Archives for the month of: July, 2013

A recent survey of business officers, performed by the magazine Inside Higher Ed, revealed some troubling data.  A little more than one in four CFOs are confident in the viability of their institution’s financial model over the next five years.  It declines to about one in eight when the timeframe extends to ten years.  To quote a former US President, “I feel their pain.”  The challenge, however, is to move beyond the problem identification phase toward identifying what a different game plan might look like.

In essence, I want to talk with the one in four or one in eight who believe their strategy will win.  No doubt, some of them are from institutions that have established a well-defined niche within the mind of their constituency and benefit from the combination of oversold demand and well-honed capacity constraints.  Those would certainly be interesting conversations but I would then drill deeper.

I have spoken with some who have identified what the book Switch calls “bright spots.”  They have incorporated within the plan a constituent driven approach to developing their institution to meet the challenges of today head on.  I want to speak with more of these people and learn how they have overcome the longing to return to life as we once knew it, delivering instead a new pathway toward progress, success and mission fulfillment.  Let me share with you what I have learned so far from those who are overcoming the current tide of change.

First, they recognize the power of technology as a medium for teaching.  We’re not talking about creating a course full of PowerPoint presentations and clever injections of a video or two.  These institutions realize that their market, both traditional and adult, has grown up with technology, uses it constantly, has replaced a good deal of face to face socializing with it, use it to queue up movies and actually have adopted it as the primary expression of their life.  Facebook and its descendants are here to stay, as is Netflix.  Cable, the former bastion of technology in the home, might not make the cut in ten years.

Those of us who remember November 22, 1963 were prone to ask our kids to assist us with newfangled phones, computers and remote controls.  Now, ten year-olds are being taught by a late thirties mom or dad who are digital natives.  It’s not just nifty anymore, technology is an integral part of life for both the traditional and adult learner of today.

Second, moving onto campus and attending classes is just not practical for many students.  Though having a bricks and mortar presence remains a need, the classroom is no longer a singular space where learning takes place.  Newer expressions of media are not only more appealing to the student of today, they may be the only possible way for a student to enroll in advanced studies.

My son-in-law is a seminary student who is in a blended program at a nearby University.  Some days, he travels the hour-long journey to hear a professor lecture about this or that.  There is interaction within the class and he truly enjoys that.  But, as a dad who lives close to his wife’s work, online classes have proven to be a tremendous asset.  At a minimum, he can redirect two hours of commuting time toward reading, studying and preparing his posts and papers.  The online courses are nearly identical to in-seat, with a video of the professor on the left and his or her series of slides and illustrations on the right.  He can stop, rewind, take notes (on his IPad) or send off messages to other students, all in the comfort of his home office, while his toddlers take their daily nap.

Class sub-teams connect online for chat sessions where collaborative projects are coordinated and progress reported. Questions can be posted, with classmates responding or the faculty member, should it require a more experienced response.  The lecture is recognized for what it is, and what is has been for centuries; an experience where information is conveyed but not necessarily where the majority of learning occurs.

Third, technology may be considered recreational or administrative by some leaders but let me suggest that it can enhance the entire residential experience as well.  The all-campus email became a replacement of the tree-killing daily memo.  It just doesn’t cut it anymore.  Better to post a video on the campus website for today’s news and announcements.  A student worker can deliver needed information, with various guests providing entertaining ads, plugging social, spiritual and athletic activities.  Posting daily video could rescue information conveyance from the delete button, creating an opportunity for every budding extravert to produce the next viral infomercial.  “Did you see Jeremy on the news today?  He was awesome.”

Soon, technology will have to go beyond the one to one sharing of information bits.  Campuses will need their own chat rooms, an electronic forum for daily discussion topics about issues of campus / world importance, a way to share requests for research assistance or for rides here and there.  It’s called embracing technology, and students will be convinced that they have it much better than the other places they had considered going.  Some think it only applies to learning and recreation but technology has a lot to do with the living experience as well.  Soon, such a ubiquitous experience could be one of the primary differences between a good and a great campus.

Fourth, campuses on the move are identifying and delivering new programs to meet the demands of today’s learner.  More than just a technology conversation, new curriculum, majors and whole departments are springing up at the best institutions.  Added to this characteristic is the willingness to jettison that which doesn’t make sense anymore and the idea of a comprehensive roll-out, complete with marketing and student service components.  Today’s new program rollout is more akin to what is seen when Apple or Google introduce a new product.  We could learn from them.

