What effect is this recession having on the consultancy and training business?
It is obvious that budgets are becoming tighter and ‘spending’ is now being reconsidered. We have learned that training for civil servants in Finland was cut by 90%! On the other hand we also have heard stories where staff was offered training for further professional development or for job retraining instead of being laid off. It is very interesting to study how management is reacting to this situation.
Of course, we as trainers and facilitators are biased in this discussion, but we do hear about the successes of clients.
Workshops still foster better commitment, collaboration, creativity and more relevant solutions for stakeholders. More efficiency and effectiveness results in less waste and would particularly be a strong argument for training and workshops in these times.
Is it correct that the opposite is happening? Are managers holding on to their power and falling back on more ‘authoritarian’ or ‘top-down’ management styles? Examples of participatory decisions with personnel are increasingly rare (e.g. Bus drivers in Holland giving in on salary increases to assure job security). We hear that managers do not have the ‘time’ to discuss the issue. It seems that a workshop of more than one day is ‘out of the question’, but is this logical?
A thorough discussion in a 3-day workshop would engender trust amongst involved parties and offer a creative or at least more effective solution to the problem. Or are there reasons other than ‘time’ behind the thinking?
To paraphrase Einstein, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something different to happen. Obviously creativity is needed to break the cycle. Sharing current problems and challenges with your co-workers, employees, end-users or customers, people who are affected but rarely seriously consulted could provide different ideas and points of view for empowered results.
Many of the clients we meet now request ‘training to beat the competition’. Indeed in this shrinking economy, competition is getting fiercer and the reduced budgets available will be offered only to the best in the market. Selection criteria tighten up and proposals need to become of higher quality as only the best will be selected. We all should broaden our horizons. Collaboration between stakeholders in partnerships seems to become more and more a prerequisite for efficiency and effectiveness (see also the new Dutch policy for development).
How best to beat the crisis? We believe: ‘don’t hide in a shell and wait till the storm is over’. On your awakening you may have found yourself left behind and out of business.
Trust the knowledge of others and provide them with a safe environment in which they will also be prepared to stick their necks out. Would you need some ammunition to introduce Participatory Management in your organisation?
We are prepared to reach out to you as we understand your difficult position. We realize the disappointment of potential trainees who can no longer be financially supported to join our courses on quality proposals and facilitation. We are offering a special ‘recession discount’ on all our courses and facilitation services!
Want to learn more about participatory management as way to challenge the recession?
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