Training in a Down Economy?
Now More Than Ever!
People describe the current recession as an economic "perfect storm." It's likely to be wider, deeper, and more profound than previous downturns. Not surprisingly, the reflexive reaction to the situation is the old "slash and burn," defensively cutting programs and laying off personnel to reduce expenses. The problem with that approach is that it won't work in this downturn. Economists suggest that, to survive this one, CEOs are going to have to go on offense - transforming their organizations to meet a different set of needs, belonging to a different set of customers, who exist in a very different marketplace. To accomplish a transformation this profound, CEOs will need to do more than change their mindset. They will need to find new organizational best friends - in departments like OD and Training.
In Why Traditional Recession Tactics Are Doomed to Fail This Time*, economic strategist Umair Haque lists three levels of transformation that organizations will be forced to confront during this economic crisis:
- Changing consumption patterns
- Creation of authentic value
- Discovery of new sources of market advantage
Haque contends that corporations can no longer expect that their customers will upgrade to the latest model or gadget. Instead, customers will be looking for products that offer "authentic value" - that go beyond immediate gratification and allow customers to "expand and amplify their capabilities." As an example, Haque imagines a Starbucks that offers not just the latest latte or thermal mug, but customer-training by barristas on how to make the perfect cup of coffee. As a customer, wouldn't you be more willing to pay higher-end prices for your cup o'joe, if it came with some authentic-value intellectual assets attached? And by the way, wouldn't you be more likely to leave with a bag of Starbucks beans under your arm, as well?
As Training and OD professionals, we are uniquely situated to help our organizations transform - and thrive - in the face of post-modern economic realities. We can offer the expertise and technologies required to leverage intellectual assets in ways that will create "authentic value" for our customers - and new sources of market advantage for our organizations.
Training in a downturn? Now more than ever!
Check out our Case Studies for more ideas on how to add authentic value through customer training.