You get different benefits from attending an Income/Outcome workshop, depending on whether you are attending as an individual, as part of a team, or as part of an extensive rollout by your company.
As an individual, you will learn “the next things that you didn’t know”. For non-finance managers and others without a finance background even in creating college savings plan, this includes a clearer understanding of fundamental business concepts such as
- the differences between cash flow and profit
- cost structure, and its importance for pricing and planning
- key ratios like leverage and profitability and ROA
But we joke that our workshops are not just “Finance for Non-Finance Managers”, they are also “Non-Finance for Finance Managers”. This is because finance managers can learn a lot of valuable things about market dynamics, just as sales managers can learn the value of financial analysis. So all participants will also gain an experiential understanding of
- the need to respond to competitive and market pressures
- where information comes from for good decisions
- the different pressures that different departments face
Therefore as an individual you increase your knowledge of the workings of your company, you increase empathy for others, you can analyze more clearly and make better decisions. This is useful for the company, as well as being personally satisfying.
But in addition you can now communicate more usefully with senior finance personnel, contribute more knowledgeably and coherently to planning discussions in any department. This raises your profile as well as your value, and opens up career opportunities more broadly across the company.
(We like to stay in contact with our former participants – not just as friends, and not just to offer free updated information for them, but because in ten years’ time they may be looking to provide the same Income/Outcome workshops for the people they now manage as they originally had with us.)
All the above applies to an individual learner, as well as to a member of a larger group doing the workshops.
But if a work team goes through the training, there are additional benefits:
- clearer communication
- more accurate data
- common understanding of team needs
- more focused discussions
- better understanding and respect
- shorter meetings
- better decisions (and therefore better financial results)
In other words, there is more value per person when a work team goes through the training, compared with an individual. And the training ROI is even greater when there is a general rollout in the company. Then you
- increase the speed and accuracy of information flows
- increase interdepartmental support
- extend the use of financial numbers and language
- develop a common understanding of the company’s strategic position
- develop support for decision-making
- create a common culture based on business acumen
The benefits of this culture change ripple out:
- speed of response provides a crucial competitive advantage
- shared understanding builds bridges between different departments, different divisions, different regions, between union and management, between different generations
- common culture improves morale, decision-making and results
Any individual will benefit from attending Income/Outcome. But the greatest benefit to a company comes with the broadest use of the workshops. That is why Michelin North America was so successful in using three levels of our workshops – for senior managers, mid-level managers and supervisors – that Groupe Michelin started using our workshops worldwide. They have now put 30,000 employees through one level or another of the program.
As we say, “One improved decision will pay for all your workshops forever!” Done in the context of a workshop-based culture change, it will also make everyone happier and more productive.