he would have been much more powerful and engaging.

His personal brand was all distorted.

(I forgot to tell you that when he left my office he raced off in a fancy Merc Sports leaving a cloud of dust!).

I know that it would be very valuable to Mr Nerd if he could be coached to see how much more powerful he would be by being exactly who he was instead of trying to be somebody that he thought he should be!

By pretending to be something that he was not he was actually giving away his power.

The sad part was that he had a lot of good qualities that, if recognised and properly branded, would make him an awesome CFO.

Well, I have a reputation for telling my clients exactly what I think (in a nice way). So, in the meeting, I had told him that the had an esteem issue which needed attention.

I am hoping that he will come back for a few coaching sessions because I am sure that I can convert Mr Nerd into the most geekiest, dorkiest and powerful CFO ever! 

 

About the author:

Clive Kaplan, is a CA(SA) having studied at both Rhodes and UCT. With over 20 years experience as an executive director in both listed and unlisted companies. Clive offers a wealth of wisdom on both the people and business front. He is the CEO of Green Mind Capital. The company focuses on assisting executives, especially emerging young CA’s, maximize their potential and fast-track their careers. Clive has been involved with coaching and self development since 1994. Green Mind Capital is an emerging leader in the field of personal development and self-actualization.