AM McEwan – Why can’t you be part of the company alumni?

If businesses did become involved in education, but in education from the point of view of what I have just been talking about, skills development and capability, you are helping people to question, to reason. Now, actually that’s a dangerous thing to do, because once you start to do that, you start to question them, and evaluate the policies that are coming out and the actions that are coming out, but so in other words, but I think that being the case that what you are doing is, if you have people who work in your organization who can’t think – no, that’s not the right note. Take that back, it’s not that who can’t think, but who would benefit from having their skills of critical reasoning and questioning and dialog sharpened. Then it means that the huge richness of insights that is outside of the organization is coming in filtered through these significant capabilities.

So that becomes then to the benefit of the people who work in the organization, but it actually feeds into the business, doesn’t it? Because then what you have got are capable people who are scanning… scanning your environment. They are absolutely alive to threats and possibilities, and if they are absolutely alive to the threats and possibilities in a very sophisticated and informed way, why is that not good for your business?

So yes, I think there would be a real benefit boost to the business as a collective entity. And it would certainly be advantageous to people because of that. Again this what I want to try and do with the Smart Work Company, it is really about giving people capability. So it means then that if you have got people who have postgraduate level thinking and social skills, because it’s about social skills as well, it’s about how you engage with your peers, it’s about how you engage with stakeholders, it’s about how engage with customers, it’s about how you have conversations and dialog. If you then, as a business, undertake to be concerned with these capabilities, then you have a really red-hot workforce, you know.

If you then say, well, as many technology companies, I used to be a computer programmer for example in my long past years, and the argument against training hours was that we would leave. Well, you know, do you want us as programmers semi-litterate? or do you want us, for the time we are here, to be red hot, in which case you should pay for our training. And yeah, you know, in a year or two years, we might move off to somewhere else.

So, if we leave, taking our capabilities with us, we also leave taking the goodwill of the business who has helped to develop our capabilities. And I think in this connected world, staying in touch with people who used to be part of your company and who are now elsewhere, they still are your ambassadors. If they have had a good experience of working with you, they move onto another opportunity. They then become, remain part of your alumni, if you like.

You know if you go to the university, you leave the university; you are still part of that alumna. Why can’t you be part of the company alumni, so that when they move on, they are your ambassadors? They tell a good story about you. And I think, so it’s a good question, Thierry. I hadn’t thought about it before. I can see benefits. I don’t think many will go for it, I don’t know, I hope they do because otherwise they are out of business.

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