Abstract

CEOs need to invest intentionally and annually in professional development for key staff in order to achieve the objectives of the Strategic Plan.

 

Adding a New Asset

Many nonprofits are service industry corporations with few fixed assets.*  That means the success of your company is the result of your wise use of two items:

  1. Assets (Cash and other Assets – Depreciation)
  2. Temporary Assets (Labor Costs and Materials Cost)

 

Meir Russ argues that you need to take your key managerial training expense out of the Income Statement (Expensed at a year or less) and make a supplemental Balance Sheet with a new category of Managerial Assets. So the success of your company is now the result of your wise use of three items:

  1. Assets (Cash and other Assets – Depreciation)
  2. Temporary Assets (Labor Costs and Materials Cost)
  3. Managerial Assets (Training and Professional Development Investment – Depreciation)

 

The rationale is that we invest in our key managers with the expectation that they will bring new skills to work everyday and that new productivity will last more than one year. This is not that novel an idea in other industries. Performers already look at life this way. They insure parts of their body with the expectation that its value will last more than one year. “As the Beatles sang “I wanna hold your hand”, their business managers were busy insuring their fingers for £200,000 – a colossal sum at the time…. More recently Bruce Springsteen’s voice was covered for $3 million.” (Hunter, 2003)

 

Let’s assume that your average key staff member has a job tenure of 5 years in your company. Create a supplemental Balance Sheet that records the professional development asset and depreciate the expense over that period of time instead of the normal pattern to expense it all in the year that it occurs.

 

The result is to showcase whether you leverage talent with training or are satisfied with the current state of affairs. If the new account has a balance of $0, I can predict the failure of your Strategic Plan.

 

Intentional Investment for Success

Your key players face the struggle to implement the Strategic Plan. If they don’t do it – what is your Plan B? The Strategic Plan, by definition, is not easy. Your key managers need to improve their skills to meet the challenge of tomorrow. Placing those expenses on the balance sheet gives attention to :

  1. What is a reasonable investment yearly in managerial development?
  2. Does that manager have an IDP (Individual Development Plan) and are they happy or resistant to work on it?
  3. Are some key players in danger of skill aging and need to get one more chance and discussion about moving forward or transition in the next year? One problem of strategic planning is a key manager can be valuable in one strategic advance and not really interested in the continuing journey.

 

Like anything else I write about, these conversations are about as pleasant as a trip to the dentist. But the CEO is solely responsible for the wise use of labor, materials, and assets to accomplish the Strategic Plan. Leveraging the value of your managers is arguably the most strategic action that you can take. Publicly reporting it will make sure it happens and it’s also a better way of looking at leading the company than Financial Accounting allows.

 

Increase Tenure of Key Managers

All of us have a dream of who we can be. I have met very few employees who really feel that they are in the perfect place. I can tell you that if you tell a key employee that you are willing to invest $5,000 every year in their professional development, you are guaranteed to extend their time in your agency. Your reports will feel appreciated and understood.

 

You can’t keep progressing on the Strategic Plan when key talent quits repeatedly. They take too much institutional history and culture with them.

 

Tell your board that you can keep a key staff member Ms. Gold 7 years instead of 5 years for $35,000 ($5,000 per year). Mention that you can implement a key objective of the Strategic Plan with the help Ms. Gold. If I could get that bargain, I’d give the extra $35,000 myself!

 

Conclusion

You are richer than you thought. Those managerial Professional Development Costs are not going to be used in one year. They are going to stay for year 2, and year 3, and year 4 ……..  They are one of your keys to complete the Strategic Plan.  You simply must treat them that way.

 

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*Hospitals and museums are examples of capital intensive nonprofits. The rationale of the managerial reclassifying of expenses should still be valid.

 

 

 

Hunter, Teresa. “What Price an Arm or a Leg?” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 29 Jan. 2003. Web. 07 June 2016.

 

Russ, Meir. Management, Valuation, and Risk for Human Capital and Human Assets Russ (2014-10-15). Management, Valuation, and Risk for Human Capital and Human Assets: Building the Foundation for a Multi-Disciplinary, Multi-Level Theory . 1st ed. New York City: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

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