Article | Fabulous Women

Dont Dumb-Down dumbing down is not an inevitable consequence of recession.

Posted on 24/04/2012

Article by Trisha Proud, Managing Partner Partners in Solutions Ltd
As yet another year fades into the distance and the Olympics looming heavily on the horizon the ever cautious economists are telling us that we are heading into a double dip recession; bringing with it a sense of doom. With this in mind I started to observe businesses more closely. I can still recall the words of my University lecturer who proclaimed that one should never, ever, ever dumb down in a recession.

As a trainer who knows only too well that whenever budgets are tight, or a recession hits training can sometimes be the first thing to be axed. I wanted to challenge this out dated business practice, as I believe that reducing people and business development activities is actually false economy. I tested my theory as 2011 drew to a close by visiting five different garden centers and found that they all had dumbed down their Christmas sections, which were cold empty places lacking seasonal atmosphere. What wasted business opportunities these were. Due to their obvious decision to dumb down, instead of their tills jingling these customers, like me, went elsewhere.

I told myself we would make up the loss to the economy as the great British sun seeking public got into their stride as 2012 arrived. Or would we? Would the airlines allow us to? It is not just the budget airlines affecting the economy; it is virtually ever airline, which appears to be falling into the same business inefficiency trap. More and more travellers are opting to take on board hand luggage in order to avoid increasing charges for luggage check-in. The era of the airline wheelie trolley has arrived! Many airlines when confronted with 90%+ of their passengers at the boarding gate clinging desperately to their beloved wheelie bags have now realized that the capacity of todays cabin stowage cannot cope.

When this happens, airlines have taken to offering free luggage check-in at the gate. Such precious revenue is surely too good to be given away. The real message here is that these airlines have forgotten of the old adage of 10% of something is better than 10% of nothing. In other words if airlines had not decided to dumb down their luggage check-in service and instead set their luggage check-in fees at a reasonable level then they would actually make more money!

My lecturer was right that one should never, ever, ever dumb down in a recession. Whatever your belief there can be no doubt that some businesses are starting to dumb-down, which should not be a natural consequence of recession. Let us learn the lessons in that:

Cutting services or quality of products in a service industry is suicidal; customers will go elsewhere for good service and quality products.

There can be no doubt that recruiting on the cheap is false economy.

Making do with existing teams that have not received any training or talent development support will dumb down businesses automatically, and equally as bad the competition are more likely to steal your ground and market share.

In summary the sooner businesses that adopt this thinking recognise that dumbing down is not an inevitable consequence of recession and reverse the process, the more likely they are to survive this recession and the years ahead.

Trisha Proud Bio:
Managing Partner
Partners in Solutions Ltd

After qualifying with a Business Degree from the University of Surrey, Trisha has enjoyed a distinguished career, primarily focusing her skills within the Training, Facilities Management, Procurement and Catering arenas.

Trishas business credentials provide a broad range of competencies gained via operating at senior and board level within large corporate organisations including The AA, where she worked for 12 years as Property FM Director, to senior management roles in Aramark Ltd where she was their Training & Food Service Director. Trisha has also worked for smaller proprietor owned companies such as Pelican Buying.

Partners in Solutions was set-up by Trisha in 2006; a training and consultancy company, that is able to uniquely offer and deliver a broad and bespoke range of consultancy and training packages from Trishas experience of being both a client and service provider.

Trisha has been privileged to work within both the public and private sectors with top blue chip organisations, not limited to but including: BP, Virgin Media, OCS, Defra, Jamie Olivers 15 Foundation, Westminster City Council, the RNLI and many others.

Trisha has also recently published on Amazon Kindle her first chick-lit novel, Soulmate and plans to write more books including management books so that she can share her wealth of business experience with a wider audience.

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