Finally, (and I realize this is self-serving), campuses on the move have reduced as much variability from their forecasting as possible.  They break down their plans into specific, measurable processes and inputs.  Leaders own their part of the plan and report on how closely they are delivering staged results.  Surprises are fewer and of lesser magnitude.  Quantifying the variables is a critical first step, with realistic goals for each area and accountability for results.  These institutions know what is available for investment and what needs to be delivered to meet the plan. Excuses no longer exist for those who operate on an annual, budgetary crisis approach.

I’d be happy to talk further with you about this.  It is, after all, the right kind of discussion, among colleagues.

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Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing this week gives us all pause for thought.  The blogosphere has no shortage of opinions on why the city had to resort to such a drastic action.  People blame unions, auto manufacturers, the one or two percent of highest earners, even the federal government.

Most who have had responsibility for an organization or two recognize that the blame falls squarely on management.  One could argue that the voters who put management in place shoulder a good deal of the blame but there is little evidence that choosing one way or another at the voting booth would have altered this outcome materially.

Here’s a chart that symbolizes the challenges of managing Detroit.  Detroit population  It is based on US Census Data and is in a PowerPoint format.  The first half of the 20th century saw a meteoric rise in its population, first with the growth of the auto industry and then in the 1940s when the needs of the war department commandeered all of that industrial capacity.  The fifties and sixties were prosperous in the region but those who could afford to relocated to the burgeoning suburbs.  Twin energy crises of the 1970s leveled a major blow to the auto industry, shrinking population all the more, with another bout of that same malady occurring between 2000 and 2010.

The decline that began in the 1950s became a rout.  Government was always a step behind.

What can we learn from this when it comes to managing higher education?  I believe plenty.  We have already seen how an economic downturn affects the family’s willingness and ability to pay.  Increasing levels of debt are an uncomfortable truth that haunts the industry.  And the modern day equivalent to the flight to the suburbs could be the growth of non-traditional programs, online offerings, community colleges and the MOOC.

The question I wish could be asked of those who were in charge of Detroit in the 1950s is whether they understood why the city was beginning its decline.  I do not have an exhaustive set of data on this but it would seem that the 20 year period from 1950 to 1970 should have been instructive to city planners.  Perhaps they thought that industrial expansion would save the city, relying on tax receipts from growing businesses while the residential population declined.  Maybe they were too consumed with trying to take care of what appears to be a decline in economic prosperity of residents during that time.  The state or federal government may have been a source of greater support to stem the tide of a declining tax base.

By the end of the 1960s the decline in population had become a race for the exit.  Riots in the later 1960s followed by the lost decade of the 1970s had to be too much for the city to bear.  And so it went.

Am I suggesting that higher ed is in the equivalent of Detroit in the 1950s?  I don’t see this as universally true but, in some quarters or segments, it could be.  As a group, smaller, private institutions are struggling to contend with declines in traditional enrollments.  Larger institutions, offering greater amenities and program breadth, are hard to compete with, particularly when higher prices seem to correlate with a more significant campus.  Then, even if the net price is higher for the larger institution, the amount of grant money, given in the form of flattery, becomes very attractive to the incoming student and his or her proud parents.

And healthier institutions are not sitting still.

I attended a church strategic planning session this past week and found the ending comment by the facilitator to be spot on.  A church begins with a vision, followed by enthusiastic growth, meeting of people’s spiritual, physical and social needs, the addition of ministry-related programs and, finally, a more significant organizational structure – and a building.  It declines in much the same way when vision goes away and the support for each component erodes.  A dying church only has its structure – or a building – to represent what it once was.

The challenge for churches that are in the last days of their existence is to avoid the desire to return to the past.  That is, rather than attempting to go backward by re-adding formerly robust programs and then attempting to meet people’s needs, the rebirth of a church requires beginning with a new vision.  The Bible says that without a vision, the people perish.  An interpretation of that is that a visionless institution leads to anarchy.  Not a pretty picture and certainly an unsustainable approach to growth.

I thus conclude this with the encouragement for a higher ed institution to honestly assess its current performance within the context of the market.  Are you growing?  If so, the vision should reflect that and identify strategies that fill in the created gaps created by growth.  Have you struggled?  Don’t feel compelled to create a vision that is unattainable or overly optimistic.

