Beware the person who thinks they just need enough money to complete any task or accomplish any goal…they will lead you down the garden path and, in the end, there will never be enough.

You know the people I’m talking about. Perhaps you are one of those; perhaps you have been one – I certainly have been.

The kind of person I’m talking about treats budgets and money like a magic bullet – if you can just get a large enough budget you can do anything, complete any project, satisfy any need.

This is not true.

Money, like time, paper, pens, printers, computers etc. is simply a resource, one of many drawn on toward the reaching of a goal.

Money, as such, is the byproduct of sound planning, critical thinking and good leadership, and should be required as sparingly as possible and not thrown about like so much water on a fire.

Let’s look at it another way. Some people, when given a task, set their minds first and foremost to coming up with a number; a budget large enough with which they feel they can accomplish whatever lay before them.

It is these same people, that when failure inevitably comes, will instantly point to the lack of sufficient funds and the people who control the purse strings as the reason for failure.

I was never given a large enough budget to accomplish the task,” they bemoan.

If they trusted that I knew what I’m doing they would have given me more money…this failure is their fault – not mine…” etc., etc., ad nauseum.

This is the proverbial cart before the horse.

Due diligence and prudence in developing a sound, well-researched plan ahead of time, laid out carefully and in detail need to be put in place well ahead of any budgetary determinations.

I do not mean the kind of rationalizing/planning that seeks to justify a large amount of money ahead of time which is so often the case. I mean the kind of planning that seeks out every possible means and strategy to accomplish the goal with as LITTLE resources as possible.

This requires a great deal of creativity. It requires more than one mind contributing. It requires the kind of person who has developed a network of resources because they are committed to the understanding that people, more than any amount of money, are the key to long term success.

With this kind of thinking and leadership in place the money you save can go toward things that really matter – recruiting, retaining and rewarding staff and volunteers. More resources with connections to more resources.

A wise person once told me that if you want to know the heart of an organization – be it a business, a not-for-profit, a house of worship, a family even – look at the budget. Where you find they spend their money you will also find their heart.

A strong and well-led organization does not spend most of it’s money on products and projects but rather on people. They key to success is not one person spending $1 million on a project but 10 people spending $500,000 on that same project and making it 10 times more successful (or $100,000 or $10,000 or $1,000 etc. you get the idea).

When the first thing a person does is to come at you with hands out to accomplish a task it’s probably time to find a different person.