WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT by leader6

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									WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
     SME Discussion Paper
     “Consumers not Corporates”




             Alex Pratt
               May 2002




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           the learning gym
                 WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
                                   SME Discussion

                           “Consumers not Corporates”

                                       Alex Pratt
                                       May 15th, 2002
                                          Page 1




Introduction
This discussion paper focuses on Workforce Development (WfD) in small business
(SMEs) and seeks to highlight interesting issues relevant to government policy in this
area. It also has significance for the wider learning market for individuals.

Achieving significant improvements in the market for Workforce Development within
SMEs is a key national priority in delivering a desirable sustainable economic and social
future. The failure of initiatives to achieve the desired behavioural change suggests a
more radical approach to policy.

This paper accepts the well-evidenced premise that a significant market imperfection exists,
and assumes the reader to believe that an appropriate investment by the taxpayer holds out
a genuine prospect of sustainable market development.

The intended audience comprises those parties engaged in WfD policy formulation and
strategy.




The Author
An active small businessman with 10 years’ concurrent Whitehall experience as a
secondee advising on innovation in the fields of learning and small business. The owner
of an SME manufacturing business, and the creator of the world’s first Learning Gym.

The Chairman of the National Assessment Panel which selected the SBS franchises,
and a current member of the LSC National Adult Committee with an up to date picture of
the key issues from a national perspective.

A good regional understanding derived as Chairman of the new Business Link in MKOB,
a Council member of a local LSC in the same area, and a member of the SEEDA
Business Support and Learning and Work Committees.

This unusual mixed experience across the breadth of the continuum from the targeted
end-user to national policy formulation, represents a broad platform from which to
assess more narrowly held views, against the background of the compelling need for a
clear coherent approach.




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                 WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
                                   SME Discussion

                           “Consumers not Corporates”

                                       Alex Pratt
                                      May 15th, 2002
                                         Page 2
Executive Summary
Investment in self-improvement capability has become a national mission-critical issue,
recognised to be as such by all parties. Clear political leadership and support which
addresses the market fundamentals has the potential to position self-improvement
ownership in a similar territory to that of home ownership and improvement during the
20th Century.

We should borrow from our experience and knowledge of the home-improvement
market when considering the challenges of engendering more ownership of, and
investment in self-improvement within SMEs by the workforce.

Policies, which operate on the assumption that SMEs behave like mini corporate
institutions, fail to take account of strong tendencies towards consumerist behaviour.
In the case of the vast majority of SMEs, the behavioural distinction between employee
and employer is marginal and should not dominate strategy. WfD, in focussing on
business consumers must therefore, like all consumer focussed offers satisfy a
compelling desire, or solve an immediate need.

The deployment of policy instruments which concentrate on the removal of identified
barriers of scarce time and money (through subsidy), only address the market failure at
the margin. Furthermore, they carry with them a relentless potential to devalue the self-
improvement proposition. Put simply, piece-meal tinkering with costs in terms of time
and subsidy will not work; a more fundamental approach is needed.

Policy instruments which rely on consumption subsidies for their impact, misinterpret the
fundamental immediate cost-inelastic nature of the demand curve for business self-
improvement. In developing this market, we seek long-term ‘lifelong’ investment by
business consumers. Such investment decisions carry with them forward perspectives
on the likely relative on-going cost of continuing that investment, as well as the
expected asset value appreciation, and therefore not only the immediate expected
returns. For example, your decision to improve your home is strongly linked to your
expected costs of finance, and is undertaken as much because it is perceived to be a
wise capital investment, as for the expected improved ‘current returns’ gleaned from
your new kitchen. It is no different for an SME.

The sustainable demand for self-improvement is damaged through compulsion, as
evidenced by negative attitudes to learning following mandatory schooling. The central
objective of the WfD Strategy must therefore be to stimulate the market in such a way as
to excite business consumers to seek out and consume more self-improvement. In
consumer markets, such growth in demand is powered by the twin engines of choice
and desire, which stimulate and drive demand respectively.


