Development through Challenges
Well these are interesting times to be involved in training and indeed any form of people or organisational development. As a training organisation we are living under the inevitable reality that for many organisations cutting costs associated with developing the organisation and its people is a necessary evil or in some cases an easy target.
Whilst remaining busy and focussed on clients we, like many others in our industry have to respond to this and find cost effective and innovative ways of meeting our client’s needs. If you work in learning and development or OD within an organisation you will be fighting your battles as well. I use the word battle deliberately because to neglect a commitment to equipping people properly and striving for continuous improvement will surely result in longer term problems. A recession and continuing difficult times for many doesn’t mean that the old adage ‘better is better’ is no longer true.
I have had quite a few clients, particularly in the public sector, reporting a kind of organisational and individual ‘treading water’ because everybody is unclear of the future and how to prepare for it. This is starting to have inevitable consequences on morale and capacity and when a turnaround really starts to happen the danger is the good people will be off! Well the private sector are going to be creating all those jobs after all.
In looking at cost some clients are opening up the debate about computer based learning, online networks, webinars and the like, which this ‘mature’ trainer needs to get his head around. Doubtless these approaches have their place in a ‘blended’ approach or as I prefer to call it ‘horses for courses’ but organisations remain about people and relationships and sitting in front of a screen may mot be the best thing for some of those development needs. In fact it may be the last thing you need.
Paradoxically many now see the benefit of more targeted approaches to development such as coaching or mentoring. Strategies that may on the face of it seem more expensive but because of the goal focus and targeting they provide often a better option than 12 people in a workshop when only two really need it.
This all seems a bit gloomy but in fact it can be reframed as fascinating and challenging times. The reason I can stay so upbeat is a fundamental belief that I hope I share with the reader that people always need to be developed for the challenges they face. Organisations always need to develop to face the challenges of their business or service and of having to bring together a bunch of people to do it.