The Consultant's Desk

The Consultant's Desk
Poring over the details on your behalf

Friday, February 09, 2007

Where Does Money Come From?

Those of you who are parents (or aunts or uncles) have probably heard the question from the youngster on the order of, "Where do babies come from?"

You look around the room, blink a bit, speculate about how far back in the process you should go or whether you should just gloss over the entire thing, a la stork story, and then seize on a direction and follow it.

How many youngsters ask, "Where does money come from?" or "How do we keep all of this stuff we have here?" or while in the store, "Can we pay/afford this?"

Where does money come from?

We talk about the trained workforce, the one that asks the critical questions and either knows the answers or else knows how to find them. But do they have a sense of cost of business and economics? It appears to our youth (and some adults, as well) have the impression that money is simply pulled out of the air. If it's needed, it will appear from some invisible source and line the bank account. The impression is also that they believe those who have it (money) have an ever-lasting supply of it.

What's disheartening is that even when the "deep pockets" says there is no budget (or sponsor, or funds), the words seem to be brushed off like a bad case of dandruff. The overuse, misuse, and cavalier depletion continues. The appearance is that there is an acclimation to having wants and demands catered to without heed to the sacrifices necessary to accommodate the unearned reward. Unfortunately, they are oblivious to the evidence of sacrifice; the demands and expectations simply continue or increase.

Where does money come from?

More importantly, we need to develop a future workforce that is mindful of the answer and appreciates what it takes to earn the revenue. Actually, the development needs to start at a time that is not somewhere in the future. The development can and should start now, today, with our present workforce. And it is entirely possible to do this without allocating funds and time for a tremendous training program.

It's too simple. It's a bit like the purloined letter.

Each supervisor has a team of workers. The team should be made aware of what the goal is and what it costs to make goal and still have a profit. Where project profit is not easily measured because it's loading or packing widgets, there's another solution to encouraging time efficiency and therefore profitability. Structure some type of informal competition to measure who can pack the most within a certain time frame without incurring an injury. Then focus on those members' exceeding their personal best. Delta Environmental Consultants seems to have gotten the formula with their development and retention strategies.

There have been companies that were about to go under. Delta Airlines is a prime example of that situation. Rather than lose their jobs, the employees rallied. They focused on where the costs were and what it would take to save the company. The employees decided to become the owners. The result: the employees are still keeping the planes in the air and the customers happy. The employees are making some tough choices under sensitive circumstances. But they're still flying. The point is, the employees developed an appreciation of where the money comes from and how to make it stretch to cover the needs, make a profit, and not kill the cash cow. Rather, they need to learn how to make their department the cash cow.

With proper on-the-job training that includes cost and profit awareness, efficiency, appreciation of goodwill, and the importance of repeat business, it is definitely possible for us to reverse the forecast of a qualified talent drought in 2010. Any one of them will be able to answer the question, "Where does money come from?"

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