“Making sure our insights drive decision making and data driven decisions deliver sustainable and ambitious results.” Frank van Valderen talks about his role as CFO within a fast paced online retailer.
What is the North Star of Finance & Legal?
We have a small set of very important goals for everyone in the organization: Three to be precise.
1) We want to deliver the best customer experience for families in the Netherlands.
2) We want to engage and support our colleagues so they are able to have maximum impact for our customers and company.
3) We deliver on our ambitious business goals. The financials goals are - as to be expected - formulated in line with our growth ambition.
We believe that a good financial result is the consequence of decisions. As a team we make sure our data based insights facilitate good decision making, we are accountable to deliver on results and lead based on a good governance framework. As an organization, we take decisions that ensure a sustainable business strategy based on customer obsession and as an outcome, we deliver on financial results.
What is your journey pursuing this North Star?
We started to create transparency around our business insights and financial results for everyone in the organisation. Transparancy is an important foundation for accountability to happen. We worked our way back from our 3 goals into insights and drivers. We tailor and cascade insights in order to make sure we never have too much or too little information to base decisions on. And we help the business to understand what the drivers of our business model are and how decisions impact these drivers.
We are now in the process to unlock these insights in terms of 'real-time and always accessible'. It is important to start. And to focus on what is possible versus what is not possible. Think big, start small – our motto.
What is your personal North Star?
My North Star has to do with leadership. LEAD self, LEAD others and LEAD change. My approach is to always be objective and transparent. I am also known to be challenging. It is connected with my role of CFO.
I also welcome to be challenged. It is about challenge and commit, where challenge allows for better decisions and commitment ensures a more smooth implementation. I have to emphasize my openness to be challenged more to my colleagues. Within wehkamp it is not about hierarchy, it is about doing the right thing for the customer, the company and each other. When you help each other to make things better, everyone wins. I want to develop winners and a winning mindset in the organisation.
What is your journey pursuing your North Star?
I like to get things done. My personal drive is to deliver. It gives me energy and purpose to accomplish things. To deliver, you need to own. My experience have taught me that delivery is not a onetime event, it is a process or as we like to call it: a journey.
In the journey, we face challenges, we seek opportunities, but we work together to improve every day. For me, ownership of delivery has been replaced with ownership of the journey. But of course in the end the journey needs to deliver. That is why you embark on the journey in the first place.
It is because of our North Star, to become the #1, that we do the things we do.