Establish a realistic, measurable vision that allows for reasonable goal-setting.  Supporting strategies should accommodate the emerging trends of higher education, including adult learners, online course offerings, accelerated calendars for traditional students, the institution of popular programs and the physical needs of the institution.  And don’t forget to invest in the people who will be carrying out this process.  They need support and development to achieve even the most reasonable goals.  Program review is also needed so that those programs that are lagging are either adjusted or jettisoned to make room for more defensible ones.  Set milestone goals to be achieved each year and hold yourself to them by making people accountable for their piece of the plan.  This is hard work and may not look as wonderful as what has been prepared in the past. It’s not about egos.

In the end, we don’t want others to look back at this time in our institutional history and conclude that this or that obvious trend was obviously ignored.  It is a time for a new vision, for bold strategies, for accountability and for results.

While I have been writing about higher ed, this is a general interest piece that I worked on over a period of time.

So, you have finally been rewarded with the corner office.  Getting there may have involved a series of challenges but that is irrelevant history until ten years from now when interviewed for your memoir.  What do you do now?

Successful leaders of anything larger than a sole proprietorship have in common one characteristic; they attract and retain solid lieutenants, even while knowing that many of them have aspirations for the corner office as well.  Consider the following nine ideas as this process unfolds.

  1.  The best people aren’t always looking.

I am amazed by how many well-respected organizations believe that merely posting a high-level position will bring in the best candidates.  With all due respect to Adam Smith’s invisible hand, the belief that a general solicitation is sufficient for the task requires a few presumptions.  First, good people have to be looking around.  Most are so busy and have little time to do much snooping, though they may be restless where they are.  Second, applicants have to invest the time it takes to trumpet their accomplishments.  Some high achievers do not possess the associated ego.   Third, most successful people have friends and foes.  In fact, there is a good chance that a top tier performer left a place because of a strained relationship with the boss.  When everyone with a little controversy is filtered out, no risk takers are left.  The remnant is all too eager to apply.

The most expensive investment for top-tier search firms is acquiring lists of names.  Those of us who have served in leadership positions over the years recognize the heavy stock letterhead that announces a position at a similar organization and asks if “you or a colleague may be interested in discussing this opportunity.”  Some keep these letters for a while or forward them to others who they have been grooming for the next move.

It is clearly who you know that brings in the best of the best.  Conversations with trade group leaders, retired executives, bankers, auditors and attorneys can provide inroads into the realm of the non-looking.  Most of these do not wish to put their name in the hat for a multi-step process.  You need to sell them on why this is a good place to move and create a compensation and responsibility package that will make it appealing for them to upend their current situation.

Posting jobs and paying minimal sums for advertising represents a lazy way to attract talent.  Go out and get them.

2.  Money talks

“I’ll gladly take a pay cut to take on more responsibility and risk,” said no one, ever.  Leaders are keenly aware that they have given up personal and family time, hobbies, volunteer activities and even moneymaking opportunities because of their career.  Give them credit for their years of hard work when apportioning vacation time.  Put a bonus package together with a component that is merely a thank you for remaining with the organization while also offering added, substantial rewards for exemplary performance.  Pay them at the top of their peer group.  Vacation costs you nothing.  Bonuses tend to be more than offset by organizational performance.  Paying well adds little to the organization’s total cost but guarantees that the best will be on the team.

The mechanisms organizations create relative to compensation are almost comical.  A less than stellar executive retires and is replaced by an arguably better person.  The CEO states that the new person can’t make what the old person made because they are … younger.  Small wonder that a stellar executive will find such a stricture motivational – to find a new position elsewhere.

There is also the industry standard approach.  “We’ll pay you at the 60th percentile …”  So, are the other 40% better?  I am not suggesting that a financially constrained organization invest inordinate sums to hire Warren Buffett.  Rather, an extra 20% will not tend to cause undue financial harm and may just land the kind of person who can unfetter those recurring financial problems.

3.  Rarely is it both their faults

Ask an executive why they left somewhere and the answer often relates to leadership style.  “I couldn’t see eye to eye with the leader or one of his lieutenants.”  Digging deeper, one finds a characteristic of weak leadership is to play one lieutenant against another.  This can be particularly frustrating when one of those being played is materially less equipped for the task than the other.  The more experienced person may wind up bogged down by the engine blocks being thrown in his path and finds himself constantly in the mode of explaining and defending.  It’s an exhausting process that I have seen played out all too often.

