Bring Some “Grit” Into Your Spend Management Program

Jason Grunin, Assistant VP of Business and Energy for the University of Tulsa, understands the challenges that commonly hinder spend management programs. It wasn’t too long ago his organization was feeling the many pains and frustrations itself, so their team decided to transform the entire program. Since then, the University of Tulsa has simplified it’s travel and expense system with SAP Concur solutions – allowing employees to book travel where they want, create a consolidated itinerary, and even providing the University with a duty of care solution – all while automatically adding that information right into employee expense reports.

 To get buy-in from so many internal stakeholders and to keep his project moving forward, Jason relied on some of the key principles from the book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. While this book doesn’t directly apply to the steps the University of Tulsa took to revolutionize its spend management program, Jason has found that lessons from this book can be applied to both his professional and personal life, helping him create goals that fuel self-learning and uncover new areas of growth and innovation.

Reading List for 2020: Travel, Expense, and Spend Management

These are the recommended reads of some of the most revered leaders.


To dig a little deeper into why Jason personally recommended this book for others, we asked him a few questions.


A Q&A with Jason Grunin, Assistant VP of Business and Energy for the University of Tulsa

Why did you recommend the book Grit?

Grit is about having the passion and perseverance for long-term goals. It’s through reading this book that I learned the importance of finding passion in what I do every day, and that talent isn’t everything — it’s important to keep going even when things get tough.

I convey internally that the travel and expense (T&E) program is like a marathon, not a sprint, and that we have to stay modern to keep up with the changing times. Reading Grit has also helped me in continuing to pursue my goals, dreams, and see the world, knowing as I do, they become more real.

What is some advice from the author that you feel your colleagues in spend management can apply to their roles in 2020? 

  • It’s important to keep going even when things get tough.
  • Find passion in what you do every day.
  • Make the lifecycle and spend management process interesting.
  • Create something unique for you and your management team.

How do you internally keep all of your stakeholders aligned on how your T&E management program is a marathon, not a sprint?

  • Continue to emphasize that we must continuously adapt. 
  • Work and listen to internal constituents, then make improvements to the program that offers value to the organization.
  • We all have the same mission and responsibility to grow the institution, but what works for some areas may need to be tweaked in others.

Were you able to apply the advice from this book to your personal life as well?

I’ve found that having grit has the greatest ability to impact my life in the long run. I try to do so by being different, enjoying the opportunities I’m afforded, and absorbing the new surroundings each day. Interacting with others, listening to different perspectives, and working hard allows me to appreciate each moment as I continue to pursue my dreams.


The books visionaries recommend most to help fuel success

Do you need more inspiration to continue fueling your success in 2020?

Find other great books to boost your career, regain focus on personal goals, manage spend, or optimize the employee experience by downloading this brochure.

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