Lothery & Associates

How much does professional development cost?

In the time of an economic downturn, like the one we’ve experienced since 2007, the first few budget items to get cut are: public relations, marketing and professional development. The question is: will cutting back on training our key staff help us keep more money in our account, or will it prevent us from adding to the money we have? We took some case examples of clients who paid a larger price than hosting a workshop. Do any of these sound like something could happen to you in your organization?

A non-profit fundraising team is assembled and told to reach a goal within a 12-month period. They have a clear cause, a dollar amount and a deadline, but aren’t given any tools for identifying their ideal donor, or how to create the compelling message that gets that donor to open their wallet and make a contribution. This team must work harder and likely raise less than they otherwise would if they were better focused and more specific in targeting the most attractive audience.

A law firm that is known for its expert litigators and contract specialists is racking up billable hours from their clients. Assigning lawyers to the cases they’re hired to handle and winning a large percent of them, they don’t even realize the money they’re leaving on the table! A great salesperson does not a litigator make. Creating a compelling case for why a prospective client should hire Firm A over Firm B requires a different set of delivery skills, message development and audience connection. A simple tweak to the sales presentation could make the difference between landing and losing the next big client.

The Chief Information Officer who knows all there is to know about IT, software, hardware, and what his or her company needs to perform with optimal efficiency makes a presentation to the CFO or the Board of Directors asking for a budget increase to upgrade the company’s systems to improve their ability to serve their customers, streamline communication and operations. The only problem is, the CIO doesn’t communicate the benefits in plain language for the non-technical mind. The budget request is denied, and systems remain the same, while competitors upgrade and start to increase their market share.

A senior executive, who has been around the block more than a few times in business, is suddenly thrust into a spokesperson role during the company’s first big public crisis. Because the executive is a seasoned professional and considered an industry expert they believe their ability to face the media is easy and just another part of “the job.” The first interview is a disaster because the reporters were out for blood and looking to point blame. The executive focuses on the needs of the shareholders instead of the customers and community, and inflames the situation to the point that lawsuits begin, customers leave, and competitors capitalize on the missteps. Stock price drops with revenue, resulting in layoffs and a comprehensive approach to rebuild the brand.

Depending on the firm you choose to help you prepare for what could, and likely, will happen, training or coaching can range between $900 and $7500 based on duration and number of participants. In each of the cases above, the amount lost could range between $50,000-$5,000,000. What investment is your company making in its people, reputation, and brand? The market is always changing, technology continues to change the way we connect with employees, customers, and the community, and the modern day “iReporter” era where everyone delivers the news through their phones and social media requires that most of us become more proficient in our messaging, delivery, and use of tools that are now available.

 

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