Stop wasting time being busy

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 11th, 2012 by admin

“If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot people tell you how busy they are.”

This is how author Tim Kreider opens his New York Times essay “The Busy Trap” that describes people’s need to perceive themselves as busy as a means of justifying their existence. While Kreider is commenting on life in general, his suggestion that we stop valuing busyness as a positive has relevance to anyone in management.

The crush of busyness defines management life today. Executives I work with are at their desks early and leave late. In between they bounce from meeting to meeting. Evenings are spent catching up on email. Time for them means not having enough of it.

Sometimes time can be a wonderful excuse for not doing something but in reality the urgency of time becomes a curse; it prevents from doing two critical things: one, making time for others; and two, making time for ourselves. I am not talking about work life balance; I am referring to the imbalance that two much busyness imposes on work itself.

Not all managers ricochet from meeting to meeting. Good ones have found ways to carve out blocks of time from their schedules the way that sculptors shape stone. And once that time is carved it becomes like sculpture permanent. That is it stays open except in cases of extreme emergency. This becomes the time when managers do their real work – meeting with direct reports and reflecting on their performance.

From these folks I have learned a few rules that I can share.
1. Value your time
Regard time as an asset that like money must be managed well. If it is squandered it may be the same as making a poor investment. And it is because you have wasted it. Prioritizing tasks can help you focus on what is important and what can be eliminated if they do not add value to the enterprise.

2. Delegate meetings to others
This is a terrific way to groom people for more responsibility. Give them authority to speak for you at meetings. When doing so make certain they find ways to manage their time effectively, too – in part by delegating to others.

3. Use free time to reflect
The late Skip LeFauve who ran GM’s Saturn Division in the Nineties told me that if you want to reflect, then you had to schedule it. For Skip reflection was not a solo endeavor; he would do it with a trusted colleague, typically when discussing people development issues. Others make time for selves by keeping one free afternoon a week or every other week.

Managing your time very often is not easy because you may not be in control of your schedule. Events happen. Customers need assistance. Things go wrong. The manager must respond. But day-to-day – unless you are a first responder for fire, safety or health – your schedule is not so chaotic. You can take control if you choose to do so.

Addressing that issue may seem existential but in management it is more practical. If you want to manage appropriately and lead your people effectively you need to make time work for you not against you. Time is not the enemy per se; how we manage it is the challenge.

Source:, July 2, 2012
Author: John Baldoni

Why HR still isn’t a strategic partner

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on July 11th, 2012 by admin

August 23, I present, in collaboration with the Bangkok Post the results of the first HR Barometer in Thailand.

The aim is to fact-based show how Thai HR activities and functions of the HR is allingned with the expectations of both the colleagues in management team and the organization in general. If you want to have the opportunity to take part of the result of the first ever HR Barometer in Thailand at the event at Centara Grand Hotel – please contact Bangkok Post!

// Johan

For two decades we have been hearing that HR must become a strategic partner to the business. And the fact that we’re still hearing it suggests that in many organizations it hasn’t happened.

The need to align HR with the business has become more urgent than ever. Financial markets exert relentless pressure for growth, especially in emerging markets. Customers demand more and better service at lower cost. And cost-efficiency, resource conservation and regulatory compliance have become issues for almost every organization. Turnover among top talent is expected to increase in 2012; globalization is requiring stronger regional HR capabilities; and demographic shifts across the world are dramatically affecting availability of qualified people.

Yet, all too often, business leaders still wonder aloud why their organizations even have HR departments. For their part, many HR leaders are willing to partner with the business, but given the unique situation of each individual company, they have little in the way of concrete guidance about how to fulfill that role.

Let me suggest a way to start. Of every action you take as an HR leader, ask this simple question: does it cause friction in the business or does it create flow? Friction is anything that makes it more difficult for people in critical roles to win with the customer. Flow, on the other hand, is doing everything possible to remove barriers and promote better performance. The question applies to virtually any company in any business and it will take you farther down the road faster than the hazy, abstract injunction to become a strategic partner. Even in what appear to be routine HR responsibilities, you can inject the business perspective simply by asking whether what you are doing is going to enhance the flow of the business or impede it with friction.

Why is it so difficult to inject that business perspective? Because as HR leaders we feel ourselves to be near the pinnacle of the organization. The organization reports to us. It must meet our demands for information, documents, numbers.

In fact, that’s backwards. We are far removed from the points and people that make a difference with customers and a difference to the business. Our perspective should be that of seeing to it that the people at those points can perform as smoothly, productively, and frictionlessly as possible.

Think, for example, of your talent strategy. Do you simply manage talent, or do you provide talent solutions that reduce friction and enhance the flow of the business? Often we pride ourselves on trying to recruit the best talent we can find and consistently and fairly spending our resources and focusing our attention equally on everyone. But does that really enhance the flow of the business?

To truly be partners to the business we must identify those critical points of the business where the strategy succeeds or fails, and provide relevant talent solutions. In other words, we must think in terms of what Brian E. Becker, Mark A. Huselid, and Richard W. Beatty call “the differentiated workforce,” in their book of the same name. That means managing talent as a portfolio of investments, some of which will pay a much higher return than others. Instead of spending an equal amount of time, attention and resources on everyone equally, you make disproportionate investments in the most critical roles and critical people — not just in terms of compensation, but in terms of development, opportunities, retention, engagement, and human capital planning. All jobs in a business unit are important, but not all are strategic and have maximum impact on the economic value of the business.

Many business units spend time each year identifying talent and competency needs, but few get real about it by developing plans around winning in their critical talent spaces. Let’s say you have, in your opinion, spent the appropriate amount of time identifying your strategic talent needs — the difference-making roles. Then ask yourself how much time you and your HR team and line leaders spend focusing on solutions for acquiring, developing, engaging and retaining the talent to fill those needs? Or do you have the “equality” mentality — devoting the same amount of attention to everyone? It’s shocking how many HR leaders say that their business has a strategic priority such as accelerating growth in emerging markets, but they and their teams spend little time in emerging markets. Does your investment of time and resources match your business strategy? If not, you are creating friction in the business that diminishes strategic impact.

Source: Harvard Business Review, July 5, 2012
Author: J. Craig Mundy
About J. Craig Mundy: J. Craig Mundy is vice president of human resources and communications for the Climate Solutions sector of Ingersoll Rand. In this position, he leads the human capital and engagement strategies for the Thermo King and Trane brands, and has implemented a global talent solutions approach for the sector’s business operations around the world.

