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06/05/2012 05 Audience Participation - - Distributed at the commentary balanced organization Meeting f - � - Z g `--log -L, -n -nom (C: s o n -7. ..r BY AUSTIN ABRAHAM ,,i . - , H. : u. , ,,, . . „ - 3 . .4 3 T THE E , L , .,„ ::::,:,, , , , ,---- 7 - of the 2008 recession, with laboriously and for so long on balancing 1 I : its ruthless budget cutting budgets that the neatly footed columns • Y 1 ' - - - ' • holy and staff reductions, it is have become our hot r e _ • t� 1 , , grail of manage- f time to remind ourselves that went. 1 Lave we forgotten the reasons . r overnments do not run on we were taught and menrored to value l _ 7� : Y • . ` balanccfd budgets. Govern- employees? In response to employee menus run on the skills, concerns, have we silently, or opetily, ;e efforts, and. dedication of adopted the mantra, "'If you still have a t ' employees. job, be grateful and don't complain "? 4:-;•,,,..-°,:j 3'g A balanced budget In this age of Layoffs and restructurings, in.: . . is important, of course, we should not lose sight of what has been t ' '' i t •s but a balanced budget is learned over the past 100 years about man - M ,, _,,' neatly tooted columns on aging people. Although no management n ' fi �_4 , -, '' ,_� , a spreadsheet. Waving a theory captures all the truths of tn • t'1 4,1e7.,,,.,144-., - balanced spreadsheet at a people, it is a good time to refresh our " r ,,g ,, •• public meeting accomplishes understanding of Maslow's hierarchy, V : � ffd . °" nothing except perhaps some Herzberg's hygiene and motivation factors, 25''' ".": - "." self- aggrandizement for those the insights of Drucker and Blanchard, the • ii i 0r , doing the waving. teachings of faith, and our own intuition up ,.. ':� ...� A balanced budget about good leadership. L performs no work that night eke many managers your focus at the water treatment plant, the next Remember the Human Ledger has been on balancing the budget morning in the administrative offices, The next great challenge for governments in flue most severe t:cessinn in or in the afternoon when public safety is nurnuing back to health the vibrancy decades You have been reorganizing, crews race to the scene of a fire. of the workforce. This cannot be ac- rcengirteering, and reinventing your Your budget document does not compiished by the same "force fit" of a government, And because you have sal- • come to work each day with education, square peg in a round hole that was used vaged your organization twin the brink experience, creativity, dedication, or a to balance budgets. Managers should of financial disaster, at lease for another sense of community service. Nor can it reacquaint themselves and their organiza- year, you are feeling pretty good about tell a joke, share a smile, or give a word Lions whit the human side of organiza- your efforts. Surely your organization's of encouragement. There is no "pitching Lions, with the same zeal evidenced in employees are feeling the same satisfac- in," no "finding more efficient ways," no balancing the budget. lion? Don't count on it! "let me take on that new challenge" in Like investors in an uncertain stock a budget document. But these attributes market, employees are an the sidelines, Anything But Balanced do arrive daily with employees. hesitant to invest, reluctant to speak up, The last thing most government For all the fighting for a balanced and cowering in self preservation. The employees are feeling right now is sat- budget, we may have risked as much human ledger must also be balanced for isfaction, accomplishment, or success as we have gained. After manhandling the sake of the communities we serve Although the budget may be balanced, finances and staffing levels into a We are kidding ourselves and selling employees may not be. In governments semblance of balance against the rising employees short if we think this is not across the country, employees feel tide of spending of the past 30 years, it also our job FIJI unappreciated, insecure, and con - should be no surprise that employees fused -- anything but balanced, now feel manhandled as well. AUSTIN ABRAHAM and Is it only a dreamt that we once ' (and y • '10 Remember when we touted Former Director really meant) that employees are our promoted training, education, and job k, Management Services Division , i Frederick County, Maryland most important asset? In the aftermath enrichment? Perhaps we have focused so =fir' asabraham @aot.com icma.org /pm APRIL 2012 i PUBLIC MANAGEMENT 21