Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Reader Interests - a short note

I have been trying to work out from referrals and pages visited just what thing most interest my readers. My thinking here was that I could use this to help me better target some of the things that I write about.

The process is not an easy one because of the limits of the free version of the stats package that I have on the site. For example, I have to manually check and record individual searches to see just what phrase brought people to the site.

I am still in the early days of the process, but thought that it might be of interest if I provided some initial comments.

To begin with a disappointment. I get very few hits on training or training related questions. This is a particular interest of mine because I believe that improved training at firm level is critical to improved firm performance. I am also very interested in ways of improving professional education and training in general.

Now it may be that the limited number of hits reflects the way I have used headings etc, that the search engines are not picking things up properly. I can test this by representing material - there are a fair number of training posts in the almost 100 posts written since we started this blog. However, I am left with the feeling that training as such does not rank high on priority lists.

On the other side, there does appear to be a fair bit of interest in practical ways of improving management measured by the number of hits on earlier posts on common management problems.

This nuts and bolts focus also comes through in search patterns on people topics, example, there is a steady stream of hits on performance appraisal. However, like training, the total number of hits on people management topics in general is not high outside common management problems, performance appraisal and remuneration.

By far the largest number of hits in all link in some ways to the commercial and financial aspects of practice management. Practice sale, treatment of good will, pricing, financial metrics all attract steady hits.

As I said, my analysis of traffic patterns is still in its early stages. However, it points to a need for me to balance my interest in broader topics such as my current discussion on evidence based medicine with my reader's interest in more nuts and bolts topics.


Martin Hofmann said...

Hi Jim,

If training and professional education is important to you, you could highlight it in the subtitle of your blog. Ths particular focus may not be obvious enough based on your blog title.

Training should always be part of managing a professional service firm but I think it is often seen as an industry issue and not a firm issue. In many companies, people are sent away to external training courses or seminars, and management does not put a lot of attention towards internal training. It takes time and resources to properly manage internal training, and instill a sense of commitment to training into the corporate culture. I am not against external training but I completely agree with you that training at firm level is tied to improved firm performance.

I have never spent as much time on internal training as I have in the past four years at High Road Communications. At first I was doubtful about the investment but it really pays off, especially when it is tied to a low turnover rate, so that the people you train stay with you. I, for one, would like you to hear more about your thoughts on training.

-- Martin

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Martin, and thanks very much for this. Your suggestion re the subtitle is worth while looking at.

Your comment on external training goes to the heart of a common problem. Too many firms think that sending staff on a few external outings somehow meets their training needs. Too often, it does no more than meet point requirements set for continuing professional development.

I found the comment on your own experience very interesting.I will write some more on training. In fact, your comment itself has generated some new ideas!