Friday, July 23, 2004

Budget Crunch

I watch my clients struggle with budgets….budget meetings, templates, gathering information from staff as to what’s needed to “keep the lights on”. 

Important?  Yes. 

Staff hears this day after day and in some cases week after week.  The powers that be consistently come back with directions to cut further; create a “leaner” organization.  So again meetings take place and budgets are further trimmed.

First thing on the chopping block, training plans.  Staff is told both directly and indirectly that they’re growth isn’t as important as a piece of new software, new desks, lights, telephones.  Budgets are cut yet expectations of deliverables stay the same.  “Do more with less” they’re told. 

Knowledge in itself isn’t power.  Applied knowledge is.  People are the most valuable resource.  Without them what is the point of “keeping the lights on” and for whom exactly are those lights kept on?  People.

Who runs our computers, collects and shares that information and to what purpose?  Hopefully to make people’s lives better in some way.  Yet the people in an organization are the first to be discounted, ignored, burned out and held back. 

Leaders create an environment in which everyone has the opportunity to realise his potential capability.

"Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival." - W. Edwards Deming

To grow future leaders we must give them the opportunity to learn and expand their skills and knowledge.  Not only does cutting their training stem that flow, but the work overload assures the fact they’ll not have the time to do anything more than the same old same old nor the energy to pull themselves forward.

Organizational leaders meet to create strategic plans for the future.  Ask yourselves, without the human resources to implement the strategy, are you moving forward at all?  Who will your next leaders be, or will you get to the point where you’re ready to pass the baton on to the next player only to find he/she doesn’t exist?

Succession plans don’t solve these problems.  Making changes right now will.

"The goal of executive coaching is the goal of good management: To make the most of an organization's most valuable resources." – Harvard Business Review. 

The first step is showing your people they count.

Donna Karlin


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