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AV Budgeting | Community Connections with Ryan

By Ryan Gray

Budgeting for AV projects in Higher Education is a complicated topic, especially now as we’re still dealing with the post-covid issues of supply chain inconsistency and CARES Act-funded initiatives.  The reality is that designing and building great AV/IT systems is challenging enough without having to deal with the politics and bureaucracy of budgeting and finance in Higher Ed.  The good news is I know where you can get some great ideas and strategies for this (shameless plug incoming).

Campus AV Designs, on a Budget.  InfoComm 2023, Thursday at 1:30 PM, this is a panel discussion with Erin Maher-Moran, Craig Underwood, Britt Yenser, Karen Ethier, and myself.  Would love to see everyone there.

With that said there is a budgeting strategy that I’d like to talk about that will help with your AV projects, your community building, and almost every other area of your work and life.  It's the concept of budgeting for deposits in the Emotional Bank Account of those around you. This idea isn’t new and I know lots of thought leaders have versions of it, but I first heard it from Steven Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. It’s a way to quantify the trust and goodwill that we build up with others over time. 

Just like a financial bank account, we can make deposits and withdrawals from our Emotional Bank Account. The more deposits we make, the more we can draw upon them in times of need.

In the context of our workplaces, making deposits into the Emotional Bank Account can be a powerful way to build relationships, foster collaboration, and ultimately be a more effective professional. Here are some examples that Steven Covey gives of ways to make deposits in your bank with others:

Listen actively

One of the most important ways to make deposits into the Emotional Bank Account is by actively listening to others. This means truly engaging with what someone is saying, asking clarifying questions, and showing empathy and understanding. When we feel heard and understood, we are more likely to trust and feel positive towards the person we're talking to.

Acknowledge and appreciate

Another way to make deposits into the Emotional Bank Account is by acknowledging and appreciating others. This can be as simple as saying "thank you" or giving someone a pat on the back for a job well done. Taking the time to recognize someone's efforts and contributions is a key building block of goodwill and trust.

Be honest and transparent

Trust is a critical component of any successful working relationship, and being honest and transparent is key to building trust. When we're open and upfront with others, especially when it's difficult or uncomfortable, we show that we value their input and opinions. This can help to build mutual respect and trust over time.

Show empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When we show empathy, we demonstrate that we care about the well-being of those we work with. This can be as simple as asking how someone is doing, listening attentively, and showing that we understand and appreciate their perspective.  I think of empathy as truly trying to put myself in the other person’s shoes.

Give constructive feedback

Feedback is an essential part of growth and development, but it's important to approach it in a constructive and respectful way. When we give feedback, we should focus on specific behaviors or actions and provide suggestions for improvement. By framing feedback in a positive and constructive way, we can help others to grow and improve while also building trust and respect.

Be reliable

Reliability is an important aspect of any successful working relationship. When we follow through on our commitments and responsibilities, we show that we are trustworthy and dependable. This can help to build confidence and trust over time, making it easier to work together effectively.

Collaborate and share credit

Finally, collaboration and sharing credit can be powerful ways to build trust and goodwill with others. When we work together towards a common goal, we can achieve more than we could on our own. By sharing credit and acknowledging the contributions of others, we show that we value their input and respect their efforts.  

I would love to say that I do all of the above things, but as always I have to admit that I’m not saying I’m the example to follow.  I spend most days struggling with the vision that Steven Covey has laid out.  So as you are dealing with the budgeting process at your company or institution consider how you’re budgeting your efforts to make deposits into the Emotional Bank Account of others.  By actively listening, acknowledging and appreciating, being honest and transparent, showing empathy, giving constructive feedback, being reliable, and collaborating and sharing credit, over time you may find that the relationships that result will smooth the way through challenges, make your work more enjoyable and make you a more effective professional.