The leaders knew bad news was coming as early as 2002. As with many other companies, First Allmerica Financial had been damaged by the post-9/11 stock market plunge. After much consideration, the company decided to stop writing new life insurance policies, which caused the first round of layoffs.
In 2005, the inevitable occurred—the company sold its life policies. This created a unique challenge: The 250-plus remaining employees had to service existing business while transferring knowledge to the acquiring company. Managers needed to motivate and retain staff members, even though they had been given tentative lay-off dates up to 12 months into the future.
You told them… and they did the opposite.
You told them… and they ignored what you said.
You told them… and they got it.
People often tell me that change communications are the most challenging implementation task. Everyone knows that communication is necessary. But so much communication fails. People misunderstand the message, ignore it, or even counter it. That’s not how it should be.
The Five Levels of Communication
This tool, the Five Levels of Communication, provides a simple, intuitive, and logical method for planning and implementing communication during change initiatives. Developed by Linda Ackerman Anderson and Dean Anderson of Being First and highlighted in their book, The Change Leader’s Roadmap, the Five Levels of Communication is the best tool I can recommend for change communication.
Is your biggest networking problem your boss? Read this article for tips and techniques on how to network with your boss.
The relationship with your boss is one of the most important in the workplace. Your boss has the power to recommend you for new assignments, high-profile teams, promotions, and raises. She can make your life miserable or help you achieve your goals. Yet, despite the importance of this relationship, there are many more books on how to manage direct reports than how to manage bosses. This article explores four factors—style, context, relationship, and urgency—to consider before giving up on the relationship with your boss.
It’s 1981 and I want nothing more than to own a pair of designer Jordache jeans. My mother thinks they’re too expensive. “But,” I complain, “All of my friends have them.” Her response: “If all of your friends were jumping off a cliff, would you jump too?”
That was my first lesson in the importance of resisting peer pressure. (It didn’t stick, by the way. I eventually wore down my mother. In my jeans, I thought I was the coolest kid in town.)
My views on peer pressure are a little more nuanced today than it was in 1981. Today, I believe that social pressure has power that can be used for good.
Technologists are notorious for having independent thoughts and ideas. Sometimes this is a help to organizations, such as they’re innovating a new process or technology. Other times, this is a challenge, like when trying to change behavior. Now imagine that those desired behaviors are perceived as limiting freedom and independence on projects. Change could be hard.
One organization, a former client, succeeded in herding a group of smart cats—technologists—to implement software engineering best practices by adopting the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). For those of you who live outside IT Land, CMM is a proven approach to process improvement implemented by many companies throughout the world.
I’m delighted to announce that November 28, 2012 is the release date for Handbook for Strategic HR: Best Practices in Organization Development from the OD Network.
This volume draws on the best thinking on strategic Human Resources from the chapter on Change Management.
Here’s the blurb about the book from Amazon:
The role of human resources is no longer limited to hiring, managing compensation, and ensuring compliance. Since the 1990s, a transformation has occurred. Companies are calling upon a new breed of HR professionals to behave as organization development consultants, helping to determine priorities in running the business, design how work gets done, craft strategy, and shape culture.
Social networks are hot topics these days. But the allure of Facebook and LinkedIn also holds a trap: they can lure us into thinking that building and maintaining our connections ties is simply a matter of using our smart phones to “bring people to the square” (as in the Arab Spring), communicating through Twitter, or attending the latest networking meeting.
To make informal networks a force for institutional learning and innovation, we must get beyond the idea that network creation is finding each other in the virtual hallways of social media. We need to bring focus to our networks, identify the value we wish to mine from them, align around that imperative, and then take joint action to pilot and perfect new products and services.