When the economy heads downward, and especially when it remains sluggish as it has the past two years, many organizations make cuts in the very areas they need the most. Consider training, for example. It’s always important to develop employees’ skills and expand their knowledge, and it’s particularly crucial after staffing levels have been slashed. A smaller staff needs to be more proficient, more productive and more efficient than ever. People need to make solid decisions in less time with fewer resources, and that requires ongoing training.
Anyone who doubts that statement need only consider the opposite outcomes of two commercial airline crises last year. In February 2009 a Continental connection flight ran into trouble as it approached Buffalo, NY; the ensuing crash killed all 49 people onboard and one person on the ground. Investigators later identified several factors, including ice buildup on the wings and erroneous actions by the pilot and co-pilot.
In contrast, a month earlier when a US Airways flight lost its engines shortly after take-off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the pilot quickly determined that he didn’t have enough power to return to LaGuardia or get to a closer airport in New Jersey. His only option, he decided, was to land in the Hudson River. He successfully did so without causing serious injury to any of the 155 passengers.
The main difference in the two outcomes: Pilot experience–and quick thinking due to ongoing training.
What are you doing to ensure that your team, and especially those in key leadership positions, are prepared to make solid decisions and take quick action in any situation? Are you developing their skills and expanding their knowledge bases to ensure continued success for them and for your entire organization?
To gain and maintain market share, particularly in a slow economy, you need to help your people sharpen their skills. You need to help them successfully manage daily challenges now and prepare them to lead the charge when opportunities arise as the economy turns around.