Are you using social media for recruiting?

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on July 10th, 2012 by admin

Ready to start using social media for recruiting? If so, join the crowd. 92% of recruiters currently use or plan to use social media to recruit employees, according to the Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2012.** 93% use LinkedIn, 66% recruit on Facebook, and 54% search for employees using Twitter.

Since the surveyed recruiters implemented social recruiting, these are their reported results.
• 49% saw an increase in quantity of candidates,
• 43% reported an increase in candidate quality,
• 20% reported it took less time to hire.
• 31% saw increase in employee referrals.

In a 15% increase since 2010, 73% of recruiters have hired a candidate identified through the use of social media.

What Recruiters Seek in Prospective Employees – or Not
Survey respondents suggest that social media recruiting is forefront in their hiring strategies. The survey found that interest in reviewing the online profiles of candidates is growing. •80% like to see memberships and affiliations with professional organizations.
• 66% are favorably impressed with volunteer work.
• 78% reacted negatively to posts that referenced illegal drug use.
• 67% reacted negatively to posts of a sexual nature.
• 54% of respondents reacted negatively to grammar and spelling mistakes.
• 47% reacted negatively to posts about alcohol consumption.

Additional Facts About Recruiting Employees
The survey revealed other factors about recruiting.
• 62% cite the recruiting of passive candidates (people not actively looking for a job) as a method they use to compete against other employers.
• 53% compete by offering better benefits.
• 47% offer flexible hours.
• 42% compete with a faster hiring process.
• 34% offer the option of working remotely.
• 30% offer higher compensation.

The Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2012 was conducted online between May and June 2012. Over 1000 people across the globe completed the survey in response to an email invitation sent to a registered list of HR and recruiting professionals. They used an online survey tool.

Source:, 10 July 2012
Author: Susan M Heathfield

Steps to provide feedback in a difficult conversation

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 9th, 2012 by admin

• Seek permission to provide the feedback. Even if you are the employee’s boss, start by stating you have some feedback you’d like to share. Ask if it’s a good time or if the employee would prefer to select another time and place. (Within reason, of course.)

• Use a soft entry. Don’t dive right into the feedback – give the person a chance to brace for potentially embarrassing feedback. Tell the employee that you need to provide feedback that is difficult to share. If you’re uncomfortable with your role in the conversation, you might say that, too. Most people are as uncomfortable providing feedback about an individual’s personal dress or habits, as the person receiving the feedback.

• Often, you are in the feedback role because other employees have complained to you about the habit, behavior, or dress. Do not give in to the temptation to amplify the feedback, or excuse your responsibility for the feedback, by stating that a number of coworkers have complained. This heightens the embarrassment and harms the recovery of the person receiving feedback.

• The best feedback is straightforward and simple. Don’t beat around the bush. I am talking with you because this is an issue that you need to address for success in this organization.

• Tell the person the impact that changing his or her behavior will have from a positive perspective. Tell the employee how choosing to do nothing will affect their career and job.

• Reach agreement about what the individual will do to change their behavior. Set a due date – tomorrow, in some cases. Set a time frame to review progress in others.

• Follow-up. The fact that the problem exists means that backsliding is possible; further clarification may also be necessary. Then, more feedback and possibly, disciplinary action are possible next steps.

You can become effective at holding difficult conversations. Practice and these steps will help build your comfort level to hold difficult conversations. After all, a difficult conversation can make the difference between success and failure for a valued employee. Care enough to hold the difficult conversation.

Source:, April 2012

Understanding the new ROI of marketing

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Försäljning / Sales on July 7th, 2012 by admin

If you’re tracking monetary return on investment (ROI) as the sole criterion to determine if your marketing programs are working, then you need to catch up to the 21st century because you’re missing a big part of the picture.

No longer does ROI stand only for return on investment. Today, ROI also stands for return on impression, which encompasses two primary values — a hard metric and a soft metric. Together, those two values are far more powerful for measuring marketing performance than the single dollar value provided by return on investment metrics.
But the new ROI of marketing goes even further than investments and impressions. It also encompasses return on engagement, objectives, and opportunity. Today, people share information via the social web faster and more frequently than ever. Traditional ROI analysis is just the tip of the iceberg. The really interesting part of the story is what happens beneath the surface of the water. The hard metrics related to return on investment barely touch the surface.

Return on Impression = Eyeballs
The first metric you can track using the return on impression valuation is the number of people who actually see your ad, marketing material, or other tangible marketing piece. For example, online advertising can be tracked by the number of times an ad is displayed on screen to a person. This is particularly easy to track if you’re running pay-per-impression ads. Marketers love the hard metrics such an advertisement can provide. But that metric only tells a tiny part of the story.

Return on Impression – Perceptions

The return on impression metric is also a soft metric that focuses on giving a value to an essential component of branding — consumer perceptions of the brand. Remember, companies don’t build brands, consumers do by experiencing those brands, developing feelings for those brands and emotional connections to them, and talking about those brands with other people. Thanks to the social web, those conversations are far-reaching. Therefore, a marketing initiative performance analysis would be incomplete without analyzing how that initiative affected consumer perceptions of the brand.

Return on Opportunity
Measuring return on opportunity requires you to evaluate the opportunity that a specific marketing initiative presents versus the time and monetary commitment that effort requires. In other words, return on opportunity forces you to evaluate the indirect marketing potential of your marketing investments. This is particularly important when a marketing effort can take on a life of its own across the social web. Similarly, a marketing opportunity might not add to a business’ bottom-line today, but the indirect marketing opportunities that it could lead to as people discuss it and share it across the social web (and offline) can make that initiative be worth the effort now. Marketers who can successfully balance potential opportunity against effort will have a leg up on the competition.

Return on Engagement
Using the social web example again, return on engagement is a critical component of your marketing performance analysis because the conversations, sharing and word-of-mouth marketing that happen online can make or break a marketing initiative, a brand, and a business. The value of a positive online buzz about your brand, products, services, and business are difficult to quantify, but there is no doubt about how powerful they can be. Yes, you can use tools to track website traffic, content sharing, comments, and so on, but you also need to analyze how people are engaging with you, your content, and your brand. Remember, relationship brands are the most powerful brands in the world. Return on engagement can show you how well you’re brand is performing in terms of building and sustaining relationships with both consumers and influencers. The soft metrics data related to how and why people engage with you and your brand are extremely valuable to companies that prioritize them.

