School Business Affairs March 2019 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | MARCH 2019 5 “ L eadership is a deliberate action. It occurs when something happens; it is not passive. Leadership results in change. We work in a change environment and changes come in various forms. Often, we are forced into accidental change, but accidents are not leadership. When there is an accidental change, lead- ers often emerge; however, leadership must involve a deliberate action to shape the envi- ronment. If change does not occur, leadership has not occurred.” (Author unknown) This is one of my favorite quotes about leadership because it reinforces the important relationship between leading effectively and successfully facilitating change. It also recog- nizes that purposeful or deliberate action by leaders is critical to achieving impactful or sus- tainable organizational change—to bringing about change that “sticks.” School business officials play a key role in leading and managing the change process in their districts. School boards, superinten- dents, and principals as well as teachers, sup- port staff, and the community look to school business officials to use their knowledge and experience to analyze and improve existing processes and systems. Effective SBOs continuously research and evaluate potential opportunities or innovative solutions that may reduce costs, improve effi- ciency, and/or enhance service levels. They are logical yet creative thinkers, seeking options and challenging assumptions while incorporat- ing research into decision making. Recognizing the importance of teamwork and the value of a variety of perspectives, effective SBOs respect and welcome input from others, fostering collaboration and empowering others. They share their lessons learned with their colleagues. Key Elements Effective leadership is essential to successful change. Key elements in managing the change process from a leadership perspective include: • Build trust. This is critical to building sup- port and for helping reduce possible resis- tance to change. • Identify stakeholders. Understand who needs to be involved in the change process, who the potential influencers are, and who may or will be impacted by change. • Start with “why.” Clarify, early on in the change process, why change is needed or necessary. Define the change and its alignment to your district’s goals or stra- tegic plan. • Develop a communication strategy. Com- municate intentionally and regularly with those involved in the change process and those impacted by change. • Listen carefully and be open to feedback. Be willing to adjust the change process based on feedback received from stakeholders. • Measure the change process. Formulate a methodology or metrics for evaluating the success or effectiveness of the change. Leading with Vision Any time two or more school business officials get together to talk about a new software sys- tem, the latest GASB statement, best practices in risk management, or any other school- business-related topic, the discussion inevitably turns to how those new products, policies, or resources benefit the students in their district. Clearly, our vision as leaders is to ensure our schools and districts provide the resources and services our students need to succeed in school and beyond. We do that by leading and managing change. Leading for Change By Tom Wohlleber, CSRM president’s message Tom Wohlleber Chief Financial Officer Casa Grande (Arizona) Elementary School District Charles E. Peterson, Jr. MBA, PRSBA, SFO Immediate Past President Marvin Dereef Jr., SFO Director through 2020 Bill Sutter, SFO Director through 2020 Michael Johnston Director through 2019 Angela Von Essen Director through 2019 2019 Board of Directors WORKING TOGETHER to ma ke a difference Claire Hertz, CSBA, SFO Vice President Susan Harkin Director through 2021 John Hutchison, CPA, SFO Director through 2021