A few years ago, Thibault Lanxade, head of the MEDEF's small and medium-size SME division, summed up a situation that unfortunately hasn't changed much..

"Transformation in companies is crucial. There are about 800,000 entrepreneurs who will retire in the next 10 years. The logic of divestiture and transfer is a real subject, but these bosses who are going to give in at the same time, have to transform their companies, which raises the question of their own operational performance.

 

For these entrepreneurs, however, it is more complicated to talk about training than for their employees. The entrepreneur has a bit of ego and talking about training is difficult. Nevertheless, operational excellence is not just about growth. So, to transfer your company, you will have to deal with numerous subjects: Today, 70% of the financing is intermediated, tomorrow it will no longer be that. The stock exchange, Crowdfunding, Equity are techniques that the Owner now have to train in...

This remark has become increasingly relevant. It is getting hotter with new government legislation and our president's declared desire to increase the number of Medium Size Enterprises.

In this context, the problem of training and support for the owners of small and medium enterprises is becoming crucial, but no measures seem to be required. Why? Why?

Traditionally, three obstacles to the training of VSE/SME bosses are mentioned :

  1. Content often perceived as far away from the concrete realities of SMEs/SMIs
  2. Difficulty of availability; the owner of a small or medium sized company, a true conductor, can hardly "distract" time;
  3. A difficulty in the trainer's positioning, since the question of legitimacy is important in this population.

 

Let's try to have a double look at the manager and the company. Indeed, it is at the key moments of its evolution that the company most needs a trained manager. What are these key moments? Let's name a few:

  1. 1. Succession, recapitalisation & restructuring essential.
  2. 2. Development of a franchise, product & fund financing.
  3. 3. Merger between equals & International Development.
  4. 4. Diversification research & European funds
  5. 5. Product development & transfer of part of the capital to a new partner.

 

The question becomes:

  1. 1. For the manager, how can he or she ensure acceptance, support and ownership of his or her necessary evolution as head of the SME-SMI?
  2. 2. For the company, how to succeed in its incremental transformation to ensure its development?

The answer: It is through concrete action that both the company and its manager will evolve.

 

The answer: It is through concrete action that both the company and its manager will evolve.

Mentoring is the principle of concrete and concerted action

How can we ensure that concrete action is effective and advances both the company and the manager?

This was a key question during the work with our partners in  the EU Project TRUST ME (www.trust-me-project.eu), in clarifying the Job Description, the SkillCard, and designing a European blended training programme for professionals, with a very successful pilot training phase in 2017.