Companies need to stay calm as downturn bites, conference hears

IRISH business and Irish industry won’t need the same kind of management consultancy and expert advice in the next few years as it had in the past few years, the inaugural meeting of the Munster branch of the Institute of Management Consultants and Advisors was told.

Thomas Crosbie Holdings group managing director Anthony Dinan, addressing the meeting, said: “Good advice in a downturn is always valuable, but it’s essential for businesses that don’t have a company memory of earlier bad times.

“Any of us who came through the early 1980s are not panicked by the downturn. We don’t like it. But we’re not panicked by it. It’s as if our earlier experience was a vaccination of sorts.”

Companies cutting back in a downturn tend to cut back on three things: management consultancy, training and advertising, Mr Dinan said.

“All three decisions are mistaken.”

Mr Dinan said: “Cost-cutting from the top can be disastrous for a business, if it’s administered in a way that panics employees. Knowing the answers isn’t enough, if the answers humiliate and frighten staff. That makes things worse. More mistakes get made.

“Good management consultancy can help a company through cost-cutting and downsizing, so that employees are involved in the solution, not punished for the context.”

Mr Dinan told his audience that they would expect him to say that cutting back on your advertising budget is not a good move.

“So I’ll say it. Cutting back on advertising budgets is a very bad move... It works brilliantly in the short term — all that spend gone off the bottom line. It works very badly in the medium to long term, as aggressive competitors move ahead,” he said.


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