School Business Affairs March 2019

Managing Change in the School Business Profession Flexibility is the key to managing change in the profession. By WorkingSBM I can’t imagine that anyone really wants to be famous: unable to nip into your local market to pick up a few vegetables or walk through town in your scruffy jeans without being photographed and splashed all over the front pages. No thank you, that’s not for me— and probably not for you. However, we do want recognition for the work we do and the effect we have as school business admin- istrators. Having been a school business manager (or SBM as we call ourselves) in the United King- dom for more than 15 years, I can see that our role is changing more rapidly than ever before. But I don’t believe that is necessarily bad. We just have to adapt and be flexible, and we have to ensure that our skills continue to affect our organizations positively. For many of us, that means our jobs will probably change beyond all recognition in the next few years. I sometimes wonder whether we are ready for that. Opportunity in Change Continuous change is hard work, especially if you don’t agree with the direction of travel, as many don’t. It can be frustrating, disorienting, and demoralizing. But I’ve noticed some advantages that everyone has the opportunity to grasp, if they choose: Leadership. The SBM’s skills are a necessary part of the education leadership structure, and more so now than ever before. They might not lead to a massive salary increase, but they do lead to formal recogni- tion of the part you play in leading your school. Training. In the UK, as schools work together and grow into larger multi-academy trusts, SBMs have more time and opportunities to undertake focused professional training and to specialize in areas such as finance, human resources, health and safety, and property man- agement. Such professional develop- ment gives them formal transferable skills to take with them on their career path. Networking. During the past two years, our professional networks have been strengthening. SBMs are not limiting their influence to their immediate area but are sharing best practices across the country and around the world. I predict that this movement will continue to grow. Of course, even with our newly recognized leadership responsibili- ties, qualifications, and global net- works, we don’t all have to “do” education in the same way. It’s easy to see that we still have much to learn from one another. Taking the Lead The increased recognition of my own role as an SBM has resulted, amazingly, in my being accepted to take seven students to the Change the World Model United Nations conference in New York this month. They will represent not only our school trust and the UK, but also the UN country we have been assigned: Côte d’Ivoire. I don’t have to tell you that I am beyond excited. The opportunity to support these young people at this prestigious event is a mind-blowing responsibility that I could never have imagined until just recently. (So having never been to the United States, I am trying hard not to imagine experiencing New York City on the basis of some of my favorite TV shows, such as Elemen- tary , Friends , and Fame .) I have a lot of work to do before we go to ensure that the students get the most out of this experience. As Ms. Grant said in the opening scenes of Fame : “You want fame. Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying. With sweat.” WorkingSBM is a school business administrator in the United Kingdom. Follow her on Twitter @workingsbm2017 or contact her at . MANAGING CHANGE SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | MARCH 2019 27 SUPACHAI/STOCK.ADOBE.COM