Making the Case for Communicating about Budget
Building shared understanding of financial realities and possibilities
The Brief Case 📚→💼→📈→📊
"One of the difficult things about making decisions is it reduces opportunity in the short-term, but that’s the only thing that really creates great opportunity in the long-term.”
A Head of School once described a stretch at one of his jobs as “mainly just punching numbers into a calculator and praying I’d be able to make payroll.” Other school Heads leave such activities to a Chief Financial Officer (CFO). And then other Heads worry about neither payroll nor CFOs, but sweat the details of capital campaigns. All schools and their chief executive officers have unique relationships with dollars and cents, cashflow, revenue in and expenses out.
It would be difficult to shift such relationships, as they are often dictated by external factors. To survive and ultimately flourish, some schools need to keep the lights on, some schools need to take on debt, some schools need to build a new building, some schools need to stabilize an endowment. The list could go on, and often, the steps of each sequence are predetermined.
More open to shifts, however — or at least discussions — are a school’s communication practices as they relate to its budget. Though the default is often for leaders to say very little to school faculty and staff about the institution’s financial picture, enhanced strategic communication about such matters could uncover value. Communication practices, after all, allow for upgrades in mindset and behavior on the individual level and increased performance on the institutional level.