Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

Hello out There! Is Anybody Listening?

Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

Hello out There! Is Anybody Listening?

Article excerpt

Are your communication and training efforts reaching the mark? Do you feel your employees, trainees, and senior management are all tuned to a different station? You're not alone. You're experiencing what many other managers are finding these days.

One of the greatest challenges we face in the '90s is the effective transfer of knowledge from those who have it to those who need it. For information to become knowledge it must be received, understood, and then internalized. This concern affects education, corporate communications, employee training and new skills development.

So, first we have to make sure our message is received.

Employee training and skills development are among the major needs in Canada today, yet we continue to do things the way we always have - to spend our time and our dollars, (what little we do get), in traditional ways, often with little or no evaluation of effectiveness. The evidence would indicate these approaches are not working and so we continue to fall behind.

The written message is often inadequate. A recent Toronto Star article headlined "Complaints about illiteracy blamed on industry demands" raises questions about traditional training methods. The article says "there is no evidence to show schools are to blame ... instead, it is a matter of rising educational requirements." In other words, the educational system is doing its best - but industry, global competition, and other factors are simply changing too quickly.

Regardless of who's to blame, the fact remains that more than one-third of adult Canadians are not capable of, or have difficulty, reading. And with the ever-increasing school drop-out rates, the number of unemployable young people is growing at an alarming rate - simply because do not have the skills or knowledge needed to adapt to an increasingly technical world. All this in the face of tightening educational budgets at all levels. This is our present; must this become our future?

In these days of fiscal restraint, companies are exerting intense pressure to reduce costs. The first place many of them look is ... you guessed it ... TRAINING. Ray State of Analog Devices was quoted in the Sloan Management Review as saying, "The rate at which organizations learn may become the only sustainable source of competitive advantage."

We, as professionals, need to take a strong stand for change, to address the sad state of affairs in training and skills development in Canada today. We are all being asked to do more with less - and time is too precious a commodity to waste. …

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