A good leader assesses the capabilities of the team and weighs in on squabbles.  My question to the leader is whether he would miss one or both of the people who seem to be constantly in conflict.  Depending on the answer, my next recommendation is to release one or both of them.  In the interim, I recommend establishing in the mind of the less experienced lieutenant the perspective that the attacks must end.  Because those with lower levels of experience lack the options for employment enjoyed by others, a heads up is appropriate.  Otherwise, the challenges remain intact while a revolving door cycles through good people who get fed up.

4.  “All business, all the time” leads to unenjoyable business

I am amazed at how little is invested by leaders in building relationships.  The team assembles, discusses business ad nauseum and adjourns.  Occasionally they eat a meal together or attend some sort of entertainment venue.  Team building involves silly exercises from a book of ice breakers.

During a lull in the action, I have calculated how much per hour a retreat is costing.  Considering salary and benefits, the total annual comp was over $900,000, or around $450 per hour for our collective gathering time.  A twenty hour retreat thus cost $9,000 in compensation.

What is interesting is that the cost of retreat accommodations was a fraction of that.  There was little in the way of team building scheduled and the hotel was nice, but no resort.

My suggestion?  These are the people who will make or break a leadership tenure.  Go to a great place.  Schedule in significant time for interpersonal interaction.  Limit the agenda to a few big ideas.  Brainstorm, laugh and encourage each other.  Make every person who is worth keeping on the team want to remain on the team.  If people are found to be less than capable interpersonally in such situations, consider whether they are the right fit.

5.  Encouragement is critical.  Adopting ideas is better.

It is pretty well understood that people need to receive encouragement.  I have worked with those who gush with exemplary statements, telling me how wonderful I was and how lost the organization would be without me.  While all of that is nice, when it is followed by adoption of an initiative of great importance to me, the words are given life.  I am grateful to have experienced this in my career from some exceptional leaders.  I’ve also been praised on the one hand and then had every idea I proposed shot down.  Those are hard days.

My advice to leaders is to praise your team members – specifically and often. Invest the time needed to understand the work that they are doing and make it a point to give kudos for specific accomplishments.  This connects the reward with the activity.  When praise is targeted toward actual accomplishments, the opportunity for correction is not as difficult.

Even more important is to encourage creative thinking on the part of the team and praise ideas with the gift of deployment.  Nothing is more motivating than an idea that has been endorsed and adopted by the team and the leader.  Not every idea has to be bestowed with action.  In the same way, however, never taking action can lead to discouragement and the tap of creativity being shut off.

Will the idea work?  Not always.  Part of the environment that must be engendered is an openness to misfires.  We lick our wounds, learn a few things and move on to the next proposal.  When a failed project results in a public dress down, it pretty much guarantees a future of cautious and conservative activity.  No one wins then.

So, encourage honestly and specifically.  Add weight to that encouragement and praise by adopting the good ideas of those who report to you and serve on your team. And when things don’t go as planned, figure out what was learned and move on.

6.  Effective evaluation of team members

Let me say at the outset that I hate the traditional employee evaluation, aka “performance appraisal” or “PA”.  So often, it is a contrived process that is similar to my kindergarten report card from 1962.  I always was marked off for the handkerchief requirement (remember those?)  I wondered why “always wears his fedora while outside” was not included also.  After all, every man, including James Bond wore one.

Organizations are all over the map with their PA effectiveness.  Too many view it as a required exercise and the results speak for themselves.  A woman thinks all is well throughout the year winds up shocked by the contents of a less than flattering PA, all because something unfortunate happened between her and the reviewer that week. Worse yet is the employee who is universally considered to be inept but scores amazingly well on their PA so that the supervisor can get on with the tyranny of the urgent.

When evaluating the executive team, I like to believe that the goals set at the start of the previous period will form the basis for the review.  In other words, we agreed that you should accomplish these five things.  Either you did or didn’t and, in the process, learned a few things.  Let’s talk about that and then determine what we should accomplish for the next period.  That is a good session.

The new lieutenant needs a few weeks to settle in before meeting with the leader to talk about their goal set.  Upon understand the expectations of the leader, avoid merely having the new person sign off.  Ask for a narrative response that expands how the lieutenant plans to tackle to areas of need, the constraints that are expected and the kinds of results that he or she believe are possible.  It’s even OK to have probabilities assigned of success.  That allows for stretch goals that, if attained, are all the more satisfying.

