Mesaj despre criza, de la un prieten si mentor: Alain Cardon

Dear friends
I usually send a newsletter to tell you about me.  This one is to share a few observations and reflections.  I hope you will find it useful food for thought.

About the crisis in Romania
On this trip to Romania, I have been struck by the number of times I have heard leaders and managers pronounce the word “crisis” to describe the present economic situation.  Indeed, it seems almost socially fashionable for the whole Romanian population to have long discouraged discussions on the subject.

Note that along with the use of this word comes a commonly accepted frame of reference: the present situation is perceived as temporary.  When it will be over, all will come back to normal, that is to say: to what life was before the crash.
 
Consequently, a large number of people are bracing to wait out the crisis, hoping it will be short. Some self appointed futurologists are reinforcing this idea by announcing probable dates, such as 2010, maybe early 2011.
 
For organizations to survive through this period, the main fatalistic financial strategy is very logically first to cut all expenses that are not perceived as productive, second to downsize production.  When times are good, spend in marketing and hire personnel.  When times are hard, cut all unnecessary expenses and fire. To be sure and for lack of real leadership, that must be the pinnacle of current strategy.

This is not a crisis but an adjustment
Imagine, however, that the business environment in Romania will not shortly return to what it was.  Consider that the presently perceived temporary crisis is really a permanent adjustment to the larger European and global economic environment. Envision that all the market segments that have grown by over 20% yearly to rapidly boost Romania towards consumer maturity will never again develop in the same exceptional proportions.

This alternative frame of reference may drive individuals and organizations to radically reconsider their present strategy consisting in cutting costs and just waiting it out, hoping for the best.
 
If one chooses to believe that things will never be the same again and that the future will be completely different, then it is urgent to make courageous decisions and take action without delay.

Consequences for leaders and managers
Preparing for a deeper transition in the present economic situation calls for a completely different type of leadership and management style.  When the market grows by double or triple digits yearly, basic management decisions are the rule.  Invest heavily in every possible direction to occupy the terrain, develop visibility through intensive marketing and pacify your personnel with lavish spending.  Indeed, employees will be reasonably happy if they can personally benefit from the booming economy with a regular substantial increase in their personal lifestyle.

Exceptional growth in recent years has permitted a large number of quick promotions, a huge surge in per capita income and the creation of a consequential middle and upper class.  Anyone with reasonable expertise is now enjoying a managerial or executive position.  This miracle has been achieved within a decade thanks to the booming Romanian economy.

Note however, that a large number of people holding relatively important leadership and managerial positions have achieved professional success by simply surfing on the market and not making too many mistakes.  If nine percent growth has placed Romania in the first ranks of western developing countries, it has also lulled a large number of leaders and managers to believe their behavior was responsible for their organization’s success in the market’s natural expansion.
 
Reinforced by these relatively extraoerdinary results, numerous are the leaders who have developed a very satisfied, individualist, sometime autocratic and oftentimes arrogant management style.  They may sometimes rather be perceived as having developed an attitude.

Organization culture consequences
The consequence in terms of management culture can be observed in numerous companies today.  In the recent past, the best way to get an easy promotion was to develop personal career-oriented strategies: Always agree with your leaders and show evident signs that you admire them, never propose contradiction, avoid taking any original and successful initiative that may be interpreted as a threat to your environment, don’t take risks, hide mistakes and do not communicate bad news.  In other words, lay low and reinforce management and executive egos.

As a result, numerous Romanian executive teams and top management have lost contact with what their employees really think.  Worse, they often don’t even care.  In numerous Romanian and multinational companies, one can perceive a deep schism separating upper management from their employees.  This state of affairs may in fact be the real present crisis.

Urgent solutions
Leadership and top management urgently need to re-establish communication channels with their personnel to reinstate their company’s social contract.  To do this, executives must rapidly develop their people skills.  They need to learn to work together rather than agains each other.  They need to develop respect for each other, for their managers and for all their employees to start tapping the unused, dormant potential within their organizations.
 
Today, it is no longer possible to display an attitude resting on the illusion that organizational success is the sole result of financial decisions made by a CEO.  The whole organization needs to be collaborating and re-geared to ensure future collective success.

Executives first and then their managers also must start to really listen to their people.  That means they have to stop pretending they have all the solutions and alone know what needs to be done to face a very uncertain present and a radically different future.  Developing basic communication skills and the capacity to establish respectful relationships with the personnel is an urgent necessity.

If we believe that we are not going through a temporary crisis but that we must permanently adjust to a new global reality, then urgent operational decisions must be made and precise action must be implemented.  The focus cannot only be financial and this calls for new priorities and competencies in the decision-making process of executive teams.

All HR strategies previously geared to spending money to pacify personnel and middle management must be redirected to helping them focus on increasing quality, developing effectiveness and delivering measurable results.  Management must also learn new competencies.  Rather than favor individual career-oriented relational strategies, it needs to develop more performing teamwork and collective performance focused on achieving measurable results.  Beyond reinforcing individualistic strategies, learning how to manage and develop teams is the key to success on the future markets.

Training and coaching
Presently, the training profession is also going through a very difficult period.  Lavish leadership roll-out programs focused on delivering leader-chic principles are being cancelled.  It seems they are suddenly perceived as unnecessary expenses that have created very little measurable added value.  Probably, training needs to be redesigned to very practically help develop everyday individual and collective behavior aimed at increasing operational results.