Return on Objectives

Analyzing return on objectives requires that you accept that not all goals are measurable with hard data. Sometimes, marketing efforts simply help a business move in the right direction to meet its long-term objectives. For example, a business that develops a content marketing plan and creates a useful repository of content on its blog, Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, and so on over the course of a year will undoubtedly move closer to its long-term brand building objectives thanks to those efforts. Return on objectives goes hand-in-hand with return on opportunity and return on engagement to give you a comprehensive, integrated marketing plan and tracking strategy that delivers the best results.

Together, return on impression, return on opportunity, return on engagement, and return on objectives give you a clearer picture of how your marketing initiatives are performing than return on investment offers alone. Today, focusing on traditional ROI only isn’t enough. The hard and soft data is available to you, use it. You can bet your competitors are (or will be soon).

Source: Forbes Magazine, May 2012
Author: Susan Gunelius

How leaders kill meaning at work

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 3rd, 2012 by admin

Senior executives routinely undermine creativity, productivity, and commitment by damaging the inner work lives of their employees in four avoidable ways.

As a senior executive, you may think you know what Job Number 1 is: developing a killer strategy. In fact, this is only Job 1a. You have a second, equally important task. Call it Job 1b: enabling the ongoing engagement and everyday progress of the people in the trenches of your organization who strive to execute that strategy. A multiyear research project whose results we described in our recent book, The Progress Principle,1 found that of all the events that can deeply engage people in their jobs, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.

Even incremental steps forward—small wins—boost what we call “inner work life”: the constant flow of emotions, motivations, and perceptions that constitute a person’s reactions to the events of the work day. Beyond affecting the well-being of employees, inner work life affects the bottom line.2 People are more creative, productive, committed, and collegial in their jobs when they have positive inner work lives. But it’s not just any sort of progress in work that matters. The first, and fundamental, requirement is that the work be meaningful to the people doing it.

In our book and a recent Harvard Business Review article,3 we argue that managers at all levels routinely—and unwittingly—undermine the meaningfulness of work for their direct subordinates through everyday words and actions. These include dismissing the importance of subordinates’ work or ideas, destroying a sense of ownership by switching people off project teams before work is finalized, shifting goals so frequently that people despair that their work will ever see the light of day, and neglecting to keep subordinates up to date on changing priorities for customers.

But what about a company’s most senior leaders? What is their role in making—or killing—meaning at work? To be sure, as a high-level leader, you have fewer opportunities to directly affect the inner work lives of employees than do frontline supervisors. Yet your smallest actions pack a wallop because what you say and do is intensely observed by people down the line.4 A sense of purpose in the work, and consistent action to reinforce it, has to come from the top.

Four traps
To better understand the role of upper-level managers, we recently dug back into our data: nearly 12,000 daily electronic diaries from dozens of professionals working on important innovation projects at seven North American companies. We selected those entries in which diarists mentioned upper- or top-level managers—868 narratives in all.

Qualitative analysis of the narratives highlighted four traps that lie in wait for senior executives. Most of these pitfalls showed up in several companies. Six of the seven suffered from one or more of the traps, and in only a single company did leaders avoid them. The existence of this outlier suggests that it is possible for senior executives to sustain meaning consistently, but that’s difficult and requires vigilance.

This article should help you determine whether you risk falling into some of these traps yourself—and unknowingly dragging your organization into the abyss with you. We also offer a few thoughts on avoiding the problems, advice inspired by the actions and words of a senior leader at the one company that did so.

We don’t claim to have all the answers. But we are convinced that executives who sidestep these traps reduce their risk of inadvertently draining meaning from the work of the people in their organizations. Those leaders also will boost the odds of tapping into the motivational power of progress—something surprisingly few do.

We surveyed 669 managers at all levels of management, from dozens of companies and various industries around the world. We asked them to rank the importance of five employee motivators: incentives, recognition, clear goals, interpersonal support, and progress in the work. Only 8 percent of senior executives ranked progress as the most important motivator. Had they chosen randomly, 20 percent would have done so. In short, our survey showed that most executives don’t understand the power of progress in meaningful work.5 And the traps revealed by the diaries suggest that most executives don’t act as though progress matters. You can do better.

Trap 1: Mediocrity signals
Most likely, your company aspires to greatness, articulating a high purpose for the organization in its corporate mission statement. But are you inadvertently signaling the opposite through your words and actions?

We saw this dynamic repeatedly at a well-known consumer products company we’ll call Karpenter Corporation, which was experiencing a rapid deterioration in the inner work lives of its employees as a result of the actions of a new top-management team. Within three years of our studying Karpenter, it had become unprofitable and was acquired by a smaller rival.

Karpenter’s top-management team espoused a vision of entrepreneurial cross-functional business teams. In theory, each team would operate autonomously, managing its share of the company’s resources to back its own new-product innovations. During the year we collected data from Karpenter teams, the annual report was full of references to the company’s innovation focus; in the first five sentences, “innovation” appeared three times.

In practice, however, those top managers were so focused on cost savings that they repeatedly negated the teams’ autonomy, dictated cost reduction goals that had to be met before any other priorities were, and—as a result—drove new-product innovation into the ground. This unintended, de facto hypocrisy took its toll, as a diary excerpt from a longtime Karpenter product engineer emphasizes:

Today I found out that our team will be concentrating on [cost savings] for the next several months instead of any new products. . . . It is getting very difficult to concentrate on removing pennies from the standard cost of an item. That is the only place that we have control over. Most of the time, quality suffers. It seems that our competition is putting out new products at a faster rate. . . . We are no longer the leader in innovation. We are the followers.

This employee’s work had begun to lose its meaning, and he wasn’t alone. Many of the other 65 Karpenter professionals in our study felt that they were doing mediocre work for a mediocre company—one for which they had previously felt fierce pride. By the end of our time collecting data at Karpenter, many of these employees were completely disengaged. Some of the very best had left.

The mediocrity trap was not unique to Karpenter. We saw it revealed in different guises in several of the companies we studied. At a chemicals firm, it stemmed from the top managers’ risk aversion. Consider these words from one researcher there:

A proposal for liquid/medical filtration using our new technology was tabled for the second time by the Gate 1 committee (five directors that screen new ideas). Although we had plenty of info for this stage of the game, the committee is uncomfortable with the risk and liability. The team, and myself, are frustrated about hurdles that we don’t know how to answer.

This company’s leaders also inadvertently signaled that, despite their rhetoric about being innovative and cutting edge, they were really more comfortable being ordinary.

