Planning and Budgeting: Critical Advice for the President and Cabinet

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This week, we interviewed Pat Sanaghan, president of The Sanaghan Group, who has worked with dozens of institutions to coach them through a collaborative and effective strategic planning and budgeting process. We wanted to ask what advice he would most want college and university presidents and members of their cabinets to hear. This is what Sanaghan shared with us.

Academic Impressions (AI): What is the one perspective you would most want to share with college and university leaders, related to strategic planning and budgeting?

Pat Sanaghan: After 30 years, what I've found is that the level of trust in the system is the single most critical factor in the success of a planning and budgeting process. If the level of trust in the process is low, then the president and other leaders of the institution need to work intentionally to build a higher level of trust, or the plan won't be implemented. You need other things -- you need transparency, you need effective leadership, good data, an external, environmental scan -- but the most critical thing is trust.

If you have high trust, people across the institution are more willing to share both their aspirations and their fears. They will be more willing to address the tough issues.

If you have low trust, they hunker down. They become antagonistic.

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