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Transformation – Why Does It Matter?

There are two times to transform a parochial school. The first is when a budget deficit occurs. The second is when the senior leader changes.

Ideally, the transformation plan will be created before the new leader is put in place. This will help to guide the leader selection process and ensure that the new leader is the right person for the future of your Christian school.

Transformation is different from cost cutting. There are three key parts to transformation: vitality, growth, and competitiveness. Part of increasing vitality, which will result in a cost-savings (eliminating waste), may include eliminating unneeded or underperforming activities.

It is important to remember that cost-cutting is what you do when you retrench. When you eliminate an expense to balance the budget or free up funds for some other purpose, that is cost-cutting. It results in the reduction of a necessary activity rather than the elimination of waste.

Cost-saving is what you do when you eliminate waste, raise productivity, or increase efficiency. It is gain without sacrifice and it increases vitality. Cost-saving may also include a small investment to fund the change process.

Transformation is the preparatory change a school makes to step into the future, improve its effectiveness, and better serve its students and families. Changing vitality, the growth trajectory, or increasing competitiveness usually includes adding features, adding services, adding new programming, investing in innovation, or expanding capacity.

It is important to remember that retrenchment seldom works and transformation seldom fails.

Next Step:

Examine your school’s current level of vitality, rate of growth, and level of competitiveness (client services, fundraising, grant awards, volunteer engagement, etc.)

Determine where changes will help to better prepare your school to meet the future

Examine what you are currently doing that will be unnecessary in the future

Rewrite the budget with the unnecessary eliminated and the transformational changes added

Transformation is similar to trimming a tree. It requires a little pruning, watering, and nutrients. Every farmer does it after a storm. Wise farmers do it at the end of every season. Think about your mission as if it was an orchard. How do you need to reshape it to maximize its value to the community and your clients?

Ideally, every school will perform a transformation analysis every year just before creating the next year’s budget. Small, periodic adjustments are cheaper and easier than major adjustments every few years. In addition, the incremental changes help to ensure sustainability is constantly improving.

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