Trap 2: Strategic ‘attention deficit disorder’
As an experienced leader, you probably scan your company’s external environment constantly for guidance in making your next strategic moves. What are competitors planning? Where are new ones popping up? What’s happening in the global economy, and what might the implications be for financing or future market priorities? You are probably brimming with ideas on where you’d like to take the company next. All of that is good, in theory.

In practice, we see too many top managers start and abandon initiatives so frequently that they appear to display a kind of attention deficit disorder (ADD) when it comes to strategy and tactics. They don’t allow sufficient time to discover whether initiatives are working, and they communicate insufficient rationales to their employees when they make strategic shifts.

Karpenter’s strategic ADD seemed to stem from its leaders’ short attention span, perhaps fueled by the CEO’s desire to embrace the latest management trends. The problem was evident in decisions at the level of product lines and extended all the way up to corporate strategy. If you blinked, you could miss the next strategic shift. In one employee’s words:

A quarterly product review was held with members of the [top team] and the general manager and president. Primary outcome from the meeting was a change in direction away from spray jet mops to revitalization of existing window squeegees. Four priorities were defined for product development, none of which were identified as priorities at our last quarterly update. The needle still points north, but we’ve turned the compass again.

At another company we studied, strategic ADD appeared to stem from a top team warring with itself. Corporate executives spent many months trying to nail down a new market strategy. Meanwhile, different vice presidents were pushing in different directions, rendering each of the leaders incapable of giving consistent direction to their people. This wreaked havoc in the trenches. One diarist, a project manager, felt that rather than committing herself to doing something great for particular customers, she needed to hedge her bets:

The VP gave us his opinion of which target candidates [for new products] may fit with overall company strategy—but, in reality, neither he nor anyone in our management structure knows what the strategy is. It makes this project a real balancing act—we need to go forward, but need to weigh commitments very carefully.

If high-level leaders don’t appear to have their act together on exactly where the organization should be heading, it’s awfully difficult for the troops to maintain a strong sense of purpose.

Trap 3: Corporate Keystone Kops
In the early decades of cinema, a popular series of silent-film comedies featured the Keystone Kops—fictional policemen so incompetent that they ran around in circles, mistakenly bashed each other on the head, and fumbled one case after another. The title of that series became synonymous with miscoordination. Our research found that many executives who think everything is going smoothly in the everyday workings of their organizations are blithely unaware that they preside over their own corporate version of the Keystone Kops. Some contribute to the farce through their actions, others by failing to act. At Karpenter, for example, top managers set up overly complex matrix reporting structures, repeatedly failed to hold support functions (such as purchasing and sales) accountable for coordinated action, and displayed a chronic indecisiveness that bred rushed analyses. In the words of one diarist:

Last-minute changes continue on [an important customer’s] assortments. Rather than think through the whole process and logically decide which assortments we want to show [the customer], we are instead using a shotgun approach of trying multiple assortments until we find one that works. In the meantime, we are expending a lot of time and effort on potential assortments only to find out later that an assortment has been dropped.

Although Karpenter’s example was egregious, the company was far from alone in creating chaotic situations for its workers. In one high-tech company we studied, for example, Keystone Kop–like scenarios played out around the actions of a rogue marketing function. As described in one engineer’s diary, the attempts of many teams to move forward with their projects were continually thwarted by signals from marketing that conflicted with those coming from R&D and other key functions. Marketers even failed to show up for many key meetings:

At a meeting with Pierce, Clay, and Joseph, I was told that someone from marketing would be attending our team meetings (finally). The meeting also gave me a chance to demonstrate to Joseph that we were getting mixed signals from marketing.

When coordination and support are absent within an organization, people stop believing that they can produce something of high quality. This makes it extremely difficult to maintain a sense of purpose.

Trap 4: Misbegotten ‘big, hairy, audacious goals’
Management gurus Jim Collins and Jerry Porras encourage organizations to develop a “big, hairy, audacious goal” (BHAG, pronounced bee-hag)—a bold strategic vision statement that has powerful emotional appeal.6 BHAGs help infuse work with meaning by articulating the goals of the organization in a way that connects emotionally with peoples’ values. (Think of Google’s stated mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”)

At some companies, however, such statements are grandiose, containing little relevance or meaning for people in the trenches. They can be so extreme as to seem unattainable and so vague as to seem empty. The result is a meaning vacuum. Cynicism rises and drive plummets. Although we saw this trap clearly in only one of the seven companies we studied, we think it is sufficiently seductive and dangerous to warrant consideration.

That company, a chemicals firm, set a BHAG that all projects had to be innovative blockbusters that would yield a minimum of $100 million in revenue annually, within five years of a project’s initiation. This goal did not infuse the work with meaning, because it had little to do with the day-to-day activities of people in the organization. It did not articulate milestones toward the goal; it did not provide for a range of experiments and outcomes to meet it; worst of all, it did not connect with anything the employees valued. Most of them wanted to provide something of value to their customers; an aggressive revenue target told them only about the value to the organization, not to the customer. Far from what Collins and Porras intended, this misbegotten BHAG was helping to destroy the employees’ sense of purpose.

Avoiding the traps
Spotting the traps from the executive suite is difficult enough; sidestepping them is harder still—and wasn’t the focus of our research. Nonetheless, it’s instructive to look at the one company in our study that avoided the traps, a creator of coated fabrics for weatherproof clothing and other applications. We recently interviewed its head, whom we’ll call Mark Hamilton. That conversation generated a few ideas that we hope will spark a lively discussion in your own C-suite. For example:

When you communicate with employees, do you provide strategic clarity that’s consistent with your organization’s capabilities and an understanding of where it can add the most value? Hamilton and his top team believed that innovating in processes, rather than products, was the key to creating the right combination of quality and value for customers. So he talked about process innovation at every all-company meeting, and he steadfastly supported it throughout the organization. This consistency helped everyone understand the strategy and even become jazzed about it.

Can you keep sight of the individual employee’s perspective? The best executives we studied internalize their early experiences and use them as reference points for gauging the signals that their own behavior will send to the troops. “Try hard to remember when you were working in the trenches,” Hamilton says. “If somebody asked you to do a bunch of work on something they hadn’t thought through, how meaningful could it be for you? How committed could you be?”