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                             “Consumers not Corporates”

                                         Alex Pratt
                                         May 15th, 2002
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Only those policy instruments which are demand driving, through the persistent
stimulation of untapped need and desire, will work to right the significant market failure.
It was the combination of clear strong political support and tax relief, emerging suppliers
like B&Q et al, and more recently, media support through TV programmes like ‘Changing
Rooms’, which worked to build a strong home improvement market. Prior to their arrival,
consumers were not asking for the changes- we were driven to them.

In the learning context, it will be the proliferation of clear niche-focussed business
consumer choices, the ‘Macdonalds’ or Starbucks of Learning which will drive demand,
not compulsory time off work and luncheon vouchers for a local cafeteria.

Given the fundamental nature of the issues, I have avoided the temptation to play with
the theme at the edges by making a few minor suggestions. The nature of this territory
inevitably means that vested interests are strong and entrenched, and I am cognisant of
the fact that there will be strong forces which seek to prevent this degree of change.
Fortunately, change was behind the genesis of the LSC and the recent PIU report, and
despite what some perceive to be a slow start, with strong leadership the LSC still has at
it’s option, the ability to demonstrate that it is serious about exhibiting a radical customer-
focussed approach to WfD. There is no question however, that without the benefit of
clear unwavering political vision and support, the LSC will fail to grasp this opportunity
on behalf of the nation.

I have made 9 recommendations.




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                WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
                                SME Discussion

                         “Consumers not Corporates”

                                    Alex Pratt
                                    May 15th, 2002
                                       Page 4

The 9 recommendations fall broadly within three distinct but inter-related areas: -

                      INCENTIVE - SUPPLY - DEMAND


                                 INCENTIVE
Recommendation 1
Replicate the earlier bold tax treatments used to stimulate home ownership which
led the development of what is probably the world’s most effective market in
home improvement.

Recommendation 3.
Target WfD on the small business population through SBS. The wider market for
WfD to individuals and larger companies requires alternative routes to market.

Recommendation 4.
Take steps to improve market mechanisms for the valuation, sale and purchase
of small businesses to make clear the capital returns from investment in people.


                                  DEMAND
Recommendation 2.
Remember that demand is subject to other more tangible needs and desires
which compete against the WfD proposition for airtime and resources. Recognise
that for SMEs, WfD is simply one of a basket of business improvement options.

Recommendation 5.
Ensure policy drives provision designed to appeal to business consumers, not
mini institutions.

Recommendation 6.
Recognise the dominant force in the labour market to be the availability of jobs
rather than that of people- it is only rarely not a buyers’ market.




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                WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
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                         “Consumers not Corporates”

                                    Alex Pratt
                                    May 15th, 2002
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                                   SUPPLY
Recommendation 7.
Withdraw short term initiative funding; the importance of convenience and supply
chain understanding are paramount to business consumers in developing the
confidence to buy.

Recommendation 8.
Focus the LSC on stimulating new forms of supply to accelerate market
development and give it the lead role in delivering the world’s most effective WfD
marketplace.

Recommendation 9.
The public subsidy applied to the WfD market should route via the tax system to
the consumer and not via a publicly funded supply chain.



                                CONTENTS
ITEM                TITLE                                                  PAGE
                    Introduction                                             1
                    Executive Summary                                       2-3
.                   List of Recommendations                                   4
                    Contents Page                                             5
1.                  Give the Market a Clear Lead                            6-7
2.                  Workforce Time is allocated to SME Needs                  8
3.                  Make Capital Returns more Obvious                         9
4.                  SMEs behave just like You and Me                         10
5.                  It’s a Sellers’ Market for Jobs not Labour               11
6.                  Stop distorting the Supply Chain                       12-13
7.                  He who pays, calls the tune                              14
8.                  Ruthless Customer Focus                                  15
9.                  Odds n’ Sods- Footnote-tomorrowclub-Disclaimer         15-16
10.                 Reader Feedback                                        17-18




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                 WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
                                  SME Discussion

                          “Consumers not Corporates”

                                     Alex Pratt
                                     May 15th, 2002
                                        Page 6




1.     Give the Market a Clear Lead.

The introduction of mortgage interest tax relief and the removal of capital gains
taxes on principle residences worked to significantly alter investment behaviour
by ‘families’. After prolonged application, these measures finally stimulated
significant developments in the home ownership, and then home improvement
markets. The challenges we now face in developing the WfD and self-
improvement markets are not wholly dissimilar.

