Training opportunities, in less enlightened organizations, are handed around like chocolates in a box. In some instances, they are often chosen with only as much consideration. This approach is mostly the preserve of the well-intentioned organization, eager to show a willingness to spend on staff and management learning. Commendable though the intent might be, it is inevitably doomed. All the chocolates in the box have a cost associated with them and so should not be selected on a whim. Besides, no one goes for the hard centres!
21st Century business has brought about the need for managers to be specialists in many areas - not just in the role of their responsibility and authority. Selecting from the chocolate box may be a tempting method of filling gaps in 'understanding'; this approach, however, belittles the role of planned, strategic learning and is ineffective and costly. CPD (Continues Professional Development) is about continually gaining knowledge and understanding and developing relevant skills-sets from learning events. It is about undertaking carefully considered, progressive, learning interventions that enable the individual to develop in a structured way. Making sure that the development is right for both the individual and for the business.
Business is complex and in overcrowded marketplaces competition is fierce. The demands placed upon managers is no longer limited to a set of skills and responsibilities found in Job Description, it is much more.
Business requires, what in sporting circles might be termed ‘all rounds’, people who can throw as well as catch! Some organizations see training programs as a ‘reward’ for work well done; rather than an essential part of business development. Staffing is the biggest cost to any business: investment in staff is essential. Training should help all members of staff to both ‘throw’ and ‘catch’.
Business is complex with each area influencing another – to understand what impacts on your area is to take control of your destiny. The need for structured, yet diverse training is apparent but not obvious to all organizations. Gone however are the days when a manager could be complacent, about his/ her knowledge. It is no longer good enough to stay in your comfort zone believing that the rest of the business will look after itself. Specialism is a great thing but in the 21st Century diversity and rounded knowledge of a business is needed.
Where once it was possible to hand-off to 'professionals', in 'specialist areas' of the business, (with some degree of certainly) issues outside of a manager's remit, modern business demands more. All-round team player approaches win the day; the manager's skill-set must be deeper and wider than their remit. The Credit Manager needs to be involved in Marketing; the Line Manager in HR; the Team Leader in Learning and Development, etc.
Practically, Credit Managers need to be involved in the recruitment process, the marketing process and the sales process. Collections and Credit Control needs to sit down with sales to see where the organization’s customers are coming from and understand what types of customer the organization is attracting. Credit Managers need to be consulted at the product design stage so that they can properly assess risks involved in each product or service offering. This approach enables better forecasting and planning in the collections environment.
The need for understanding the 'alien' areas of the business is paramount. Planned and 'joined-up' training should therefore reflect this. The role of the learning organization is to develop manager's understanding of those ‘alien’ areas. The training challenge is to integrate the demands of a skill set, inside a manager's comfort zone, with development in the knowledge and understanding of things outside of that zone.
Development of the individual should be determined by looking at the bigger picture – the whole organization. Credit Managers need to have an appreciation of the impact of actions conducted elsewhere in the organization. Credit Management is no longer just about reports and numbers – it is about HR, Training, Marketing, Customer Segmentation, Motivation of Staff and Team Leading.
The Meirc PLUS Specialty Training program ‘Managing the Collections and Credit Control Team’ covers all the above and more to ensure well-rounded development of even the most experienced Credit Manager. Such approaches produced the multi-skilled manager giving business flexibility in resourcing whilst allowing motivators such as job extension and variety of task to play their part.
This approach ensures a healthy business able to grow stronger: more equipped for the future. Everyone gets to like the hard centres in the chocolate box!
About the Author
Jon Newsom-Ray MCICM
Jon Newsom-Ray MCICM has worked in the banking and credit industry for more than 30 years and has delivered numerous training programs and consulting engagements around the world. He is an experienced international trainer and consultant, having worked in more than 25 countries and trained hundreds of managers and credit professionals through his Masterclasses. Jon is a major exponent of best practice and continuous improvement in the credit industry having worked with the Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC) and the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), successfully formulating qualifications and standards for the industry.
Having been one of the originators of Profitability from the Credit Function, Jon was a keynote speaker at the World Congress for Collections and Credit Control in Mexico City. He has developed, written and designed the well-received flagship credit control/collections program ‘Advanced Collections’.
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