Who do you think deserves the unsung hero award in your organization?
I’m currently reading a book by Susan Cain called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. One of the core principles in the book is this:
The world values loud, outspoken, boisterous,
and charismatic extroverts over their quieter,
introspective and introverted counterparts.
We perceive the person talking in the room to be smarter, even though intelligence test scores reveal that extroverts are no more intelligent than introverts.
We view the vibrant and confident “Tony Robbins” type to be a leader, even though some of the best leaders in the world are introverts.
And we have a natural bias that chooses extroverts as being more successful than introverts, even though introverts like Bill Gates have created massive wealth while remaining their authentically quiet selves.
This got me thinking about the people within the company I work for and the people within companies around the world that would deserve the unsung hero award.
Introverts and extroverts aside, what about front-line and back-line workers?
Is it just me, or does it seem to be that most of the accolades go to the people within the companies that happen to have it in their job description to interact with the public? To be getting likes on social media? To be hitting massive sales targets?
When we think of the people who really make a difference in a company, who do we think of first? Do we think of the risk-taking, courageous CEO? Or the charismatic, go-getter sales leader? Maybe even the warm and welcoming receptionist?
What doesn’t come to mind is the Credit Manager
I’ve talked to a lot of Credit Managers over the past few years, and the stories seem to all revolve around the idea that the Credit Manager is hardly ever portrayed as a company hero unless they are lucky enough to have a financially-focused CEO. From what I’ve heard, usually, the Credit Manager is:
- The person who says “no” to extending more sales to avert risk (one of our clients was actually called the "sales-preventer" in a meeting in front of her team).
- The pain-in-the-butt who will not let you close the sale without a signed credit app.
- The one who resists all forms of "FOBBING" (Friends of the boss who get 'exceptions').
- The “ruiner” of all good relationships that we’ve worked so hard to develop.
- The person who tells you just how crappy things really are financially.
- The one who thinks you shouldn't take that million-dollar sale or put them on COD because they stiffed your competitor with a $75k NSF (true story)...which elicits this type of response from leadership.
- Or just the back-office person who makes sure we get paid and who we don't fully understand what they do or that there is any method to their madness.
Not exactly worthy of the unsung hero award.
Who Would CEO's Choose for the Unsung Hero Award?
Here’s the thing.
If we were to ask all our CEO’s if they had someone in their company who was there to help protect them from financial risk and keep the cash flowing so they could pay their bills, we would almost surely receive a unanimous yes.
Some may think hero is a strong word, but we at PCM believe the credit manager/ controller/ accounts receivable clerk is a hero to the company every day. The true champion in the workplace and the backbone to any company, the credit manager is arguably the most loyal and adamant personnel on any staff and definately worthy of the unsung hero award.
I asked a few credit managers if they go above and beyond their call of duty for their company - what I found interesting is that most didn’t even consider what they do as “above and beyond.” The credit manager only has the company’s best interest in mind and filters every decision through that. Period.
Nominate Your Credit Manager for the Unsung Hero Award!
So today I wanted to take a moment to recognize what I believe are the unsung heroes of the company, the credit and finance executives.
And since these are the people we talk to on a daily basis, I believe I am (somewhat) qualified to tell you today who I believe the credit managers are. They are the people who:
- Coach and mentor other members on the team to ensure the financial success of the company.
- Are some of the best negotiators you’ll have the chance of knowing.
- Have an intuition that nobody can put their finger on.
- Concentrate on the objectives and goals of the company while striving to maintain a positive company image.
- Maintain a balanced receivable, so the company can continue to pay staff and other bills.
- Steer the company away from risk.
- Have learned strong communication to be the liaison between sales, customers, and leadership.
- Keep a keen eye on all customers to reduce write-off’s and hit company targets.
- Are examples of perseverance, dedication and loyalty.
- Who have a backbone you can see from the front.
- Who do whatever it takes to get the job done.
They are also people who don’t typically get pegged as being the hero of the company.
Well, after years of working with you, we believe you truly are the unsung, back-line heroes of the company. And we celebrate you for making a difference.
So, to credit managers, controllers, accounts receivable staff and accountants everywhere, we appreciate your dedication, hustle and culture you protect. As your trusted partner, we’re going to continue to provide solutions that enable you to meet the changing needs of the economy, and we applaud your ongoing commitment to your companies.
Thank you for everything you do and for building a relationship with us.