Do you have any early-warning systems that indicate when your view from the top doesn’t match the reality on the ground? Regular audits to gauge the effectiveness of coordination and support processes in areas such as marketing, sales, and purchasing can highlight pain points that demand senior management’s attention because they are starting to sap meaning from your people’s work. In Hamilton’s view, senior executives bear the responsibility for identifying and clearing away systemic impediments that prevent quality work from getting done.

Hamilton’s company was doing very well. But we believe that senior executives can provide a sense of purpose and progress even in bad economic times. Consider the situation that then–newly appointed Xerox head Anne Mulcahy faced in 2000, when the company verged on bankruptcy. Mulcahy refused her advisers’ recommendation to file for bankruptcy (unless all other options were exhausted) because of the demoralizing signal it would send to frontline employees. “What we have going for us,” she said, “is that our people believe we are in a war that we can win.”7 She was right, and her conviction helped carry Xerox through four years of arduous struggle to later success.

As an executive, you are in a better position than anyone to identify and articulate the higher purpose of what people do within your organization. Make that purpose real, support its achievement through consistent everyday actions, and you will create the meaning that motivates people toward greatness. Along the way, you may find greater meaning in your own work as a leader.

Source: McKinsey Quaterly 2012
Authors: Teresa Amabile is the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Steven Kramer is an independent researcher and writer.

Building enthusiasm for a company’s strategic direction – The social side of strategy

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on July 2nd, 2012 by admin

Crowdsourcing your strategy may sound crazy. But a few pioneering companies are starting to do just that, boosting organizational alignment in the process. Should you join them?

In 2009, Wikimedia1 launched a special wiki—one dedicated to the organization’s own strategy. Over the next two years, more than 1,000 volunteers generated some 900 proposals for the company’s future direction and then categorized, rationalized, and formed task forces to elaborate on them. The result was a coherent strategic plan detailing a set of beliefs, priorities, and related commitments that together engendered among participants a deep sense of dedication to Wikimedia’s future. Through the launch of several special projects and the continued work of self-organizing teams dedicated to specific proposals, the vision laid out in the strategic plan is now unfolding.

Wikimedia’s effort to crowdsource its strategy probably sounds like an outlier—after all, the company’s very existence rests on collaborative content creation. Yet over the past few years, a growing number of organizations have begun experimenting with opening up their strategy processes to constituents who were previously frozen out of strategic direction setting. Examples include 3M, Dutch insurer AEGON, global IT services provider HCL Technologies, Red Hat (the leading provider of Linux software), and defense contractor Rite-Solutions.

While such efforts are at different stages, executives at organizations that are experimenting with more participatory modes of strategy development cite two major benefits. One is improving the quality of strategy by pulling in diverse and detailed frontline perspectives that are typically overlooked but can make the resulting plans more insightful and actionable. The second is building enthusiasm and alignment behind a company’s strategic direction—a critical component of long-term organizational health, effective execution, and strong financial performance that is all too rare, according to research we and our colleagues in McKinsey’s organization practice have conducted.

Our objective in this article isn’t to present a definitive road map for opening up the strategy process; it’s simply too early for one to exist. We’d also be the first to acknowledge that for most organizations, “social” strategy setting represents a significant departure from the status quo and should be experimented with carefully—whether that means trying it out in a few areas or creating meaningful opportunities for participation in the context of a more traditional strategy process.

For more on intelligent experimentation, ses “Collaborative strategic planning: Three observations”:

There are some fascinating interdependencies between the experiments described in “The social side of strategy,” the challenges inherent to strategic planning, and the impact that cognitive biases have on decision making. Because the latter two issues are central to my own research and work,1 I would like to hazard three observations about the role that community-oriented strategy tools can play.

1. Rounding out the strategist’s tool kit
Social-strategy initiatives represent valuable tools, but they’re not a replacement for the entire strategic-planning edifice. As the examples in the previous article show, the crowdsourcing of strategy can be particularly useful for activities such as generating ideas, prioritizing them (through prediction markets, for example), and challenging operational plans. On the other hand, social-strategy tools are less likely to help the strategist identify the need for radical shifts in direction, wrestle through difficult trade-offs between options that seem similarly attractive, or develop plans for working through intensely competitive circumstances. Most importantly, a strategist—not a tool—should decide, at the end of the day, what to do.

One of the main gripes people have with strategic plans is that they are not strategic enough. In the words of one chief strategy officer I know, “Our strategic sessions are budget meetings with the word ‘strategic’ thrown in here and there to add emphasis.” There are also significant confidentiality issues around strategy—most companies believe that keeping a plan shrouded in secrecy until it gets implemented is critical to its success. Consider the implications these two issues have for social-strategy tools: leaders concerned about confidentiality might well limit the use of these tools to more operational planning—which in turn could reduce the likelihood of their leading to real strategic breakthroughs and breed disenchantment with them. The wise leader will look for steps in the strategic-planning process that can be tackled in unconventional ways, without pretending that taking those steps implies wholesale replacement of the process or that it will magically transform their strategy.

2. Killing bad ideas
The old brainstorming adage “There are no bad ideas” does not apply to strategy. Terrible ideas abound for new markets to explore, acquisitions to make, products to invest in, and the like. Prediction markets and other similar mechanisms hold the alluring promise of pinpointing bad ideas before companies invest too much in them.

The objection I have heard most often to prediction markets is that they place sponsoring executives in a very difficult position. Asking large numbers of employees for their input on strategy ideas already requires a healthy measure of humility. Doing so by asking them to vote through a public mechanism that will price ideas and make transparent— perhaps even amplify—collective sentiment about them calls for extraordinary courage. Simply put, it is extremely embarrassing to float the stock of an idea (a new product launch, for instance) and see its price fall to zero. One company I know had exactly this experience and subsequently recognized that prediction markets were the best prediction mechanism they had—but decided to drop them for that reason!

That decision may seem irrational: if a product is going to fail, wouldn’t you want to know sooner rather than later? But the CEO believed that success does not depend solely on the product’s intrinsic appeal; it is also a function of how convincingly people will sell it—which in turn requires them to believe in it. This point of view may sound oddly paternalistic (“let some people fail trying to sell something they don’t believe in, because making that disbelief transparent would demoralize others who are foolish enough to believe in it and who will try harder based on that belief”). But it is widespread, and, at least in industries where the sales process plays a key part, it can be justified. What this experience suggests to me is that strategists hoping to embrace market-based mechanisms should investigate not just the mechanics of those approaches but also how the leaders employing them muster the courage to do so.

