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ASK, NOT TELL

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  • David

It is time to ‘buy’

Updated: Mar 13

The global financial market is in great turmoil these days – reputable firms going down, stock markets diving sharply. But what upsets me most is not the market downturn. It is how most banks react to it in the area of training. I have been hearing bad news in the training industry. There is a major international bank in Mainland China halting all the soft skills training immediately. And they are reducing number of trainers in Hong Kong as well.


I really would like to ask the senior management the following questions:

  • Will you be in the market in 5 years from now? (Probably yes in the case of Mainland China. At least they intend to. They said they are there for long term)

  • Then, what is the major challenge they will likely face? (Probably the problem is like what we have been facing i.e. people e.g. competing for right talents)

If so, they should EXPAND the training resources and activities now, but not reduce them. What is happening in the market does not make sense.


Let me be direct – I do believe that it is now the time to train, if they are serious about winning in the long term:

  • Time and Attention - The frontline staff members now have more time and attention to receive training. For example, most banks in China having been suffering from under-skilled workforce e.g. poor credit skills, low compliance awareness......

  • Demonstrating commitment - Developing staff members now demonstrates very clearly your commitment. This not only wins the heart of the workforce but also impresses your regulators

  • Cheaper Resources - They have better bargaining power over the training vendors. It is discount time.


I believe the above logic is similar to Warren Buffett’s investment philosophy. Recently, he wrote the following on New York Times:


“……A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors. To be sure, investors are right to be wary of highly leveraged entities or businesses in weak competitive positions. But fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation’s many sound companies make no sense. These businesses will indeed suffer earnings hiccups, as they always have. But most major companies will be setting new profit records 5, 10 and 20 years from now…..”


Spending resources to up-skill the workforce is like buying equities. Like equities, skillful workforce generates return for you.


If you want to win in the long term, you will act like Mr Buffett – ‘Buy Now’ or in our language ‘Invest in People Now’.

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