One of the recurring discussions in evaluating whether or not to make an expenditure is the “cost” of the product or service. Sometimes it is referred to as the “value” or the “price”. The more meaningful perspective for anyone – individual or organization, for profit or not-for-profit, or government – is “what return will be generated from the expenditure?”finance-945x3451

If you look only at the difference in “cost”, then you will often miss the most meaningful part of the equation. For instance, suppose you were looking for educational programs on leadership and you found several. You found many of the standard CD programs from the infomercial gurus. You found celebrity endorsed programs. All with “reasonable” price tags. All sounded similar and were priced about the same.

On the other hand you received a referral from a credible resource for a “high-end” live program from a reputable, certified, trained, educated, credentialed professional. The program provided in-depth personalized materials, confidentiality, personal interaction – group and one-on-one – and had testimonials from successful participants – unpaid, recognizable, real world people who talk about the results they achieved. Real results. Measurable results. Life changing results. High impact results. On-going results. The price tag is ten times the price of the infomercial programs.

Which program is for you? Is it about the price? Is it about the results? Is it about spending a little to get a little or spending more to get more?

Spending more doesn’t always equate to getting more.   Price doesn’t always equate to quality or results. Rarely will you get a Porsche for the price of Mustang, however, and when you do, let me know where you are shopping!

The importance of investing dollars in quality leadership – credible, capable, qualified – cannot be overstated, whether that is leadership training for the people leading your organization or for the people actually in the roles. Organizations frequently try to “save” money by utilizing younger, less experienced “leaders”. Leadership is best learned through experience – some aspects are known only through the testing of our own characters and the confrontation of our own strengths and weaknesses. The true mettle of leaders is honed in the fire of decisions made – those proven to be right as well as those proven to be wrong.

For any decision to make sense, it must be evaluated in terms that reach beyond monetary value. The potential for meaningful change, increased capacity, improved leadership, expansion of capability, and the “ripple effects” which can result from looking at every decision as more than simple economics makes all the difference in the world, individually and organizationally.

Here are ten things to consider for your next “purchasing” decision:

  1. What is your objective in making this purchase?
  2. What are your criteria for making this decision – technical, financial, other?
  3. Which of the criteria is the most important?
  4. What are your alternatives (usually includes do nothing)?
  5. What are the benefits of each alternative?
  6. What are the drawbacks of each alternative?
  7. What are the investments in each alternative?
  8. Is there any objective, third party criteria such as client ratings, Better Business Bureau Reports, J.D. Power Reports, etc.?
  9. What results do you expect from this purchase – increased performance, more revenue, lower costs, fewer problems, better decision making…?
  10. How will you decide if there is a return on the investment?

Sometimes it is worth paying a higher price if what you learn changes your perspective on everything you do. Sometimes battles have been lost in order to win wars. Sometimes lives have been sacrificed to save others. Sometimes larger investments need to be made today to get results which are far reaching and longer lasting for all the tomorrows to come. Sometimes the bottom-line goes down this year so that next year you have the skills and capability to grow beyond what could be accomplished with the dollars and sense you have today.

So, does your decision-making/investment criteria make sense? Are you saving cents at the cost of making dollars? Is leadership lacking because the price is too high? What price success?

Copyright ©2007 Lea A. Strickland, F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

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