After the agreed-upon time has elapsed (six months, a year) and prior to the review session, have the lieutenant review the goal set and the narrative, creating a reflection report on progress.  The evaluator (leader) will then consider the original document set and the lieutenant’s reflection before preparing a review.  The goals for the next period are always a separate document set that is processed in the same manner as the first set.  This should take no more than a week of back and forth to accomplish.

A reiteration about encouragement is appropriate here.  Praise the lieutenant specifically about particular accomplishments.  Correction should be approached after sufficient praise and made a part of the ongoing goal set.  This is a time for relationship-building, ending with the statement that the lieutenant is a needed part of the organization.  Ask for feedback, about you as leader and about the organizations focus on success.  What can we do better?  What are we doing that you appreciate.  What can I do to make you more successful?

7.  A work about the troublemaker

Every organization has them.  When I was in the stockbrokerage industry in the 1980s, we would say that what made our brokers so good, made them so bad.  A high producer had to be reined in every so often when his zeal for getting a commission outweighed what was best for the client.  Some were mentioned in the paper for activities that were less than noteworthy.  Sometimes I wanted to fire all of them.  Of course, we would have had no business as a result.

A challenging person who delivers the goods is an important part of any successful organization.  The key is to kindly channel their challenging ways into helpful initiatives for the benefit of the entire place.  It is OK to work with them to address certain interpersonal quirks.  It is also important to be their defender when others attack them on style points.  Success is not defined by everyone liking everyone else. When it is, those who have been challenged by a passionate lieutenant will find the gadfly’s supervisor’s office all too welcoming to criticism by subordinates of the lieutenant.  Unless it is a serious defalcation of behavior, support the gadfly lieutenant.   This is even more necessary when criticism is being leveled by their peers.  Taking sides over style issues is never a worthwhile investment of a leader’s time.  Teams of a singular personality are boring and limiting.

In the end, we have a job to accomplish and may need people who differ fro mour own sense of sensibilities to accomplish that task.  Channel their zeal appropriately and everyone will benefit.

Enjoy the view from the corner!

It seems like I see a story of a student contending with a boatload of educational debt about every other day.  The latest from CNN Money is entitled “Student Loan Horror Stories” and chronicles five people with eye-popping debt and one guy who chose a state school over Cornell, leaving college owing nothing.

In this day of reader replies, I find myself perusing the comments with more interest than the often tainted articles.  Readers were merciless on the photography student who ran up six digit debt, only to “discover” upon graduation that she would not be able to earn enough in her chosen field to finance the loan payments.  She went on for a Master’s in marketing and now works in that field, purportedly making enough to cover her monthly loan payments.

While I am a fan of personal responsibility, it is clear that many of these young people agreed to begin borrowing huge sums of cash on or about their eighteenth birthday.  While I presume the requisite “counseling” occurred to satisfy federal regulations, it is unlikely that the gravity of their decision was explained to them.  We can harp all we want about personal responsibility but with enough of these stories floating about, higher ed will suffer reputational harm, similar what CPAs did in the aftermath of Enron and WorldComm earlier this century.  We can win the argument with, “Hey, we don’t force anyone to borrow,” and lose the battle.  Students like the last one in the article who brag about their subsidized state school will become all the more common.  Something, or things need to be done.

Some private institutions are carving out space for underserved populations who want an Associate’s degree but have no funds.  By pricing the program within the parameters of federal and state grants and with minimal loans (the $150 a month variety) they create the opportunity for a quality education in a nurturing environment.  The total cost of such programs?  About $16,000.

Reliance on local libraries, the internet and a lack of student accoutrements could be construed as negatives for these programs.  After all, the student lives at home and enters the classroom for ten hours a week or so.  It’s not the same as loading up the station wagon and heading off to Alma Mater College for four years of residential bliss.  For first generation students or those who have landed a flexible, good-paying job after high school (maybe in the family business), this is an option that deserves exploration.

The current growth in college online programs appears to be directed to the adult learner but that may be changing.  States are creating full curriculum – free of charge for students to complete a k-12 education at home.  With a growing number of students who have opted for high school under this kind of experience, it is conceivable that an online Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree is ripe for the traditional aged population.  Some pioneers are already making good use of this rapidly developing opportunity.

The bottom line here is that institutions of higher learning do not want celebrated graduation stories of students with six digit debt.  What has been explored here are ways to provide a basic education for lower cost and higher convenience.  This does not address the issues confronting higher education in its traditional configuration.  I’ll explore that at a later time – and get a few people exercised, I’m sure.

