Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Enhancing Organizational Performance

Archive for August 2017

Are people your most important asset?

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After yesterday’s reveal of the true heart of the president, CEO’s who are in any way, shape, or form associated with this administration, on various advisory councils for instance, have to ask themselves, “how will you look your employees in the eye this morning and honestly tell them that they are an important asset for your company – that you value them?”

In normal times being asked to serve on a president’s advisory council is ego inflating (even for a CEO), is something that you can’t say no to, and is a great honor. But these are not normal times.  Those who continue to claim that maintaining that “seat at the table” in order to influence events are deluding themselves that they will have an impact. The backlash that will begin to effect their organizations as employees question why the relationship continues and as customers distance themselves from companies supporting this administration’s repugnant positions is only going to build.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at some research findings. Over the years much research has been done on what enables an organization to legitimately excel. Some findings you should pay attention to:

  • All others thing being equal, a company with higher ratings on embracing diversity will outperform one with lower ratings
  • Employees are more willing to remain at companies and have higher opinions of companies that are seen as progressive on social issues, on environmental issues, on continuous improvement issues, on ethical issues
  • Consumers prefer to give their business to companies that are doing the “right things” and themselves want to be proud of the companies they associate with
  • Pride in one’s company drives a whole host of positive outcomes. Pride is driven by working for a company that serves a “higher purpose”, is a leader in its field, or is having a significant impact on its industry or the world. Being associated with regressive policies and practices will not foster pride.
  • Employee engagement, defined as a willingness to give discretionary effort, to go above and beyond to help the organization succeed, is often driven by a sense of being able to meet career goals and fairness of treatment, but also by respect for and other views towards leadership within the organization.

I could go on, but the point is, if you want your employees to believe you when you state that they are an important asset to the firm and you want them to have pride, to be engaged, and to act in a corresponding fashion, you must yourself act and behave in a manner that is worthy of their belief and respect.

 

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

August 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

My thoughts about Charlottesville – Note to Staff

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“If you are not outraged you are not paying attention”. This was the last posting of Heather Heyer, the 32 year old paralegal who was killed in Charlottesville over the weekend as she protested against a group of Nazi’s, KKK members and white supremacists who themselves were protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the confederate general from the Civil War. Nineteen others, some still in critical condition were wounded. My heart aches for this young woman and her family as well as those who were wounded.

The President of the United States could not bring himself to condemn specifically these hate groups for their terroristic actions and for causing the death of this woman as well as injuring many others. Rather he condemned violence on all sides. He was morally equating the Nazi’s, the KKK and white supremacists, 80% of whom, according to police estimates, were carrying guns, with a 32-year old paralegal marching for justice for all, who may have been carrying a sign. The first amendment to the constitution, freedom of speech, ran into the second amendment, the right to bear arms.  These hate groups have as their mission morally repugnant and reprehensible goals and equating them to people marching for justice is itself repugnant and reprehensible. Meanwhile the administration’s talking heads were using weasel words to shape what the president said into more acceptable formats. The only ones who were pleased with the president’s words were the Nazi’s, the KKK members and the white supremacists themselves, who, on their websites, celebrated what they saw as a tacit endorsement from the White House.  “If you are not outraged you are not paying attention”.

My father fought against the Nazi’s in WWII in the UK, in France and in Germany. He worked in a front-line medical facility. One reason he had six children after returning from the war was to say to the Nazi’s “up yours”, in response to their attempt to exterminate Jews.  One of my uncles, Izzy, lied about his age (he was 15) so he could enlist in the US Navy during that war. Another one of my uncles, Murray, marched with and was arrested with Martin Luther King and he was later appointed a commissioner on the US Civil Rights Commission by Gerald Ford. He wrote a very moving piece about a night in a Florida jail (in St. Augustine) where they all thought they were going to be killed by the police. Given that background you may say that I have a predisposed leaning towards socially progressive positions and you would be right, not simply because of that background, but because it is the right position to hold (I am a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and I have participated in a number of marches and protests since this last election). But the situation over the weekend has nothing to do with socially progressive positions and everything to do with American Values, aspirational though they may be.

The Nazi’s, the KKK and other white supremacists are inherently un-American. They are the lunatic fringe who were courted and given legitimacy by our current president. The mainstreaming of their agenda must be resisted. What actions will we take a company? As a company we will not be engaging in any work that supports this administration. Walter for instance came across an opportunity to bid on a Executive Service Level selection system aimed at filling all the vacancies in top positions within the Federal Government.  We walked away from that opportunity and will continue to do so with any others that would further the success of this administration’s repugnant agenda.  You are certainly free to choose your own path, but on a personal level, I will continue to support the groups I believe in and will continue to march in opposition to a WH agenda that looks to undo the progress we as a nation have made on protecting our Most Vulnerable, on Civil Rights, on Protecting our Environment, on Immigration, on Health Care, on Protecting Consumers, and on Science itself. I have no interest in returning to a fictionalized past of greatness that in most respects was not great, but lots of interest in moving forward to a bright future for all.

 

Warmest Regards,

Jeff

 

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

August 14, 2017 at 9:55 am

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