Business troubleshooters, aka company doctors,will be heading back to school if Christine Elliott gets her way. As chief executive of the Institute for Turnaround, Elliott is leading a plan to teach new recruits key skills needed to guide a business through tough times.
Elliott explains: “We need to train up the next generation to be able to deal with the problems businesses face. At the start of the most recent recession, people had to bring back experts from the previous recession, as there was absolutely no expertise available.
“The institute has an amazing pool of experienced members who can teach the next generation.”
Although some in the sector have been reluctant for regulation and tests when old-fashioned experience should be all that is needed, Elliott believes a formal route can help all businesses.
She explains: “A decade ago, turnaround was a secret art, not much talked about and unpopular in the boardroom. That is changing as people realise the benefits of applying the skill set that identifies an accredited turnaround professional.
“Turnaround is already
part of the syllabus in some business schools and courses. But these courses, useful though they can be, do not equip students to take turnaround roles. There is no clear career path into turnaround and most turnaround professionals say their route into it was accidental.”
The IFT now plans to launch an academy by next summer and is in talks with a number of business schools, including York University Business School and London Business School, to work on how the academy’s courses can be taught.
The IFT already has a continuing professional development programme and professional information notes, but the academy would be a huge leap for the institute.
And business heads look set to want their company doctors accredited in future. Duncan Parkes, the managing director, of Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Lloyds Business Support is committed to working with IFT-accredited turnaround professionals who hold a current practising certificate in turnaround. We increasingly expect to see IFT accreditation as a precondition of our approving turnaround appointments.”
Elliott is spending the summer holding talks with business schools to get the idea off the ground.