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"Investment number one in 2019 should be training" says management consultant Tom Peters

01 March 2019

Well-known and respected management consultant and author, Tom Peters, spoke to Auckland University’s Graduate School of Management last week about training and investing in talent, saying that the top investment for organisations in 2019 should be training.

“Training should be a capital expense. You should break the bank on the training of every human being in the organisation… My CTO is not gonna be the chief technology officer, he or she is going to be the chief training officer.”  

Peters' "People First" mantra espouses the idea that training should be the number one priority to ensure that people grow and develop their skills as individuals and as contributing members of an ever-evolving, innovative organisation dedicated to the relentless pursuit of excellence. It is his view that people should be better prepared for a future of automation and the need for cross-functional skills.

Recent research by the Harvard Business Review has found that more than a third of the 1,481 employed learners surveyed (mostly managers and knowledge workers taking online courses) said they had received no training from their organisations in the previous 12 months. 

In his work, he has observed that:

  • Five out of 10 CEOs see training as an expense rather than an investment, or that five out of ten CEOs see training as a defence rather than an offence, or that

  • Five out of 10 CEOs see training as a “necessary evil” rather than a strategic opportunity, and

  • Eight out of 10 CEOs, in a 45-minute tour of their business, would not mention training.

Peters' "People First" focus also advocates for getting more women into leadership positions and supporting an organisational culture that rewards a 'failing fast' and the learning that provides. 

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