Safeway won’t leave your development on the shelf

I read with interest the editor’s comment on investing in people (DW 12 August).

I read with interest the editor’s comment on investing in people (DW 12 August).

On leaving Safeway last year, I started a consultancy with a strong bias toward training and personal development. As a client of 20 years I had a few ideas on behaviour between clients and suppliers.

The workshops I have run have been very well received, with plenty of good feedback. The sad fact, however, is that of all the sessions completed, despite repeated attempts to generate interest, the attendance from the design industry has been 6 per cent.

At a time when many design groups consider a good year as ‘managing to survive’, there has never been a more important aspect as staff training – learning people skills, leadership, coaching and motivation, as well as the more technical time-management and presentation skills. The response is always the same – ‘it’s not important’.

The two reasons are: not enough money; and not enough time to spare. Training is simply not on the radar.

At Safeway, I could choose any course that I wanted and invent a few myself. I believe the client is far better prepared than most consultancies with the inevitable result ‘that they rule in every respect’.

‘Why,’ I asked a friend of mine, ‘do you spend plenty on a couple of new Apple Macs (or new toys), when the increase in productivity is negligible to a client, yet you will never consider training?’

The answer I got was: ‘It just seems that we get a more immediate return.’

I’m sorry, spending money on people skills to help build client relationships and understanding is a far more important goal.

As for ‘not enough time’, please. We all take holidays and the world does not collapse. We just plan around them.

Unless consultancies invest and match client companies on all fronts, with training and personal development as an example, there will remain for many a long, hard road ahead.

Ian Welsh

Managing director

Meteor Creative

via e-mail

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