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Training and Development Recessionary Sensibility

earth-color-testOh boy. I just took a look at the stock market returns. I need to stop doing that. I need to treat it the same way as my retirement accounts: ignore. I even heard the dreaded economic “d” word tossed around this week. Depression. Whether we head that way or not, we’re probably all feeling a bit depressed one way or another. It’s a tough world out there right now. We’re all hunkering down. Particularly in the world of organizational learning. Who can blame us?

In these times, it pays to be sensible (sorry for the puns). Interestingly, many people interpret “being sensible” as “wait and see.” No question—this is often the right and best course of action. For example, I’m not about to run out and buy an expensive car. Other times, though, it’s not the right course of action, and in fact can even be the exact wrong choice. See, while I’m not going to buy a fancy car, I definitely should get that clicking sound checked out. And I’m not going to avoid the vehicle’s maintenance schedule. That’s because I know in the long run, I understand the costs of neglecting what matters. Or, as we buzz it in the business world, what’s mission critical.

Another area of sensibility to consider is not just what you spend capital on, but how and with whom. For example, just last week, we received calls from two large global organizations, both of which have been left holding the bag as their partner vendors have bitten the dust. It’s obvious yet difficult, the whole being sensible about where you put your money—and trust (just ask former Madoff customers). Is going with the big boys only the best method? Is taking a gamble on a lower cost vendor the right thing to do? How do you determine the best—and most prudent—vendor? I suppose the answer is found in the vetting process itself, with its RFPs, sales cycles, etc. And there are certainly scores of books, white papers, consultants and more avenues that give insight into it.

Of course, as a corporate training vendor, we will tell you that we’re your best option. After all, we have been doing this a looonnng time. We’ve weathered all sorts of storms, but we’ve also lead the way. In our estimation, there has to be some credibility there, right? Well, in reality, the goal of this post is not to convince you of this factor of credibility. Rather, my goal is for all of us to be sensible in how we take care of our mission-critical initiatives. We can do that by first determining what truly is mission critical, then—come depression or high water—we must ensure that we lead in successfully accomplishing our organizations’ mission-critical tasks. Of course, key to that is using resources, whether internally or externally, that will help us do just that.

Of course, I recommend that you call Allen today to discuss how we can help you in that area. But for here and now, I’d like to hear what you or your peers are doing (or even wish you were doing) to ensure success in your mission-critical training and development. To get through these tough times, we’ll need to share successes and warnings, tips and tricks, to come out on top stronger as professionals and as an industry once the downturn turns around.