3. Avoiding anchoring and groupthink
An important problem to keep in mind for leaders considering the application of social-strategy tools is how to improve the odds of generating productive debate instead of groupthink. Certainly, these approaches hold the potential to promote dissent. For example, it’s easy to imagine them helping to overcome one of the trickiest problems in strategic planning: the inertia that often keeps capital, people, and other resources “stuck” in similar allocation patterns year after year (for more on this problem, see “How to put your money where your strategy is”). On a small scale, I have seen executives break such inertia by using poker chips to simulate reallocation across businesses. The same should be possible—arguably even easier—on a larger, more anonymous basis.

But one could also argue that crowd-based mechanisms are a powerful engine to produce groupthink on a grand scale, encouraging people to stick to predefined anchors that become more and more powerful as other contributors appear to confirm them. Consider, for instance, a couple of the most common crowd-based feedback mechanisms: reader comments on online articles and product reviews on e-commerce Web sites. Empirically, some turn into heated debates, while others result in massive agreement. The explanation for this could simply lie with the facts of each case: some articles and products are universally liked or hated; others are polarizing. But the outcome could also be influenced by the way you orchestrate the debate., for instance, highlights the “most helpful favorable” and “most helpful critical” reviews. Intuitively, that seems like a sensible way to stimulate debate and dissent rather than conformity.

More broadly, for each mechanism that would-be social strategists consider employing, I suggest they think carefully about whether the intent is to generate dissent or build alignment. You are either mobilizing people toward something a large majority will agree on, or asking them to generate new ideas and challenge existing ones. Most companies, in their strategy process, aim to build consensus and to shake up the status quo. But at any given time, it should be one or the other.

Nonetheless, we hope that by sketching a picture of some management innovations under way, we will stir the thinking of senior executives eager to benefit from experimenting with such approaches. If you’ve ever wondered how to inject more diversity and expertise into your strategy process, to get leaders closer to the operational implications of their decisions, or to avoid the experience-based biases and orthodoxies that inevitably creep into small groups at the top, it may be time to try shaking things up.

Lessons from the fringe
The best way to describe the possibilities of community-based strategy approaches is to show them in action. Two examples demonstrate the lengths to which some companies have already gone in broadening their strategy processes, as well as the degree to which the executives who participated are convinced of the benefits.

Rethinking planning at HCL Technologies
HCL Technologies, the Indian IT services and software-development company, had enjoyed rapid growth since its founding, in 1998. With growth, however, the company’s business-planning process had become unwieldy. Vineet Nayar, HCL’s chairman and CEO, along with his top team, were providing input to hundreds of business unit–level plans each year. Nayar realized that he and his team had neither the expertise nor the time to deliver all the detailed feedback that each business plan deserved, so he challenged his colleagues to use three key principles to revamp the planning process: make peer review a core component of strategy evaluation, create radical transparency across units, and open up the conversation to large cross-sections of the company.

The solution was to turn the company’s existing business-planning process—a live meeting called Blueprint, which involved a few hundred top executives—into an online platform open to thousands of people. The new process, dubbed My Blueprint, was launched in 2009, with 300 HCL managers posting their business plans, each coupled with an audio presentation. More than 8,000 employees (including several members of the teams that had submitted plans) were then invited to review and provide input on the individual blueprints. A surge of advice followed. The inclusive nature of the process helped identify specific ideas for cross-unit collaboration and gave business leaders a chance to obtain detailed and actionable feedback from interested individuals across the company.

This exercise quickly began yielding business results. One HCL executive we spoke with credited the new process with a fivefold increase in sales to an important client over two years. The key, the executive explained, was the detailed comments—from more than 25 colleagues, ranging from junior finance professionals to software engineers—that together highlighted the need to reframe the business plan away from an emphasis on commoditized application support and toward a handful of new services where HCL had the edge over larger competitors. The employees provided more than good ideas: several even helped assemble the materials the executive needed to deliver the successful proposal.

The high degree of transparency increased the quality of insights, not just their volume. As Nayar notes, “Because the managers knew that the plans would be reviewed by a large number of people, including their own teams, the depth of their business analysis and the quality of their planned strategy improved. They were more honest in their assessment of current challenges and opportunities. They talked less about what they hoped to accomplish and more about the actions they intended to take to achieve specific results.” At the conclusion of the inaugural My Blueprint process, there was broad consensus that participatory business planning had been far more valuable than the traditional top-down review process.2

Red Hat’s new road map
Red Hat is the leading provider of open-source software. In 2008, its leadership team began taking a new approach to strategy development. After defining an initial set of priorities for exploration, Red Hat’s leaders formed teams devoted to each priority. To boost the odds they would stretch toward new solutions, the company ensured that the team leaders—all members of the company’s C-suite—were far removed from their areas of responsibility. The company’s chief people officer, for example, was tasked with analyzing its financial model, while the CFO explored potential operational enhancements.

The teams used wikis and other online tools to generate and organize ideas and made these “open” so that any Red Hat employee could respond with comments or suggestions. The idea generation phase lasted five months and included company-wide updates and online chats with the CEO. Over that period, the best ideas coalesced into nine strategic priorities.

To ensure accountability for developing the priorities further and for making them actionable, the company tasked a new group of executives to lead teams exploring each of the nine areas. These leaders were senior functional ones whose responsibilities put them a level or two below the C-suite. Each of their teams fleshed out one or two of the most important strategic initiatives and was empowered to execute the plans for them without further approvals.

This effort has reshaped the way Red Hat conducts strategic planning. Instead of refreshing strategy yearly on a fixed calendar, the company now updates and evaluates strategy on an ongoing basis. Initiative leaders use customized mailing lists and other tools to receive input continuously from employees and communicate back to them via town hall–style meetings, Internet chat sessions, and frequent blog posts. The company maintains its annual budget process, which is informed by the evolving funding needs of the initiatives.

The fresh perspectives generated by the new planning process have been instrumental in spurring value-creating shifts in the company’s direction. For example, a respected Red Hat engineer used the new process to make the case for a significant change in the way the company offers virtualization services for enterprise data centers and desktop computer applications. The changes led to the acquisition of an external technology provider—a move that would have been unlikely in the days when the company used its old, less inclusive planning process.

