training can become self-funding and self perpetuating.

The Japanese call continuous improvement "kaizen". It's not enough to ensure that our performance on any day is no worse than it was the day before. We should find ways to add value to our jobs and to see an improvement in quality, speed or cost. An integral part of this is our own continuous professional development.

It is unreasonable to expect the quality of service in a company to be better than the state of its' relationships. The concept of the internal customer is too often neglected. More staff are "let go" because of personal shortcomings than lack of technical competence. More people leave an organisation due to stress and conflict than dissatisfaction with pay and conditions.

Your people are the real unsung heroes of your profitability. What else matters as much? Capital? It doesn't plan and control itself. Technology? It needs people to apply it. Customers? You lose 68% of them due to poor staff attitude. Shareholders? They depend on your people to give them a good return on their investment.

Product knowledge is a the start. Management learning and training will ensure you stay focused. Then you can add kaizen to your achievements.

The 1998 Tour Operators' and Travel Agents' Benchmarking surveys reveal that employers are still only paying lip service to training and development.

Consider the following findings - 60% of tour operating management and 35% of sales staff have received no formal training whatsoever. Three quarters of travel agents said their staff spent less than 5% of their time on training.

The excuse that staff are too busy to take time off for courses echoes the parable of the forester who was too busy sawing to take time off to sharpen his saw.

Yet the same surveys also prove a direct link between investment in training and higher gross margins. A separate survey found that more than 70% of successful companies favoured training over more traditional perks.

So what stops people investing in their staff?

Companies cite lack of time and insufficient staff as two main barriers. Yet these companies function during sickness and holiday absence. Consider weekend and evening courses; staggering the training; working in modules; workplace coaching; or distance learning.

Cost is another barrier usually cited because companies cannot immediately see a return on investment. What do you consider a reasonable annual figure to invest in each member of staff? With a proper training strategy and budget in place, training can become self-funding and self perpetuating.

The Japanese call continuous improvement "kaizen". It's not enough to ensure that our performance on any day is no worse than it was the day before. We should find ways to add value to our jobs and to see an improvement in quality, speed or cost. An integral part of this is our own continuous professional development.

It is unreasonable to expect the quality of service in a company to be better than the state of its' relationships. The concept of the internal customer is too often neglected. More staff are "let go" because of personal shortcomings than lack of technical competence. More people leave an organisation due to stress and conflict than dissatisfaction with pay and conditions.

Your people are the real unsung heroes of your profitability. What else matters as much? Capital? It doesn't plan and control itself. Technology? It needs people to apply it. Customers? You lose 68% of them due to poor staff attitude. Shareholders? They depend on your people to give them a good return on their investment.

Product knowledge is a the start. Management learning and training will ensure you stay focused. Then you can add kaizen to your achievements.

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