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Showing posts from November, 2013

Surf the Change

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VUCA is a great concept for organizations to adapt from the military. But we may want to adapt it even further.

Change in organizations these days is stressful, unending, relentless, and a fact of life. So how about SURF?

In 2012, I wrote that stress will continue to stay at a heightened level.

Why? According to news reports on the U.S. economy, hiring will be slow in 2012, and many employers are planning further headcount cuts. Workloads, however, are likely to keep going up. "Doing more with less" will continue.

This is the main driver of workplace stress! When you combine workloads, pressure, and time shortages, with uncertainty and chaos, much of it due to organizational change, watch out: stress will increase. As decades of stress research has taught us, the more stress, the greater the negative effects.

Should managers care? In short, Yes. Stress takes a big toll on employee engagement, on performance, and on health. In today's whitewater working environment, mana…

Service Excellence and Leadership

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Yesterday I was a guest speaker in Atlantic City at the 30th annual conference of the Association of Community Providers here in New Jersey. Their theme for this year's event was "Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities." The reason for this theme, and the focus of the convention, was Change. A great deal is changing in their industry. Ground-shaking change caused by the transition to "fee for service," as well as the Affordable Care Act.

While many of the other speakers were subject matter experts, I was asked to address leadership and service excellence. Here is a synthesis of the main points I shared.

S = Set the bar high. Customers in all segments, from banking to air travel to community care, are expecting more from their service providers. When customers have a choice of provider, the firms that set their bar higher and strive to raise their standards of quality, will gain the competitive advantage.

E = Establish the customer as the center of your dashboard. T…

On Fearless Leadership

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On LinkedIn, someone asked the question, What type of leadership is most needed by HR leaders?

Here's a type to consider: Fearless Leadership. I got the name from my colleague Bettina Neidhardt who used it as the title of her blog for a few years.

Without speaking for her, what I like about the idea of Fearless Leadership, especially for HR, is the idea of guts. How many HR leaders have you known in your career who had the courage to take an unpopular stand?

Here are a few more aspects of Fearless Leadership:

Have chutzpah: An HR leader has to have the chutzpah (Yiddish for insolent audacity) to speak truth to power and tell the emperor he has no clothes on.

Be true to your self: An HR leader has to stand for something. What are the values of the organization? What is HR's role in seeing to it that the values are referenced in all critical business decisions?

Don't let the SOBs get you down: During one's career, you will encounter people who resist change, who test eve…

Transformational Change - Part 3

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A talent acquisition pro was recently grilling me over the phone about my background and capabilities. She didn't know it but I was probably blushing as I "tooted my own horn" about my accomplishments in transformational culture change.

For some reason (maybe it's my destiny, or my reason for being), in my 30+ year-long career, I have often been "where the action is" for an Organization Development practitioner: that is, "in the eye of the storm" of Change.

Mergers. Acquisitions. Takeovers. Re-organizations. Turnarounds. Downsizings. And yes "Culture Changes" too.

I have been there and done that.

So, you may ask, What have I learned? Here are a few lessons from the front-lines of change.

Change is rough - Even when it's the sexy stuff, like leadership development, employee engagement, and culture change, change can be rough. Change always generates stress because it destabilizes things and creates uncertainty. You've got to bec…