Up front I have to be honest, I graduated college with two bachelor degrees. In four years I earned a degree in American History, with an emphasis in 1865 to present. I also earned a degree in Religion, with an emphasis in biblical history. [youtube pXOpWde4C7M]
I know I probably just lost half my readers with the boringness of my education but I still have a point to make. If we are a leader in ministry, an organization, or a business, finances are a part of our daily world. At the EntreLeadership event I was fascinated by a conversation around "Retained Earnings." Dave Ramsey defined retained earnings as the savings account for small business.
I was really challenged by the thought of, "How could we lead our not-for-profit organizations and develop retained earnings?" (Non-profit accounting calls them net assets.) I think organizations have a tendency to fall back on some tools and feel like it's enough: budgets, revenue and expense forms, and cash flow. To use a sports phrase these are all great defensive tools. These tools are, "We must protect this house!"
I believe that where we struggle the most in the not-for-profit sector is our offense. The Ramsey team shared that if they hired a sales person they would never bring that person in and say, "Here's what we need from you...40 hours a week of sales. Go get'em." Their organization sets very clear expectations for their sales force on how to fill that time!
Do you do this to help your teams? You can't tell someone to cook hamburgers without teaching them how to press the meat, season the meat, light and clean the grill, identify when to flip the burger, and when to take a hamburger off. I'd be more willing to bet that the end result you are looking for from your people is more complex than grilling a burger.
Meeting a budget is hard work and you need to coach people how to be offensive and not just defensive. Do not just provide very detailed defensive tools, coach people what to do in their time rather than just tell people how much time to spend.