Today I received a voice mail message from a satisfied client returning my call to inform me his company has locked down all expenditures on outside consultants and that there won’t be anything to work on for the foreseeable future. We all know when there are budgetary pressures the first thing companies cut are the perceived “fluff” services like training and consulting. But are they “fluff”? Really?
When you cut out all access to expert resources and hunker down, you create an environment that is limited to “inside” thinking. By inside I mean myopic. Everyone is in the same environment and their perspective is limited by what they see. The day leaders limit their access to new ideas and fresh perspectives is the day they become stale and susceptible to adverse results.
The same goes for training. The day companies’ stop investing in their employees is the day they agree to accept complacency and potential inferior performance. The logic to cut training is mistakenly impacted by emotion. I once had a senior executive tell me it was cut training or fire an employee. “Which decision would you make” he asked?
While that is a tough decision for leaders and one that tugs at all of our hearts and conscience, the real issue is not about saving the job of an employee or two. It is doing whatever is necessary to position the organization for success. It is making sure the employees you have are best equipped to carry out your vision and serve their customers well. It’s like deciding to provide firefighters with rope that is inferior compared to the best simply to reduce costs and keep a firefighter or two on board. Are you best served by quantity or making sure the firefighters have the tools to succeed and do their job well. Would anyone consciously put a firefighter’s life in jeopardy?
Let’s be honest. We all have to make critical decisions in today’s economy. And yes, we need to reduce costs and make sure we get the appropriate ROI for our investments. But don’t mistake the need to cut costs as justification for not arming your employees with the tools and mindset they need to succeed. If you cut these services in the spirit of balancing your bank account, you are setting yourself up to for greater economic pain, as you will lose market share and business.
The mindset you need is not to hunker down and eliminate all outside resources to cut costs. It should be to find ways to fund the services you know are critical to your success.
Maybe the issue is not cutting costs but learning how to sell and market better to build revenues. It’s time to double, triple and quadruple your sales today!