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The Consultative Business Officer is an Expert Listener

Posted by Scott Barron on Mar 16, 2015 8:05:28 AM
Scott Barron

How do the board and administrators know that the business officer cares? Because of the genuine effort to listen, connect and support.

The Consultative Business Officer knows that understanding starts withCBO Listen listening. This is a skill at which he/she is distinctly expert, being careful to know the successes, challenges and fears, goals and plans, along with the needs and opportunities.


How does each division or department leader define success? The CBO appreciates that each person has their own mental model of how to Win, and seeks to support that effort. As trust is built, factors for success can be collaboratively aligned with the bigger mission and goals of the district or school. The CBO also helps to identify barriers to success and potential strategies for overcoming them.

Challenges & Fears

School leadership involves interactive relationships board members, parents, employees, students, community leaders, etc. Quite often these are emotionally-charged relationships in which decision making is highly stressful. What keeps those internal clients up at night? The CBO seeks honest answers to this question in order to provide meaningful support. Sometimes they worry about events or budgets, which affords an ideal opportunity for the business office to engage.


What are the goals, strategies, and resources that each administrative leader has identified as a top priority? The CBO helps to clearly communicate expectations and directs the best use of resources for success. Ideas and suggestions are delivered effectively, and accountability is constructively maintained. The CBO understands that (according to Kaplan and Norton):

* 90% of companies fail to execute strategy;

* 85% of executive leaders spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy;

* 60% of organizations fail to link budgets to strategy.

Failure to plan effectively isn't just a school leadership problem but it still is a school leadership problem. Which means the CBO can offer a strong value proposition in this area of planning and execution.

Needs & Opportunities

The CBO consistently seeks opportunities to provide support, proactively identifying ways to optimize work and time. With the advantage of seeing the bigger picture and the ability to connect the dots across the organization and with external companies, the CBO encourages an ecosystem approach to leadership that taps into the wide range of skills and resources that can be utilized to achieve the goals of the school's leadership.

To download a copy of our infographic of the Consultative Business Officer, Click Here. This webinar series continues Tuesday at 2:00 PM ET, with advice on Guiding School Administrators to Fiscal Confidence.

Topics: Webinar, Administration

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