671: Why the Best Laid Plans Are Continuous | Shane Hansen, CFO, Planful


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It was a meeting that Planful CFO Shane Hansen tells us that he was not looking forward to. The SaaS developer’s FP&A team had discovered a “fairly large” forecasting error, and Hansen deemed it necessary to brief Planful CEO Grant Halloran on the matter.

So, as planning teams are apt to do, Planful’s FP&A crew performed an extracurricular round of scenario planning—or what might more accurately be described as "CEO planning."

Says Hansen: “We did our homework and put things together in order to be ready for whatever reaction Grant might come up with.”

Halloran’s response: “Oh, that’s just a mistake. What can we do to improve?”

Of course, whether the Planful CEO’s reaction was among those considered by the planning team in its anticipated responses is not the point. Instead, the tale of the forecasting snag allowed Hansen to bump our discussion concerning continuous planning into the continuous improvement lane.

And make no mistake: Planful’s finance chief views these two realms as one and the same. Only a month away from his 1st anniversary as Planful’s CFO, Hansen leaves little doubt that his leadership voice and actions are making as important a contribution to the company’s culture as they are to Planful’s monthly forecasts.

“This is about empowering our culture by saying ‘Let’s improve,’ as opposed to pointing out who is to blame,” explains Hansen, whose words are no doubt intended in part to influence finance leaders inside organizations that have struggled to embrace continuous planning and at the same time perhaps failed to realize the potential of planning tools such as those provided by Planful.

Asked whether his own interactions with Planful’s planning team involve scheduled weekly or monthly meetings, Hansen observes that his arrival at the company more or less coincided with Planful opting to have its employees work remotely due to the pandemic.

“I have found that the consistent interactions that we’ve had while everyone has been working from home have really helped us to band together and provided a lot more unity than there would have been otherwise if not for the circumstances,” comments Hansen, who flags greater unity as yet another underpinning of successful continuous planning. –Jack Sweeney

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