Interestingly, in this transition period, there is one profession that appears to be booming.  Coaches who are well trained in accompanying individual and collective clients towards making the necessary urgent decisions to achieve measurable results are suddenly in excessive demand.  Some of them are even fully booked. 

That may be an indication that some have understood that the current situation signals a coming fundamental shift in the Romanian economic environment if not in the society as a whole.

I do hope that this transition is good news for you.
Alain

 

Check out one of his websites, depending on the language you prefer.

ALAIN CARDON, MCC
Master Certified Coach (ICF)
Executive & Team Coaching
alain.cardon@gmail.com
www.metasysteme.fr   (francais)
www.metasysteme.eu  (English)
www.metasysteme-coaching.ro  (Romanian)
 

Gata. S-au dat premiile Business Edu 2009

In primul rand, felicitari Clementinei si intregii echipe de la Business Edu pentru ca au reusit ca, in plina criza, sa organizeze acest eveniment! A fost o reunire a firmelor si trainerilor care conteaza in industria de training din Romania. 

S-au dat si premiile si iata care sunt acestea pe categorii:

  • Cel mai bun program de e-learning: Harvard Business (Enovate). Surpriza! Nu prea stia lumea de ei. Au primit premiul pentru un program in parteneriat cu Harvard. A mai fost in competitie: Cross Knowledge (Corporate Dynamics) 
  • Cel mai creativ program de training al anului: Leadership Situational II (Human Invest) – Oleeee! Dragi colegi, va multumesc pentru eforturile din cei 5 ani de cand exista acest program in Romania. Ca membru al echipei de a adus in Romania si a dezvoltat acest program, sunt fericit. Mai ales ca, din surse n.eoficiale, am aflat ca programul nostru a fost votat masiv de catre respondenti. Tot la aceasta categorie am avut inca o nominalizare cu un alt program, in viziunea mea mai CREATIV si anume Nextep. Mi-ar fi placut sa castigam premiul cu acest program insa probabil ca inca mai avem de lucrat la perceptia publicului despre el. Cele mai bune 5 programe nominalizate au fost: Leadership Situational II (Human Invest), Employeeship (TMI), Nextep (Human Invest), Boot Camp (AS Training & Coaching) si Gold of the Desert Kings (Trend Consult).
  • Jurnalistul anului – nu e domeniul meu, nu comentez. 
  • Coach-ul anului: Mihai Popa Radu. Au mai fost nominalizati: Alain Cardon, Mihai Stanescu, Horia Murgu si Catalin Zaharia. Sincer, ma asteptam ca Alain Cardon sa fie ales, avand in vedere valoarea de master coach si eforturile de crestere a pietei de training de la noi (are peste 50 de coach-i pregatiti in programele sale).
  • Trainerul anului: Lucian Mihai (Interact). Asa cum se face si la concursurile de Miss, imi permit, ca detinator al aceluiasi premiu pe anul 2008, sa il felicit pe Lucian. Anul acesta m-am ales cu o nominalizare intre primii 5 traineri din Romania, ceea ce ma bucura. Multumiri celor care au considerat ca sunt un trainer bun. Cei mai buni 5 traineri au fost nominalizati: Lucian Mihai (Interact), Rares Manolescu (Human Invest),  Decebal Leonard Marin (Corporate Dynamics), Sabin Gilceava (Trend Consult), Florin Enache (TMI).
  • Compania anului: Ascendis. Surpriza? Pentru mine nu. In 2008 stiu ca au fost foarte prezenti atat in media cat si in multe proiecte si acum sunt cea mai mare companie de training din Romania, ca cifra de afaceri si ca numar de angajati. Asadar: felicitari Adi, Sorin, Marius si intregii echipe. Nominalizatii au fost: Ascendis, TMI, Achieve Global, Interact si Trend Consult.

Pe la langa aceste premii, s-au dat si cele pentru popularitate (adica numarul de voturi primite pe site), un concurs in viziunea mea gen Miss Popularitate, unde organizatorii, din motive numai de ei stiute, au decis pe ultima suta de metri sa creeze doua premii: cel mai popular trainer intern (corporatist :-)) si cel mai popular trainer extern (consultant). Si aici a iesit Mara Manea (care a anuntat la primirea premiului, spre amuzamentul audientei, ca ea nu mai este trainer intern la Coca-Cola, desi premiul era pentru acel statut :-)) si Florin Lazarica (Achieve Global), un trainer de care eu personal am auzit anul acesta pentru prima data. 

Concluzia serii a fost, din punct de vedere al industriei, ca suntem intr-o perioada de low season prelungit, din cauza amanarii unor decizii de achizitie de programe pana la final de martie. Se simtea in aer ca oamenii sunt cumva in expectativa. Fiecare incerca sa afle de la celalalt cum ii merge, sa vada daca semnalele sunt aceleasi. Si am vazut oameni relaxati, care veneau de la training sau povesteau cat de mult au de lucru dar si oameni putin stresati, care se plangeau ca e inca liniste la ei. 

Sa ne fie bine tuturor! Si sa ne revedem la anul, la urmatoarea editie, cu mai multe premii.

P.S. Aici informatii pe site-ul Business Edu.