Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Enhancing Organizational Performance

Archive for March 2020

The Fear Factor

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An analysis of data from the last recession that is again, unfortunately, relevant.

Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

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Appropriately enough at the start of the Great Depression in 1929, Walter Cannon came up with the term “Fight or Flight” to describe how animals would react to a stressful situation or perceived threat, such as catching sight of an approaching predator. It described the two most commonly observed behaviors that an animal would undertake when feeling threatened. His phrase became very well known and very commonly accepted. Since then there have been advances in our understanding of the reactions to extreme stress, such as being approached by a predator or perhaps predatory lender. It seems that the term Fight or Flight is actually out of order as it would have been more accurately characterized as “Flight or Fight” and it is missing a step or two in how humans as well as other animals react to threats.
There are at least four separate reactionary stages that occur…

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

March 30, 2020 at 8:40 pm

Drive to Work and Social Safety Nets

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As the Senate debates the “risks” with having too generous of a social safety net, this piece from a few years back is worth revisiting.

Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Presentation to
High Level Conference of the Economic and Social Council, United Nations
July 9, 2012

What do we know about what drives people to work, to contribute to groups or organizations to which they belong? It turns out to be quite a bit. Beyond subsistence, one key component of what drives people to contribute through work is the need that people have to feel that their life, their existence is of value, that it has meaning. Humans, by-and-large, have a strong desire to feel valued, and part of what drives that sense of being valued is belonging to and contributing in a meaningful fashion to societal groups.

Societal groups, be they for-profit companies, charitable organizations, governmental organizations, religious organizations, sports teams, nation states or neighborhood beautification committees are all simply various types of organizations to which we belong. And certainly it is possible to belong to multiple kinds of…

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

March 25, 2020 at 8:31 pm

One

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As some politicians call for older folks to be sacrificed for the good of the economy (I can’t believe I even have to write that, it feels so Nazi-like), it is worth revisiting this piece from a few years back.

Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Supposed you had an organization that made a product that was extremely valuable to society as a whole. Now suppose there was a problem with this product. The problem was during the manufacture of this product, one individual had to carry out a task, that over the space of six months was lethal to that person. In other words, one-person in the manufacturing process was going to die every six months in order for this organization to keep producing this very valuable product, this would occur even if they did the job just once. No matter what research was carried out, this manufacturing problem could not be fixed, and the price for this organization’s success was one death every six months. Should that organization continue to manufacture that product? What if the organization was ten people? In other words, every six months, in order for that organization of ten to…

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

March 25, 2020 at 8:20 pm

Tips for Boosting Employee Confidence During COVID-19

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Throughout the housing bubble burst of 2007/2009, and the resulting economic tailspin and recession, data was collected from 15,000 employees quarterly, from the twelve largest economies in the world at the time. The bottom of that event from our measurements was 1Q2009.

We asked a series of questions related to the level of confidence that employees had in their organization and in their own personal situation. We took that data and compared to it a number of factors of employee behavior and organizational performance. The results were pretty astounding. Employee levels of confidence were a very good indicator of whether organizations were doing the right thing to survive during that trying time. And if organizations were doing the right things, employee confidence levels were higher. We found that employee confidence was a leading indicator of performance, for who better to know how the organization is performing than the people who are working inside of it day-to-day, if you ask them the right questions.

Based on this research, we put together a whitepaper with tips to help organizations through this crisis. These are rough times, but the more we can help one another, the more we will not just survive, but thrive.

 

Download Report

 

 

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

March 19, 2020 at 2:34 pm

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