Editor's Note (The View From Here)

Forget the 10 Cents

How do we measure value? Is it strictly based on dollars spent? Do we ever take into account the not-so-obvious things that we gain?

This past week, I had a very interesting conversation with a representative from a community college who asked these questions and brought up some very interesting points that I had never really thought much about. The gist of the conversation was that the strict rules we have in place, when it comes to purchasing, do not always take into account the bigger picture. And, oftentimes, they are in direct opposition to the directives given by the leadership regarding community engagement and the formation of partnerships — a different kind of capital.

The conversation was not about spending more, nor was it about life-cycle costing. It was about valuing the often hidden gains that come from developing partnerships and supporting the local community and businesses — the people who come to your sporting events, take classes on your campus, pay local taxes and donate money to sponsor your events. His point was that too many of us have let the idea of saving 10 cents on a single transaction trump the benefits that can be gained from developing meaningful relationships.

Transaction vs. Relationship

I am not too fond of the “what can you do for me this time” mentality that many of us have developed in recent years. Transactions seem to have become singularly focused — price on the consumer side, making the sale on the business side. The idea is that the consumer wins… but do they? Relationships are more my style — focusing on the long-term needs, understanding the goals and helping to solve the problems that are sure to arise. It is not an “I win” mentality, it’s a “we win!”

While adopting a transaction mentality may save 10 cents on a purchase, a relationship/partnership that has been nurtured and developed over years is priceless.

This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of School Planning & Management.

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