Pandemic Ponderings 2 – The Experience With Our Clients

Tom GibbonsLearning, Organization DevelopmentLeave a Comment

The first Pandemic Ponderings post focused on our experience so far. This post looks at our experience so far with our clients.

Overall our experience with our clients has been really quite awesome; different than our pre pandemic experience. We have had deeper conversations, more direct conversations about how we can make things happen together, we have experienced uncertainty together and we have changed together. I’ll be writing a bit more on this in our next post.

This has been our experience so far with the clients we have been working with. It has been very interesting to discover the trends of who those clients are; and from the opposite side, who they are not.

The two groups of clients that have consistently continued use our products and services throughout the pandemic have been independent consultants and not for profit organizations.

Corporations have mostly disappeared (with one significant exception). When a financial crisis hits it’s very common for learning and development in corporations to be cut back. We have experienced this phenomenon a number of times. The difference this time was that independent consultants kept doing development. Most of our consulting Network Members work at senior levels in organizations, and they were as busy as ever!

It seems from our experience, the pandemic illustrated another inequity. If you were senior, resources for development were still available, if you were more junior, resources were very scarce. And in this crisis there was probably more need for development (and learning support) than we’ve seen before.

Of real interest and quite different than other crisis’, our work with not for profits is busier. We are currently working with more not for profits than at any time in our history. I even worked with a group of Sisters who had formed a new team just a few weeks ago using the Team Management Profile!

As we have talked about this, it seems not for profits recognize that their people really need learning and development as the pandemic drags on or the organization simply will not be able to service the people they support. Without learning and development their very purpose will be compromised.

It seems that for profit organizations, with profit being the primary goal, didn’t need learning and development to meet that goal, cutting cost would work while still being able to service their clients, whose demands had often decreased as well.

I am not making a judgement about this. The end points for not for profits and for profit organizations are very different. What they need to do to manage those end points are very different as well. Those differences have never been made more visible to us than through this pandemic.

For us, this powerful and visible difference relates to the questions that were mentioned in the last post; ‘Is what we do really relevant, if it can so quickly just stop?’… and… ‘What do we need to do to be more relevant?’

Our experience so far with our clients has provided us with some guidance to those questions. We’ll look at that in our next post.

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