694: Specific and Time-bound, Aggressive yet Realistic | Ana Sirbu, CFO, Nitro

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Not unlike other finance leaders, Nitro CFO Ana Sirbu wants you to know that she’s a “prioritizer.” Both personally and professionally, Sirbu has created a list of objectives that never strays far from her mind’s eye.

Meanwhile, she undoubtedly keeps a second list—a listing of key results.

“Effective key results are specific and time-bound, aggressive yet realistic,” wrote John Doerr, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist, in his ode to OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) Measure What Matters (Penguin Random House, 2018).

Learning how items move from the first list to the second is one of our objectives in talking with Sirbu, a steely-eyed Silicon Valley CFO who’s known to bring a vice-like focus to key results.

By way of introduction, she names past affiliations (Google Capital, Silver Lake Partners) to expose her path to the CFO office of fintech BlueVine, which she joined in 2016 as a vice president of finance and capital markets.

“When I joined BlueVine, the company had just over 50 people, and when I left, we were at well over 400,” explains Sirbu, who says that over the same time, the fintech’s revenues grew by thirtyfold.

“One of my core areas of expertise is to lead finance from all its aspects through very rapid growth, and at Nitro my goal is to replicate this trajectory,” comments Sirbu, who tells us that her own insight into scaling companies benefited from her time at Google Capital (now Capital G), where from time to time she found herself seated beside some of Google’s top growth-minded leaders as her investment team met with the management of different companies “post-investment.”

“They would pair very senior Google executives with a company to speak about whatever area the company was in need of input on the most,” recalls Sirbu, who credits Google culture and its frenzied focus on OKRs with helping her to home in on growth companies as well as the unique role that CFOs now play when it comes to helping companies to scale.

“OKRs drive a lot of great focus throughout the organization when it comes to achieving objectives and being deliberate in terms of where I spend my time and where my team spends their time,” comments Sirbu, who helped spearhead the OKR adoption process at BlueVine as well as Nitro.

Says Sirbu: “Being deliberate is something that is very core to how I think in general. We want to make certain to get the important things right and not focus on things that are less impactful or less important.” – Jack Sweeney

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