Ownership
At the level of the individual, the use of mandatory education (for all the right
reasons) not only takes responsibility for education away from the individual in a
legal sense, its’ long term application also serves to deny us the innate
ownership of learning with which we are born. Therefore, in considering options
for developing the WfD market, we need first to address the lack of ownership of
the issue felt by SMEs and their workforce. This is a critical aspect to the market
failure which the LSC must address.

At the level of the SME, there is an expectation that the working population
should be equipped with basic skills by the State before they enter the workforce,
and that the individual should take responsibility for their own general self-
improvement. SMEs are not willing or equipped to take ownership of their
employees’ self improvement, and will contribute only towards those specific
developments which they identify as being more likely to improve the company’s
prospects, as compared with other potential uses for the same resources.

At the level of the State, there appears to be an inability to deliver on the basic
skills responsibilities, a lack of clarity in understanding that the drivers for human
capital development lie principally with the owner of the asset i.e. the individual,
and a misconception that SMEs will eventually realise the folly of their approach
and begin to favour investments in unsecured unpredictable assets.

Understanding the role of ownership of WfD is key to addressing the market
failure. We must be clear that ownership needs to be transferred back to the
individual, and we must promote this aggressively to reverse the opposite
impression delivered in the mandatory learning stage. This is a clear role for the
LSC, and the role of the SME population in this will only ever be benign at best.

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                                     Alex Pratt
                                     May 15th, 2002
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Development
As individuals, we don’t maintain or improve everything we own- much is left to
depreciate or degrade over time. Our choices as to where we invest our time and
other resources are a function of the perceived opportunity costs and returns
across different investments. In lay terms we invest according to a mix of
prudence and enjoyment i.e. we do mainly what we have to do, with a few
chances to try what we love to do.

The same is true of SMEs who generally display strong consumer tendencies. It
follows that SMEs will generally only purchase WfD if they have to, or if they
perceive that it is something they would love to try, over and above other uses for
their time and money. It therefore follows that selling WfD in terms which
represent benefits which SMES ought to act upon, or which return non-business
critical results will not grow demand from this segment. Put plainly for example,
SMEs only care about basic skills if it impacts on their ability to function and will
only invest in WfD if the business case is strong. They do not generally accept
investment in people issues as being as urgent as other areas which they
already don’t have time or money in which to invest. The battleground for WfD in
SMEs is therefore switching resource from the urgent to the important, and this
can only be achieved through long term clear simple and understood signals in
the marketplace, as was achieved through the application of high profile major
long term policies in the housing market.


Recommendation 1
Replicate the earlier bold tax treatments used to stimulate home ownership which
led the development of what is probably the world’s most effective market in
home improvement.


Recommendation 2.
Remember that demand is subject to other more tangible needs and desires,
which compete against the WfD proposition for airtime and resources. Recognise
that for SMEs, WfD is simply one of a basket of business improvement options.




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                WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
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                          “Consumers not Corporates”

                                     Alex Pratt
                                     May 15th, 2002
                                        Page 8




2.     Workforce time is allocated to SME needs.

The aspect which distinguishes the workforce as a segment form the general
population is self evidently that they are in work, and as such their daylight hours
are generally governed by the perceived priorities within their organisations.

The determining factor, and the critical focus of our attention is therefore the
allocation of time within the SME, and in particular the switching of scarce time
from a current activity to one which is related more to developing the workforce.

