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January 28, 2011

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Tom Atkins

I think this is a really interesting topic. It's really no surprise that some of the most successful companies in the world are known for looking after their people and giving them many freedoms - see Google and Apple. As we move into what Stephen Covey calls this 'knowledge worker' age, away from the 'industrial worker age' I think more and more companies will need to adopt similar ways of thinking.

The creative industries have traditionally been very good at giving freedom to their people, primarily because many within these industries are actually freelance. But it's important that larger organisations take certain responsibilities for both personal and professional development to give something more than a pay cheque back to their staff, to build a more rewarding relationship.

I've known some organisations to be very committed to professional development but only in the area that individuals are working in. So if you're an administrator, they may fund a short course in how to be a better administrator for example. Sounds as if it makes sense. But if that administrator has other ambitions and desires for their wider future, why shouldn't organisations be encouraging and supporting this progress too? If it were me, I'd be falling over myself to give back to those who support me early on in life with my bigger picture.

For individuals, whether freelance or within organisations, the best way - as you suggest - is still to seek out your own training. I've had a go at all sorts - marketing courses, fundraising courses, company management courses. All good fun.

In the UK, you can look at the Theatrical Management Association website (if you are in an organisation), the Independent Theatre Council, The Society of London Theatre or Stage One, Stage Management Association for some great courses.

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