When companies start cutting costs, training programs are almost always the first budget items to go, but that's a lousy way to run a business, writes Margaret Heffernan. It's stupid to underfund the one area of your business that is essential to riding out a downturn, Heffernan argues. "When you're battling for customers and trying to do more with less, your most valuable asset is your staff. And they can do more and better if you train them more," she writes.

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