Red Hat’s vice president of strategy and corporate marketing, Jackie Yeaney, cites three key benefits of the company’s new approach: first, the process generated “more creativity, accountability, and commitment.” Second, “By not bubbling every decision up to the senior-executive level, we avoided the typical 50,000-foot oversimplification” of issues. And third, “We improved the flexibility and adaptability of the strategy.” With the responsibility for planning and execution now in the hands of the same people doing the work, responsiveness to new opportunities or shifts in the market has increased dramatically.3

Closer to home
Some leaders may wonder about borrowing approaches from Red Hat, Wikimedia, or other companies that consider crowdsourcing a part of their institutional DNA (and for which confidentiality issues may be less pressing than they are for many organizations). For these executives, we would note the experiments of more traditional companies, such as 3M, AEGON, and Rite-Solutions. A look at how these organizations are introducing a social side to strategy can help senior executives determine how much further they want to go in their own companies.

Market-based strategy at Rite-Solutions
One way of experimenting with more open strategic direction setting is to create internal markets where legacy programs and new perspectives compete on an equal footing for talent and cash. Rite-Solutions, a Rhode Island–based software provider for the US Navy, defense contractors, and first responders (such as fire departments), is pioneering a game-based strategy process whose foundation is an internal stock exchange it calls Mutual Fun.

Would-be entrepreneurs at Rite-Solutions can launch “IPOs” by preparing an Expect-Us (rather than a prospectus)—a document that outlines the value creation potential of the new idea—as well as a Budge-It list that articulates the short-term steps needed to move the idea forward. Each new stock debuts at $10, and every employee gets $10,000 in play money to invest in the virtual idea market and thereby establish a personal intellectual portfolio. The money flows to ideas that are attracting volunteer effort and moving steadily from germination toward commercialization. A value algorithm revalues each stock, based on the number of Budge-It items completed, inflows and outflows of employee money, and opinions about the stocks expressed in an online discussion board. When an IPO gains momentum and breaks into the company’s Top 20, the initiative is funded with seed money; more is awarded depending on the ability to meet various stage gate milestones. What’s more, when ideas help Rite-Solutions make or save money, those who have invested intellectual capital and contributed to the idea’s realization receive a share of the benefits through bonuses or real stock options.

The internal market for ideas has bolstered the company’s pipeline of new products, and the 15 ideas the company has thus far launched as a result now account for one-fifth of Rite-Solutions’ revenues. Some of the blockbusters were generated in unexpected places—including Win/Play/Learn, a Web-based educational tool licensed by toy maker Hasbro. The source of the idea: an administrative assistant.4

Improving market analysis at 3M
In April 2009, 3M decided to reinvigorate its Markets of the Future process—a critical input to the company’s strategic planning. Previously, says Barry Dayton, the company’s knowledge-management strategist, this process had “consisted of a small group of analysts doing research [about] megatrends and resulting markets of the future.”5 The company invited all of its sales, marketing, and R&D employees to a Web-based forum called InnovationLive, which over a two-week period attracted more than 1,200 participants from over 40 countries and generated more than 700 ideas. The end result was the identification of nine new future markets with an aggregate revenue potential in the tens of billions of dollars. Since then, 3M has held several additional InnovationLive events, and more are on the way.

The alignment advantage
Spend a few minutes talking with the senior executives involved in any of the initiatives described earlier, and it’s immediately apparent how powerful it is when thousands of people are deeply engaged with a company’s strategy. Those employees not only understand the strategy better but are also more motivated to help execute it effectively and more likely to spot emerging opportunities or threats that require quick adjustments.

Reviewing the data
Research we’ve conducted using McKinsey’s organizational-health index database suggests that none of this should be surprising. That database, which contains the results of surveys collected over more than a decade from upward of 765,000 employees at some 600 companies, facilitates analysis of the nature of organizational health, the factors contributing to it, and its relationship with financial performance. One thing we and our colleagues have seen over and over again through our work is that many organizations struggle with strategic alignment: even at the healthiest companies, about 25 percent of employees are unclear about their company’s direction. That figure rises to nearly 60 percent for companies with poor organizational-health scores.6

Similarly, we’ve found that the actions companies can take that are most helpful in aligning individuals with the organization’s direction are moves like “making the vision meaningful to employees at a personal level” and “soliciting employee involvement in setting the company’s direction.” If that’s right, it suggests that making more employees part of the strategy process should be a powerful means of aligning them more closely with the company’s overall direction. The payoff for such cohesion is significant: companies with a top-quartile score in directional alignment are twice as likely as others to have above-median financial performance.

Mobilizing middle management
Of course, adopting social-strategy tools doesn’t automatically create alignment. Companies must create it actively, particularly among middle managers, who as the guardians of everyday operations bear the brunt of making any company’s strategy work.

One airline saw its efforts to mobilize the workforce impaired by the silent noncooperation of middle management in several departments. Closer inspection revealed that middle managers didn’t disagree with the discussion that was under way but felt they deserved a bigger voice in it—and should have been included earlier. They also felt uneasy with the level of transparency in a dialogue involving some 2,000 people, accustomed as they were to managing on a need-to-know basis.

The Dutch insurer AEGON sidestepped problems such as these by breaking its strategy discussion into manageable topics related to everyday operational practices. That allowed middle managers to assume responsibility for the discussion and contribute their expertise. In the words of Marco Keim, CEO of AEGON The Netherlands, “We started a digital-networking platform called AEGON Square and got the conversation going. People gathered in communities of practice and started sharing ideas on how to make the new strategy work. Dialogue really helped in fostering organization-wide alignment.”

Ultimately, middle managers were among the effort’s most enthusiastic supporters—both as contributors themselves and as active recruiters of participants. (In the end, 3,000 employees, 85 percent of the total, participated over 12 months.) Keim acknowledged, though, that building this alignment required a significant cultural change toward more openness, which took time to take hold and required regular reaffirmation by senior executives.

The evolution of strategic leadership
It takes courage to bring more people and ideas into strategic direction setting. Senior executives who launch such initiatives are essentially using their positional authority to distribute power. They’re also embracing the underlying principles—transparency, radical inclusion, egalitarianism, and peer review—of the Web-based social technologies that make it possible to open up direction setting.

Taking these principles to their logical conclusion suggests a shift in the strategic-leadership role of the CEO and other members of the C-suite: from “all-knowing decision makers,” who are expected to know everything and tell others what to do, to “social architects,” who spend a lot of time thinking about how to create the processes and incentives that unearth the best thinking and unleash the full potential of all who work at a company.7 Making this shift doesn’t imply an abdication of strategic leadership. The CEO and other top executives still have the right—indeed, the responsibility—to step in if things go awry, and of course they continue to be responsible for making the difficult trade-offs that are the essence of good strategy.