Stay tuned, my colleagues.

Hi Everybody

For the past two months, I have been visiting various institutions, learning about their current issues and identifying where I may be able to offer some assistance.  There seem to be a number of parallels and common themes as I go from place to place.  Let me share with you some of my observations.

First, traditional enrollments are struggling.  Only a couple of campuses anticipate an increase for the fall, provided their numbers hold up.  A few are hoping to match last year but the majority are thinking that incoming student numbers will decline.  What is fascinating is that nearly all institutions are not sharing much in the way of these concerns with their constituents.  Years ago, college newsletters showed a few exemplary items and listed areas of concern – the prayer requests.  Alums picked up on both and supported their alma mater accordingly.  Now, for whatever reason, the industry appears to be reluctant to share any of the difficult news.  I am sorry to see this pattern emerge but it has reached the level of common practice.

A second, related trend involves financial aid.  Conventional wisdom says that reductions in enrollment can only be offset by increases in financial aid.  Unfortunately, some are more generous in their aid packages but are not experiencing an offsetting uptick in enrollment.  To confront the great recession, institutions bolstered financial aid dramatically to the point where first year discount rates above 50% became all too common.  A change in philosophy or at least practice is needed to avoid further deterioration in revenues.  It may no longer be possible to effectively buy students.

Third, those who offer non-traditional programs are generally seeing stagnation.  Programs that used to be filled to capacity are struggling to meet start schedule expectations.  Business and Education seem to be the most vulnerable.  Those who are bucking the trend appear to have done so with new programs.  RN to BSN, BSW and MSW are a few that are on the ascent in some places.  The delivery method appears to have shifted to online from face to face.  This requires redoubling retention efforts, among other accommodations.

Fourth, certain big ticket items continue to increase at rates beyond inflation.  Health care costs are probably the most common topic of conversation with respect to the cost of operations.  Strategies for dealing with the Affordable Care Act vary from place to place.  High deductible plans appear to be on the increase, with a few pioneering institutions adding wellness programs and other cost containment initiatives that may not benefit the program for a few years.  Health care inflation is running at 6% to 7% this year, with the anticipation that it will increase similarly for some time to come,

Other big ticket items with extra-inflationary increases include athletic programs (transportation is a big component of this), food costs and commercial real estate being rented for non-traditional programs.  On the horizon are property and casualty insurance premiums, borrowing costs and software maintenance.   P&C insurance has benefitted from a highly competitive “soft” market for a few years.  That may be changing.  Interest rates, particularly on variable rate bonds, have been incredibly low for the past three years as well but we’re seeing signs of a more normal level returning.  Competition has limited the impact of software maintenance contract increases but recent industry consolidation may cause a return to former levels of increase.

Sounds depressing, I know.  A number of CFOs have confided that this may be the most challenging period of time that they have experienced.  I counter that it is a time to mitigate risk as much as possible.  Seek ownership of the overall plan from the various components represented by senior leadership.  Create a measurable plan and monitor it.  And, put everything on the table.  Doing things the same way we have got us to this point.  We need a fresh perspective, particularly when it comes to cost reduction initiatives.  And, don’t forget how important a good offense is.  New, more appealing programs are helping innovative institutions buck current enrollment trends.  After all, you can’t cut your way to health!

I continue to work with institutions on their forecasting for both non-traditional programs and the entire operation.  Banks in particular appear to be pleased with the comprehensive forecast since it is more akin to what commercial enterprises provide.  These tools are cost effective ways to improve communication about the state of the institution among the leadership team and with boards – particularly the finance committee.  I am convinced that planning has never been more important than the present time.

I’m also working on cost containment and reduction while evaluating anticipated revenue streams from new programs.  These are delicate processes that I am not at liberty to share information about.  Suffice it to say, if tuition increases are supposed to be muted, reducing costs in a material way is critical to success, as is the advent of new programs to replace those that are not performing anymore.  Real progress is being made but it takes a measure of courage.  Hard work, to be sure; but necessary in this environment.

Let me finally say that I have gleaned a great deal from conversations with my peers and working along side various colleagues.  Each institution has established a number of best practices that are worth imitating elsewhere and I often come away having learned much more than the client has from me. 

Your needs and aspirations are what CFO Colleague is all about.  I look forward to working together as we navigate new territory. 

See my website:  http://www.cfocolleague.net