Erin K. Green, MBA, RSBA
Director of Business
Greendale School District
Question and Answer Forum
Most strategic plans that fail are typically feature oriented instead of being outcomes based. Understanding that, the ASBO Board developed an outcome based strategic plan. Outcomes-based planning concentrates on understanding member needs and articulating what benefits the association has that respond to those needs that enhance the school business official’s effectiveness and school system. As a member of the ASBO Board and sitting as a leader for 6,000 school business officials, what do you think are some of the skills and needs the school business official will need in the next 5-10 years that ASBO should begin to focus on?
Erin Green Answer 1:
The management of the educational enterprise in the next 10 years is going to likely follow a path similar to what U.S. and global corporations, and other non-profits have done in terms of “right” sizing its operation, accomplishing more with fewer resources, and inviting “critical friend” feedback from our customers. Jim Collins, in his most recent publication, “Good to Great and the Social Sectors,” writes that leaders of non-profit operations, such as schools, have many skills already that corporations functioning in a global economy will need, such as skills in managing diverse groups of people (think parents, taxpayers, legislators, students, staff, foundations) without direct control, skills in coalition building, collaboration, visioning and strategic planning.
ASBO can begin to focus on these areas of skills impacting School Business Officials in our near future:
Understanding how to support the changing landscape of education--its globalization, distance and internet learning elements, changing curriculum towards immediate relevance to the work world
Coalition building and collaboration skills involving visioning and strategic thinking; managing diverse groups without direct control
Understanding the new roles of “strategic partnerships” with private and non-profit sector groups as a resource in the business of education
Applied tech-savvy skills to solve problems
Skills in encouraging “critical friend” feedback to constantly improve operations
Skills in adaptability, flexibility, persuasion, innovative and creative thinking, resilience, team building , inclusion skills, coaching/mentoring, effectively and gracefully transferring power to the “up and comers”, and educating and listening to the “stakeholders” in education, including the private/corporate sector.
Many associations are experiencing drops in membership. Associations that are maintaining or increasing in membership are offering a value for the member’s investment. While ASBO is experiencing a rise in membership, the leadership and staff must continue to look at the value-add component of its membership. As a board member, what are some of the potential value-add components ASBO could be offering?
Erin Green Answer 2:
ASBO needs to focus on the areas of most critical value to members, which may be providing true cutting edge, visionary leadership training that is linked to an ASBO or state provided certification or professional development credits. Some of the possible ways this can be done, knowing that training/travel dollars are shrinking and legislatively being limited are:
Expanding internet based learning, webinars, live learning centers, virtual learning.
Providing a blog to discuss areas of high interest.
Providing a repository of “best practice” ideas by members for members.
Providing a means to do original research, on relevant critical topics such as how to best finance education, or determining which factors in organizing/operating schools really impact student achievement. This could aid legislators in reforming education.
Sharing effective methods of educating the public on educational operations and needs.
A perfect example of a “value added” component is the Maryland/DC ASBO platform for school purchasing, a sort of “Amazon.com” for schools, which compares prices on the services/items schools buy to drill down to the best pricing available today, and purchases them efficiently on line. Wisconsin has a unique Facilities Manager certification program.
There are many other useful tools and training being developed by many affiliates, which could be shared.
In your opinion, what is going to be the key and most important issue that school business officials face in the next 5 years, and how should we begin to deal with that issue
Erin Green Answer 3:
The most important issue may be how SBO’s will deal with the siege on public education. How will we respond to cost cutting pressures fueled by declining revenue from the housing crisis, skyrocketing energy, pension and health care costs, and the collapsing economy? When most workers today are losing wages and benefits, how can we cut expenses in a way that impacts learning and achievement positively? How can we diversify our revenue streams to reduce the burden on the property tax? How can we assist in turning “the ship of education” to embrace the “globalization” education students need in understanding other county’s politics, economies, geography, and culture?
We can begin to address it by ratcheting up our professional development in innovative ways, encompassing on line learning, blogs, and an ASBO led “think tank” effort bringing together creative education, legislative and corporate leaders to brainstorm other ways of delivering the product of education. We have to admit we don’t have all the answers, encourage “critical friend” feedback, and shared visioning among these leaders. We could start right with our own corporate partners.
In beginning to address this, we will have to be part of the solution to remake education, in a way that meets the expectations of Gen-Xers and Millennials. We will need them to fill our jobs. What they find important may be very different than the Boomer generation. Younger generations may have more concern about living a workable lifestyle, providing time for family, being better stewards of the environment, and taking steps to live healthy lifestyles in order to get a handle on health care costs. They may understand that schools play a huge role in developing these values, as they can model the behaviors.