Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

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Preparing for the Upswing & a Change in Direction

Sunday 21 July 2013

From an organisational perspective it is pretty common for senior managers to spend significant energy considering when to upgrade plant and equipment, be it machinery, vehicles or IT infrastructure. The upgrades can occur on the run (in response to a surge in demand for instance), as a result of necessity (say as a result of a breakdown or unexpected damage) or as a planned development. The farming sector are very good at upgrading equipment in response to expected demand whilst also having a great handle on plant servicing and repairs. The current manufacturing sector is more cautious and most will upgrade as needed, holding off for as long as possible until confident a surge in demand is emerging. But what about your people? How many organisations 'upgrade' their people talent in time?

The interesting thing for me is that whilst new machinery can be up and running quickly or new IT can roll out with an incumbent system in place, the people elements can take a little longer. Which poses the question, at what point do you prepare your people for a change or an upswing?

Training and people development ought to be an ongoing thing. Sadly, it's not. Formal and informal training elements can be developed and programmed. In much the same way as you maintain plant and equipment, maintenance and upgrading of the capabilities of your staff ought to occur consistently. There are THREE core areas that you can focus on: Strategic capability; Operational capability; and Execution capability. You'll note that for most organisations, the belief is that 'execution' is the role of 'Operation'. NOTHING can be further from the truth. The Organisational Evolution Model highlights the flaws in thinking that 'Ops' is where things get executed.

So the time to prepare for the upswing and changes in direction, is NOW. And tomorrow, and the day after that. Training is not a cost centre, its a development centre. If you put it off you'll constantly be playing catch up to competitors who are already 'ready'. Significantly, by the time an opportunity is spotted it'll have likely sailed by before you can respond effectively. So be smart - Strategic, Operational, and Execution training ought to be a constant area of development.


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