But it also may be increasingly important for strategists to lead in different ways. For example, to convey the message that the contribution of employees is of vital importance, top executives should constantly confirm that it is and set the example themselves. This approach requires a more direct, personal, and empathetic exchange than a traditional town hall meeting allows. For a mass digital dialogue to succeed, people need to express themselves openly, which may leave some participants feeling exposed. Leaders can help by demonstrating vulnerability as well—peeling off the layers of formal composure.

Another important element of social-strategy leadership is honestly assessing the readiness of the organization to open up and, in light of that, determining the best way to stimulate engagement. This sounds simple, but overlooking it can be costly. As part of a new strategy dialogue, the leaders of one mutual insurance company enthusiastically called upon its workforce to share reflections on an innovative, soon-to-be-launched life insurance product. Despite the leaders’ expectation that the open call would generate a torrent of endorsements, it was met with a deafening silence. Closer inspection revealed that people were acutely aware of the strategic importance that senior management attached to this innovation. And nobody wanted to wreck the party by openly sharing the prevailing doubts, which were widespread. The doubts proved well founded: within a few months of being launched, the new product was declared a failure and shelved.

This cautionary tale points to a final element of strategic leadership: figuring out ways to encourage dissenting voices. Enabling employees to communicate through ambient signals instead of relying on words and elaborated opinions is an effective way to lower the threshold and still catch the prevailing mood. Familiar examples of ambient dialogue include polls, “liking,”8 and voting—simple functions that allow participants to express an opinion without being exposed. More powerful and sophisticated forms of ambient dialogue include prediction markets (small-scale electronic markets that tie payoffs to measurable future events) and swarming (the visually aggregated representation of the emergent mood or motion within an organization).9

Consider how a prediction market might have helped the mutual insurer. The opening market quotation for the new life insurance product would probably have taken a steep dive, revealing the negative assessment of the internal market. This would have immediately alerted managers to potential weaknesses, without exposing the employees who had the courage to reveal the problems.

While these are still early days for social strategy, its potential to enhance the quality of dialogue, improve decision making, and boost organizational alignment is alluring. Realizing that potential will require strategic leaders to flex new muscles and display real courage.

Source: McKisey Quaterly, June 2012
Author: Arne Gast and Michele Zanini

Human Resources generalist overall job description

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 2nd, 2012 by admin

On August 23, I present the results of the first HR survey in Thailand. It is a joint project with 3S ( and Bangkok Post.
The purpose of HR Survey is to identify how Thai businesses look at:
– Challenges in the increasingly rapid changes taking place both in terms of competition and customers’ buying preferences.
– HR function’s ability to actively contribute to the companys development and business success.
– Consensus between HR managers and their colleagues in the company’s management team for HR work, focus, focus and importance.

If you want to attend the seminair – please get in direct contact with Bangkok Post for an invitation.

Position Description:
The Human Resources Generalist manages the day-to-day operations of the Human Resource office. The HR Generalist manages the administration of the human resources policies, procedures and programs. The HR Generalist carries out responsibilities in the following functional areas: departmental development, Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS), employee relations, training and development, benefits, compensation, organizational development, and employment.

The Human Resources generalist is responsible for all or part of these areas:
• recruiting and staffing logistics;
• organizational and space planning;
• performance management and improvement systems;
• organization development;
• employment and compliance to regulatory concerns and reporting;
• employee orientation, development, and training;
• policy development and documentation;
• employee relations;
• company-wide committee facilitation;
• company employee communication;
• compensation and benefits administration;
• employee safety, welfare, wellness and health; and
• employee services and counseling.

The Human Resources Generalist originates and leads Human Resources practices and objectives that will provide an employee-oriented, high performance culture that emphasizes empowerment, quality, productivity and standards, goal attainment, and the recruitment and ongoing development of a superior workforce.

The Human Resources Generalist coordinates implementation of services, policies, and programs through Human Resources staff; reports to the Human Resources Director, and assists and advises company managers about Human Resources issues.

Primary Objectives:
• Safety of the workforce.
• Development of a superior workforce.
• Development of the Human Resources department.
• Development of an employee-oriented company culture that emphasizes quality, continuous improvement, and high performance.
• Personal ongoing development.

Source:, June 2012
Author: Susan M. Heathfield
Read more about how to develp a job description here

Employee involvement is key in Change Management

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on July 1st, 2012 by admin

Soccer players shoot harder today than 10 years ago, athletes run faster and boxers hit harder. Do you want to race them you need to be faster, stronger and generally better off than you were ten years ago. The same applies in business!
Never have the conditions changed more frequently and faster than now. As a manager / leader, you need to develop both your leadership and your organization to these changing conditions. Here are a few tips:

A wise person once told me I could never expect one hundred percent support from any individual who was not personally involved in devising a change which had an impact on his work. The wise person was right, and I’m really happy to have known him early in my career.

In any change, especially ones that affect a complete organization, it is impossible to involve every employee in each decision. Respondents to my change management questions over the years suggested, however, that when change works, the organization has gone out of its way to try employee involvement.

Employee Involvement for Effective Change Management
• Create a plan for involving as many people as possible, as early as possible, in the change process.
• Involve all stakeholders, process owners, and employees who will feel the impact of the changes, as much as possible, in the learning, planning, decisions, and implementation of the change. Often, in change management, a small group of employees learns important information about change and change management. If they fail to share the information with the rest of the employees, the remaining employees will have trouble catching up with the learning curve.

If a small group makes the change management plans, employees affected by the decisions will not have had needed time to analyze, think about, and adjust to the new ideas. If you leave employees behind, at any stage of the process, you open the door in your change management process, for misunderstanding, resistance, and hurt.

• Even if employees cannot affect the overall decision about change, involve each employee in meaningful decisions about their work unit and their work.
• Build measurement systems into the change process that tell people when they are succeeding or failing. Provide consequences in either case. Employees who are positively working with the change need rewards and recognition. After allowing some time for employees to pass through the predictable stages of change, negative consequences for failure to adopt the changes, are needed.

You cannot allow the nay-sayers to continue on their negative path forever; they sap your organization of time, energy, and focus, and eventually, affect the morale of the positive many. The key is to know, during your change management process, when to say, enough is enough.

Help employees feel as if they are involved in a change management process that is larger than themselves by taking these actions to effectively involve employees in change management.

Source:, 1 July 2012
Author: Susan M. Heatfield
More information about change management here