It is self evident, but plenty of evidence also suggests that in small companies the
opportunity cost of releasing people from front line activity for any investment
purpose is perceived as being high. Furthermore, the return from an investment
in fixed capital is clearly easier to forecast and is less intangible, not least
because the business owns and has control over the fixed assets and their
running costs, but human capital can seek to increase its own running costs and
is open to move on. This mirrors the lower propensity to invest in rented housing
by tenants as compared to owner-occupiers. Why invest in somebody else’s
asset when, by doing so you increase your likely running costs, and are unlikely
to participate in the long-term returns from the investment? The much used
“invest in your most valuable asset” fails to recognise that the asset in question
does not belong to the SME- they are just renting it.

Making the case is therefore very difficult when the alternative time investments
are sales calls, collecting payments and answering the telephone. Small
businesses are most interested in business improvement i.e. more sales, lower
costs, new customers, new markets and survival. While they recognise softer
people issues as being relevant, they do not generally see them as mission
critical and they are therefore not prepared to purchase WfD when faced with
alternative compelling uses for their investment of time and money. If this
analysis is accepted, it follows that WfD sales success depends on it being sold
as business improvement. Infact it is difficult to imagine any business
improvement which is not in large part delivered through WfD.




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If the target is the SME and the reason to purchase is business improvement,
one has to ask what value the LSC can add? Certainly, we don’t need to witness
the LSC snow flaking small business with more literature trying to sell WfD as a
people retention and recruitment mechanism, under the LSC brand. Infact it
makes sense from a market perspective for WfD for SMEs to be firmly driven by
SBS. Some vested interests won’t like this; not least possibly some of the LLSCs,
but it is my view that they should be firmly targeting self-improvement at the
individual level and at those times when the individual is in control of their own
time. Equally, I have yet to see a compelling market argument which supports
SBS franchises being the route to market for WfD in larger organisations.

The only well recognised employer focussed WfD brand is IIP. It is my strong
belief that, in relation to SMEs, IIP should travel to become a framework for WfD,
and that quango responsibility for WfD should rest firmly with SBS, positioning
WfD clearly as the critical element of business improvement.


Recommendation 3
Target WfD on the small business population through SBS. The wider
market for WfD to individuals and larger companies requires alternative
routes to market.

3.    Make Capital Returns more Obvious.

Consideration of the business improvement and home improvement markets
throws forward some interesting comparisons.

We can imagine the ‘family’ and the company team to be analogous groups each
managing the home and business respectively. One clear behavioural difference
is that families often move on to manage new and bigger homes as the family
grows, and then on to smaller homes as the family disperses and sets up
additional family units. On the other hand the company team rarely moves on
‘ensemble’ to manage another company. The homes market is characterised by
home assets being traded by ‘families’, while in the business market it is
individual team members who are traded by stationary business assets.



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As a result, because there is not an effective small business market trading
mechanism which mirrors that in the housing market, the case for business
improvement through investment in human capital is made weaker.

In the small business market it is usually only when Venture Capital is sought, or
when an owner manager sells up, that consideration is given to the value of the
human capital in the business. It follows that reducing the viscosity in the
business sales market will instil more regular valuations of human capital
investments and will deliver a more obvious return to investment in WfD.

The questions we might seek to consider are-

      How do the ease of home and business sales compare?
      Where are the business market equivalents of Estate Agents?
      Can businesses be valued according to recent sales, like homes?

One key difference between the two markets is that the human capital moves on
with the sale of the home while with the sale of a business, much stays behind.

There is no space to explore this idea in this paper, but the reader may feel that
the relative efficiencies of the home and business sales markets impact on the
propensities of the various players to invest in the relevant assets. These are
complex issues which bear investigation. For example, investment in home
improvement for capital return displays a tendency to drop off when there is a
buyers market and a sale is less likely. Equally however, the likelihood of
remaining in the same home for longer than anticipated creates a stimulus to
invest for current returns and possible deferred capital returns.

The point is that the there is no obvious strong link between an investment in
human capital by an SME and a realisable capital return from that investment,
and that a key determinant of this market failure is the viscosity of the small
business sales market.

