The most important skill a leader must master is the ability to accurately assess risk, according to Treasury & Risk's annual financial leadership survey. About 500 treasurers, controllers, CFOs and other senior finance executives resonded to the 2008 survey, also sponsored for the sixth year in a row by CITI, in late August and early September. That was after the federal rescue of Fannie and Freddie but before the fall of Lehman Brothers, the sale of Merrill Lynch and the other federal bailout of AIG. About 46% rate an excellent risk antenna as the most critical leadership tool, compared to 38% last year. In 2007, accurately assessing risk tied with providing guidance on the company's mission and governance, 31% this year, as a leader's most important task. Responses to many questions echo last year's sentiments but some discernible differences reflect the growing uncertainty of the times. For instance, 12% name obtaining funding during the credit crunch as the biggest challenge they face now, compared to last year's 7%.
From the October 2008 issue of Treasury & Risk magazine