Many organisations are having problems with their large commercial relationships, causing great stress in top teams. A lack of relationship management skills among those meeting across the corporate boundaries is often at the heart of the problem. According to Colin Gautrey, this presents a golden opportunity for a training function to help those on the front line to survive and thrive, make a significant contribution to the profitability of the business and in doing so, boost the credibility of the training department!
The massive reconfiguration of the value chain, which we call outsourcing, has swept the world and will enter the annals of history, but will it be judged a triumph or a tribulation? If your organisation has outsourced huge chunks of its operation, be that administration, financial transactions, or dare I say it, HR services - is it working?
Using the rather unscientific method of chatting to people, I'd venture to say it is on the verge of being either a catastrophe or a huge leap forward for commercial enterprise. We seem to be on a knife edge where a new word is entering commercial lexicon: insourcing. From the work we have been doing with our clients we have gained some fascinating insights into what life is like at the meeting point between some of the largest corporations in the world. The contracts are measured in billions and the terms are for decades, and all it not well.
What seems to have happened is that the focus has been on doing the big deal rather than the practical implementation. Not surprising, given the size of some of these corporate marriages. However, the cracks appear once people get to work to realise the benefits. And it is these people that the deal makers often forget. It is the skills of the people facing each other across the bedroom who will make or break the marriage. What happened to giving them the skills to do the job? Well, here's the training opportunity of a lifetime.
A burning platform? The performance of an outsourcing deal (or any other major inter-organisation alliance, including suppliers and customers) is a major focus for the top teams. If they are having problems, the business leaders are going to be having sleepless nights and everyone around them will be under extreme pressure.
On one side, executives will be desperately trying to figure out how they can deliver the agreed service within the agreed fees as the reality strikes that they have underestimated the resources it will take to do the job. On the other side, executives will be frantically trying to force their outsourcer to deliver the quality at the cost originally agreed upon, without any disruption to the consumers at the end of their value chain. Now they are starting to understand that perhaps they had struck too hard a bargain.
On both sides of the fence you could have a very tense performance issue that executives are urgently seeking a solution for. »