Recommendation 4.
Take significant steps to improve the market mechanisms for the valuation,
sale and purchase of small businesses so as to make clear the capital
returns from investment in people.


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                                    May 15th, 2002
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4.      SMEs behave just like you and me.
The nature of life in an SME is closely analogous to that of an individual
consumer, namely the ones who survive and prosper manage to do what they
HAVE to do, and if they are lucky get to pick one or two things they LOVE to do.
There is no space for behaviour which in absolute terms is worthy and SHOULD
get airtime in an ideal world.

To use a military metaphor SMEs are either in the trench firing a gun or are
running to take new ground vacated by the competition, but they are almost
never back at the large HQ in a country house pushing models around a map of
the territory. Sometimes government policy seems intent on taking the SMEs into
this environment and fails to recognise the imperative of the URGENT over the
IMPORTANT which will always exist on the battlefield. Under battle conditions, a
platoon of troops simply need to be given a clear understanding of the important
elements in the backdrop to the battle so that they can concentrate on what they
do best, deploying fast, winning tactics in the heat of battle.

Think of your own life, lets face it you may know it may be to your advantage to
learn how to fix plumbing, or speak and understand Chinese, but the chances
are, picking your kids up from nursery, mowing the lawn or visiting a sick relative
will dominate your time. To get you to switch your time allocation, either
something more urgent or more interesting needs to come along- it is the same
for SMEs. Unlike larger companies which have developed professional
competencies, the SME behaves like an individual consumer and largely ignores
what it ought to do. This distinction almost defines an SME.


Recommendation 5.
Ensure policy drives provision designed to appeal to business consumers,
not mini institutions.

5.       It’s a sellers’ market for jobs, not for labour.
It is simply not the case for most SMEs that WfD, staff retention and recruitment
often represent urgent mission-critical issues more key to the business than
sales, costs or business opportunities. Of course the issues do exist and are
reported by SMEs as constraints to growth, but they are rarely at the top of
entrepreneurs’ daily “to do” list.


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                                     Alex Pratt
                                     May 15th, 2002
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It is also true that those SMEs seeking to move from the reactive consumerist
stage to the mini institutional stage are more likely to come across these
constraints as they grow their management capabilities. The traditional IIP
product offers a great solution to a business in this mindset or situation, but
unfortunately, for the vast majority of SMEs, IIP as it stands, represents overkill
and is not fit for purpose. The general IIP principles should be embodied in an
‘IIP Lite’ framework which provides a series of pathways towards IIP Recognition.

There is only a limited market in Human Capital; the market is in jobs, not
individuals. It is therefore not the case for the individual that investment in one’s
capabilities will self evidently lead to a return on the investment. Of relevance is
the fact that the usual method of securing such a return involves a movement of
job, which in an SME environment often means moving companies. Therefore
there is a direct in-built disincentive to invest from the SME’s perspective.

The perceived scarce resource is infact financial capital, a fact most readily
evident in the working capital and daily cash flow management and requirements
of the business.

Recommendation 6.
Recognise the dominant force in the labour market to be the availability of
jobs rather than that of people- it is only rarely not a buyers’ market.


6.      Stop distorting the Supply Chain.
So far, I have discussed issues which impact mainly in the characteristics of the
demand curve. It is however unusual in markets for demand to lead supply. For
example, the market was not screaming for MacDonalds, Linguaphone, the Golf
Gti, the Dyson nor the Walkman prior to their supply. It is innovation in supply
which proceeds and seeds demand pull in consumer markets.

Turning first to the ease of purchasing, it is the case that any SME which does
decide upon purchasing WfD is today faced with an unnecessarily unclear
picture. It is infact more difficult to purchase WfD than any other business supply.
The supply chain is generally fragmented, short term in its availability, not fit for
solution purposes, and is difficult to understand.


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This situation is a function of the perverse non-customer focussed incentives
inherent in the supply chain. The talent, energy and experience of the people
engaged in delivery are inevitably focussed on bucking the system as best they
can, and in massaging outcomes to meet centrally driven targets which are rarely
appropriate at the customer coalface.

