From The Executive Director

NBOA Business Officer Institute
When I read a recent article by Donna Orem, President of NAIS, her examination of the tension between competition and collaboration, resonated with me on a personal and professional level. As a quasi-competitive person, I feel that tension every day. At my professional core, I am always striving for the win-win, which explains why the mission of PAISBOA makes sense to me: "Comprised primarily of a volunteer team of business officers working for the common good of all members, PAISBOA's mission is to create savings in both time and money while providing useful resources and expanded knowledge."
Before PAISBOA was a formal association, a group of business officers came together to help each other with the complexity of independent school operations and to help their schools save money through group purchasing. They were way ahead of their time! 

"Leaders and organizations are acknowledging that even their best individual efforts can't stack up against today's complex and interconnected problems.  It's called collective impact, and it's a growing trend across the country," according to Ben Hecht in the Harvard Business Review. He continues, "While collaboration is certainly not a foreign concept, what we're seeing around the country is the coming together of non-traditional partners, and a willingness to embrace new ways of working together." 

Here are his 5 lessons for driving change through collaboration:
  1. Clearly Define What You Can do Together - develop clarity of purpose and articulate, "What we can do together, we could not do alone!"
  2. Transcend Parochialism - leaders need to put aside their own organization's needs for the good of the group.
  3. Adapt to Data - by reviewing trends over time, partners can highlight where they are having the greatest impact and where they may need to focus more energy.
  4. Feed the Field - share what you learn - both the results and the methods for achieving them.
  5. Support the Backbone - full-time staff whose 'day job' is to continuously support, nurture, and feed the collaborative.
Collaboration among colleges through consortia can be a vital lever for the kind of transformational change that individual institutions can't achieve on their own, according to Mary Frances Forcier in Trusteeship Magazine. She continues, "The increasingly urgent need for institutions to innovate through consortial relationships mirrors a current trend toward collaboration in business and industry. Connecting key players, allowing them the freedom and opportunity to develop innovative ideas, and overcoming institutional loyalties and cultural and organizational differences by concentrating on the benefits to be gained through shared results are just some of the ways consortia are paving the way to innovation."

Closer to home, PAISBOA has been paving the way to innovation for years! While we know what we can accomplish together today through our shared energies, I have no doubt that PAISBOA will continue to lead the way for local independent schools who are committed to working together to advance independent school education. Next week, the leadership of PAISBOA will gather at their annual board retreat to chart the course for the next year, and it is likely we will be wrestling with how we can continue to innovate through consortial relationships, and addressing the very real tension between competition and collaboration.
Take advantage of the power of the flock!!!
P.S.  Have you checked out our Purchasing Consortium? Business Insurance Group? Business Services? If not, you may be missing out some savings for your school!


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