Home > Ideas > Is the shoe on the right foot?

Is the shoe on the right foot?

A recent happening prompts me to ask the question:

–          When do we become / feel responsible?

In the last 4 years I have built up a decent inventory of clients for my training programs. I have also empanelled a set of professionals from various domains. This arrangement helps me to front-end training needs beyond the areas in which I am proficient. Some clients use my service directly – I create and deliver solutions that would solve a specific need of theirs. At other times I mediate discussions between an expert and an organisation and get programs delivered on a whole host of technical topics that are not my specialty.

In the second instance I am more in Business Development / Sourcing mode. In addition to providing the Subject Matter Expert, I would arrange the venue and other infrastructure needed – the expert comes in just to deliver the program. Other that the content and training delivery everything else would be ready; having done that for close to 4 years I know how, when and where to get the best prices for each of the pieces involved in the process – and am constantly on the lookout for even better deals.

Recently I hired a very senior trainer to deliver a program in another city – the venue, the travel, accommodation and even local conveyance for the trainer were arranged remotely; with a laptop, the Internet and a phone quite a lot can be achieved. The only request I made to the trainer was to get the handouts for the program printed – even that’s organised usually but this time I was not available to get it done.

After the program the expert sent the list of expenses and I was shocked to find a claim for printing charges that was almost six times the amount I would have paid to my regular vendors in that city. I immediately sought clarification and he glibly tells me that the prints were taken at the first outlet he found – maybe the Business Centre in a Hotel. He did not care about the expense because the load was on me. His Expert Fee was being paid separately. Now, I have been using this gentleman’s services for two years and I thought we had developed a fair working relationship. I am aware that he too did a bit of business development and organizing of such programs on his home turf.

This gentleman is older than I am but I had to tell him this just isn’t done. I wrote to ask whether he would have been so unmindful of the expense if it were his own program. The issue is not the amount lost, but the thought behind the action.

The man was miffed at my high-handed behaviour, but it had to be told. A little legwork and he could have got the job done at much lower cost – but he did not feel responsible to do that.

As employees or partners in an enterprise are we always trying to get more value or utility from every activity?

–          How can we increase productivity?

–          How can we use resources and infrastructure optimally?

–          What are the ways we can reduce cost?

–          Are we making booking early enough to get the best prices?

–          Can we arrange the program at another venue that provides the same services at a better price?

–          Can I increase the number of Sales Calls I make each day?

–          Can I reduce the wastage of collaterals and other consumables?

–          Can I hire a lower cost resource who would deliver similar services?

It hurts when people behave irresponsibly? It should pinch when there is wastage or misuse! We don’t have the luxury or privilege of inexhaustible supply of resources.

Which foot is the shoe on?

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  1. Shalini James
    April 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Pertinent point!

    • JayadevM
      April 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Thank you, Shalini!

  2. April 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    I think the answer to your question could be quite depressing. Most people are remarkably callous when someone else is footing the bill. Unnecessary travel, loading extras on to expense accounts, even wasting electricity and water…the list is endless.

    • JayadevM
      April 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      Raji, that is the sad truth!

      A lot of people are that way? I guess its for us to try and change a few!

  3. vijay
    April 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    unfortunately very true and very common, i think it boils down to the individual and what kind of environment/organizations they have worked in.

    • JayadevM
      April 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Hi, Vijay.

      Thank you for visiting. And yes at times people can be disappointing.

  4. April 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I think if the scope is defined, budgets planned in advance and understanding of the resource you have partnered may reduce the impact. Harish

    • JayadevM
      April 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      Hi Harish

      That is a useful input.

      You are right – the work needs to be scoped, the process spelt out and the boundary conditions defined and communicated.

      Thank you for the visit and the comment.

  5. Jamy
    April 29, 2012 at 7:45 am

    A true professional would always make sure that his/her actions do not negatively affect profitability! Always!

    • JayadevM
      April 29, 2012 at 10:10 am


      That’s right … professionalism is about putting the organisation and team before self – but sometimes the lines blur and people work at cross – purposes!

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