For these reasons, learning brands and market icons have not been generated,
leaving the business consumer with limited reference points when purchasing,
and hence limited confidence in the purchasing experience. Add to this the
relative lack of convenience in purchasing, and it is not surprising that WfD is
avoided more often than not. The sole employer-focussed learning brand of note
is IIP, and Learndirect is now building a strong consumer facing learning brand.
Both of these market propositions need to be kept clear and be built upon. It is
for instance unclear to me as to the marketing sense in using the Learndirect
brand on the gateway to Advice and Guidance, as well as to identify a clearly
defined range of learning products. In the eyes of the consumer, this would be a
bit like Easyjet also offering independent travel advice.

New supply is driven by the funds available from the public coffers, which are
most often only practicably accessed by the incumbent players. New market-led
bottom up, potentially market-changing offers are effectively squeezed out
through the availability of centrally inspired attempts to give WfD away. This
continual drive to give the product away serves to devalue the WfD proposition in
the eyes of the business consumer, and makes commercial offerings less likely
to proceed or succeed. The way in which the public subsidy flows, itself made
available to right the market failure, is a significant market barrier in that it blocks
market led innovation.


Recommendation 7.
Withdraw short-term initiative funding in favour of tax breaks. The
importance of convenience and supply chain understanding are paramount
to business consumers in developing confidence to buy.

Recommendation 8.
Focus the LSC on stimulating new forms of supply to accelerate market
development and give it the lead role in delivering the world’s most
effective WfD market.

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7.     He who pays calls the tune.
The separation of the consumer from the customer (paymaster) is a common
issue in Public Service delivery. One effect is the creation of conditions which
foster excellent mechanisms for rationing short supply, but which work less
effectively in doing the opposite, namely inspiring demand. They therefore often
lead to inappropriate supply and low uptake of services and products, especially
when any investment required is regarded by the consumer as discretionary.

In order to release innovation in the current supply chain, to attract new entrants,
and to inspire demand, the consumer and the customer need to become more
closely related, just as they are in most successful markets. Could you imagine
the likely menu at a Macdonalds managed by government and free at the point of
sale? One only has to look at the furore around the decision by Learndirect to
take a commercial decision in sponsoring ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ as a
recent example, to see how impossible it is to grow customer focussed offers
under the political spotlight. In order to inspire and grow markets, someone
somewhere has to take risks and be prepared to fail; it is not possible to plan our
way to inspiration in demand. Notwithstanding the ILA fraud fiasco, we will only
succeed if we shift purchasing power into the hands of the business consumer. It
is the power of this constituency group which is missing from the system; a
situation perpetuated by the current funding model.

For small business consumers a 100% tax credit for those in profit and a grant
subsidy (to a limit and based on no of employees) for those without profits to be
spent on WfD would have two critical effects. Firstly, the supply chain would
need to compete through clear pricing and value propositions which would stop
the incessant devaluation of the WfD proposition which currently exists.
Secondly, the company will regard this as it getting its own money back to invest
in something of potential benefit to the business. Critically, the payments should
be made available to the SME after the tax year-end against the previous year’s
profits, and for expenditure in the current year. Therefore the SME would be able
to switch part of their tax payment to a WfD activity instead of to the Inland
Revenue.




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Recommendation 9.
The public subsidy applied to the WfD market should route via the tax
system to the business consumer, not via a publicly funded supply chain


8.     Ruthless Customer Focus- A dictionary definition.
When an organisation or system starts contemplating the need for customer
focus you already know that it is in trouble, because in competitive market places
this is a given. Imagine a market fruit stall where the stallholder spent his time at
away days contemplating the difficult nature of the complex relationships in the
market, and drafting memoranda of association between the interested parties.
On the other hand it is possible, with the help of a dictionary to define Ruthless
Customer Focus in the following way-

       Ruthless-            Having no pity or compassion (for..)
       Customer-            A person one has to deal with (who is..)
       Focus-               The principal site of an infection or other disease.

