Budgeting and storytelling are synonyms in many companies I have seen. The budgeting process usually is a source of much angst, optimism, gaming, heavy workload, and often intimidation.
We all bitch about the inflexibility and unreality of the budget setting process, as well as the disruption to operations when they are being negotiated, and for what? Usually a set of numbers based on how well individuals and functions believe they can game the system.
It seems sensible to find a way to make the performance management processes much more responsive to the environment, changing circumstances, competitive initiatives, and innovation opportunities that emerge.
Given budgets are about costs, the costs of doing business, of investing, of risk taking, of offensive Vs defensive action, and resource allocation, it seems a simple set of questions before a cost is incurred would be useful.
Instead of just asking “do we have the budget”?
- Why is this action necessary”?
- Will the action achieve the necessary result?
- How is the expenditure adding value?
- Can we effectively execute on time?
Questions like these can drive a continuous priority review process, always a good thing.