Employee Spotlight – Tommy James              

Tommy recently joined the team in February 2024. He has more than 30 years of financial experience and specializes in manufacturing, retail, restaurants and online products and distribution. 

  • Why did you want to become a fractional CFO? 

I enjoy working with a wide variety of businesses, learning how different operations and processes work, and assisting in improving those processes to improve the bottom line. I also enjoy coaching and mentoring and the chance to do so in various businesses is a fantastic opportunity.

  • Why do you enjoy the industries you focus on and why do you bring value in those industries?

I am focused on industries that are customer-service focused. As efficiencies and competition heighten, superior customer service provides a way to distinguish your product and build customer loyalty.

  • What are common challenges that you see in businesses?

The biggest challenge I encounter is that businesses do not understand the key metrics that are vital to their bottom line. Another challenge I witness is the communication of the company’s goals and how to achieve them. It is important to have everyone at a company understand how their role is valuable and how they help achieve those goals. People want to be a part of something, and they want to feel they add value. Companies need to protect and develop their most vital asset, their people. Win the people game and this takes you a long way to being successful. 

  • What business books do you recommend? Why do you think they are beneficial?

“You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader: How Anyone, Anywhere, Can Make a Positive Difference” by Mark Sanborn. 

It discusses how true leadership is not about the position you hold, but by your everyday actions and how those actions influence others. It discusses how you can become a person others look to for positive actions in reaching goals and not be bogged down by influences that are not contributing to the goals you are trying to achieve. It was given to me earlier in my career, during a time when I was frustrated, not moving quick enough up the corporate ladder. It helped me refocus my mindset, changing my actions and focusing on mentoring. This mindset helped me to become an important contributor, knowing I was being valuable to the company. I started measuring myself by the number of people who turned to me for help in solving problems regardless of who they reported to.

  • What other tips or insights can you share that you have learned in your work experiences?

I try to spend more time focused on what I call the ‘Circle of Influence’. There is a small circle of things you have complete influence over, a larger circle of things you have some influence on, and a much larger circle in which you have no influence. I focus on spending most of my time on the first two circles, because those contribute to goals. As a secondary benefit, they also help you become efficient because you are not wasting time working on or worrying about things which you cannot change or influence. Lastly, it helps you avoid getting bogged down on anything negative.

  • What is a must have item in your office?

A cold Pepsi.

  • What is your favorite lunch spot in Kansas City?

The patio at Silo Modern Farmhouse