The system currently unwittingly conspires too often to deliver this sort of
Ruthless Customer Focus.

9.      Odds n’ Sods.

Footnote
In suggesting radical ideas, I realise that committed vested interests will find
difficulty in receiving them in a positive light. These are for example bold tax
proposals, there are ideas which will be perceived as threatening by some of the
existing supply chain, and there are also many other interested parties who are
not even mentioned in the paper, all of whom will have strong views. In much the
same way as new supply generates new demand, so new ideas will hopefully
generate new discussion.

It is I am sure, for these reasons that the language in the LSC Draft WfD Strategy
is measured and a little imprecise. Unfortunately, leadership requires clarity- i.e.
what are we going to do, and more importantly, what are we NOT going to do?



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The opportunity for the LSC is to take the initiative and take a strong national
leadership position. It would be a significant lost opportunity if it were simply to
assimilate the combined views of the existing interests vested in the current
system, and make sure it doesn’t challenge Treasury, the PIU or No 10. Having
observed Whitehall at close quarters for over a decade I suspect that this WfD
strategy will either make, or make irrelevant the LSC in the eyes of its’ Whitehall
Peers.

I stress that I have the strongest opinion of the people engaged in this activity, at
all levels. The issue is in my view about the fundamentals of the market and not
about the players. Change the system not the people.

tomorrowclub
The world’s first Learning Gym- a place to work out your mind regularly each
week- the alternative to training days. Regular bite size exercise builds capability
in the same way that regular physical exercise builds strength and stamina. For
more information visit www.tomorrowclub.com.

Disclaimer
The contents of this discussion paper do not in any way represent the views or
expressed opinions of tomorrowclub partners and supporters. The contents of
this paper are the personal views of the author.

10.    Feedback
All constructive comments and views from the reader will be welcomed. The
author can be contacted as follows. E-mail is preferred-

E- mail       alex@tomorrowclub.com
Tel           01296 390200
Fax           01296 390201




                               tomorrowclub                                        17
                                  the learning gym
                        WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
                                                SME Discussion

                                     “Consumers not Corporates”

                                                     Alex Pratt
                                                     May 15th, 2002
                                                       Page 17




                                    READER FEEDBACK

                                                 INCENTIVE


Recommendation 1
Replicate the earlier bold tax treatments used to stimulate home ownership which led the development of what is probably
the world’s most effective market in home improvement.
Comment




Recommendation 3.
Target the small business population through SBS and consider extending the policy suite to individuals and larger
companies using other routes to market. The wider market for WfD to individuals and larger companies requires
alternative routes to market.
Comment




Recommendation 4.
Take steps to improve the market mechanisms for the valuation, sale and purchase of small businesses so as to make
more clear the capital returns from investment in people.
Comment




                                             tomorrowclub                                                            18
                                                 the learning gym
                         WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
                                                  SME Discussion

                                       “Consumers not Corporates”

                                                       Alex Pratt
                                                       May 15th, 2002
                                                         Page 18


                                     READER FEEDBACK

                                                     DEMAND
Recommendation 2.
Understand that demand is subject to other more tangible needs and desires which compete against the WfD proposition
for airtime and resources.




Recommendation 5.
Ensure policy drives provision designed to appeal to business consumers, not mini institutions.




Recommendation 6.
Recognise the dominant force in the labour market to be the availability of jobs rather than that of people- it is only rarely
not a buyers’ market.




                                                      SUPPLY
Recommendation 7.
Withdraw short term initiative funding; the importance of convenience and supply chain understanding are paramount to
business consumers in developing the confidence to buy.




Recommendation 8.
Focus the LSC on stimulating new forms of supply to accelerate market development and give it the lead role in delivering
the world’s most effective WfD marketplace.




Recommendation 9.
The public subsidy applied to the WfD market should route via the tax system to the consumer and not via a publicly
funded supply chain.




                                               tomorrowclub                                                                 19
                                                   the learning gym

								
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