Justifying Resources: 10 Tips to Get What You Need

Wes Friesen  is the manager of Revenue Collection & Community Offices for Portland General Electric.
Cost justifying the equipment and software your in-plant needs is certainly a challenge. One manager offers some tips that have worked for him.

IN MY CONVERSATIONS with managers across the country, one challenge constantly surfaces: justifying the resources (people, budgets and equipment) needed to run an excellent operation. This is one of the biggest challenges that I face too, but over time I’ve learned ways to be successful in acquiring these necessary resources.

Before we dive into specific tips, here are two general principles: First, normally we will not get anything if we don’t ask. Second, we need to make sure when we do ask that we are asking for resources that benefit one or more of the key stakeholders: investors, customers, employees and the community we do business in.

Here are some tips that can help you improve the probability of acquiring the resources that you need to benefit stakeholders:

1. Identify the important goals, initiatives, values and business needs of your organization.

Then figure out how you can help satisfy those goals and make your organization more successful. Linking the resources you need to specific corporate goals and initiatives will help build a compelling business case for authorizing funds.

For example, many organizations have some form of customer focus or engagement initiative. I have recently justified new equipment and enhanced software in part so that our company can provide more personalized and relevant communication with our customers.

Many organizations have a strong emphasis on sustainability. Finding ways to use physical mail prudently and avoiding waste will be positively received. In the past, I have received approval for a second printer so we could go from two-page simplex bills to one-page duplex bills.

2. Find ways to save your organization money.

An almost sure-fire way to justify a proposed expenditure is to demonstrate that it will result in savings to your organization. My company, Portland General, used to pay external vendors 50 to 60 cents per color copy. My team developed a proposal to lease digital color printers and showed that we could provide color copies at a significant savings.

Related story: Good Leaders Must Be Good Servants

Wes Friesen manages multiple departments for an electrical utility based in the Northwest. His teams have earned numerous awards including NAPL Gold awards. Wes also teaches university classes and is a featured speaker at a variety of national conferences. Wes has just written a book called Your Team Can Soar! which contains 42 valuable lessons to help you lead and develop high performing teams. Books can be ordered from his personal website (wesfriesen.com) or via the following link: http://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781498460866 Contact Wes at pchefdebi@comcast.net.

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