Monday, May 18, 2015

Budget as a Team!?

Would it work? Can the team manage a budget as a team? Nothing says empowerment like giving responsibility of managing money. So why not give the team a budget to manage? If course things could really run afoul and it's easy to imagine how, but lets focus for a bit on the potential benefits. A sure benefit is that the team would have full exposure to the workings of the budgeting aspect of the business. How often are asks denied or ignored because they would "cost too much"? Of course, the team may have some great ideas about how to improve things and they may carry a cost. Often enough, denial of perfectly good ideas can be detrimental to morale. In this case, the improvements would be weighed against the budget and more innovative approaches may emerge. More importantly, morale crushing would be based on reality instead of "because I said so". Approve budget increases and supplements. There's no sense in implementing a strategy of giving the team a budget without allowing for necessary increases and approvals. Of course the team would have to show why this is necessary, but that's what managers would need to do anyways. If the team has to ask the manager first, unless the manager is fully ingrained in the team and understands the needs, there may be much lost in translation. Who knows best about how a team can function better than the team? That is, unless you have a bunch that just doesn't love what they do. In that case it's time to revamp. If you have the right people, they will be more than willing and plenty able to make decisions responsibly given the information and proper authority. The role of the manager in this case would be to understand the priorities and set the goals. Imagine that your job is to plan a weekend trip to build a team. The trip would include challenges that the team would have to overcome by working together. What challenges would you devise for them? Who would emerge as leaders? Who would glue the team together? Who would provide moral support? So much of the team dynamic would emerge from such a weekend! What if that dynamic could exist every day! One way to challenge a team regularly in the office could be through continual planning in the area of improvement! This can be even more of a challenge if the team is responsible for the budget allocated toward improvement. As far as implementing this Budget as a Team approach, a manager may be inclined to give this a trial run with a portion of the budget...kudos! Just keep at it for consecutive budget seasons, allow for some mistakes, and celebrate successes! When things start going well, increase application. Set the course. What if you notice that there is a lack of knowledge in certain areas within your team? How can you address this through setting up a challenge for the team? Why not put it to the team? Set a budget, have the team work on the problem, be open to them asking for more if needed, they will justify it. Even if the justification seems outrageous. If the funds are not available or cannot be allocated, show them why. Perhaps they will be able to find other means of obtaining funding, or they will modify the solution. I would love to hear from anyone who has done this. Did it succeed? Share your success stories! Did it crash and burn? What was the root cause of failure? How can others do better? Is this strategy just simply bound for failure? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

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