Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Enhancing Organizational Performance

Archive for the ‘Organizational Performance’ Category

Free Anti-Racist Organization Survey

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In honor of #Juneteenth tomorrow, we are pleased to announce that we are launching a free Anti-Racist Organization #survey to any company – client or not – who wants to better understand how best to support #minority #employees and identify areas for change. Find out more, or contact me directly if you have questions. Click here to learn more:
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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

June 18, 2020 at 5:48 pm

We are once again co-sponsoring Psychology Day at the UN.

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To join us register here.


Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

May 15, 2020 at 10:05 am

COVID-19 Pulse Survey Now in Multiple Languages

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Our free Employee Well-Being and Business Resilience Survey has already been completed by thousands of employees across large and small organizations. However, many of you asked for the ability to survey employees across the globe, without barriers. 


We are pleased to now offer this free survey in 13 additional languages.




During this global crisis, we know organizations need to connect with all their employees, no matter where they are located or what language they speak. Thanks to the generosity of TransLingua, our preferred translations partner, we are now able to offer our survey in the following languages:


European French








Latin American Spanish


Simplified Chinese






Our free Virtual Conference, Employee Well-Being and Strategic Surveys,
is coming up this week, on Thursday and Friday! 





Copyright © 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

April 20, 2020 at 12:54 pm

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


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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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via Authoritarianism

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

October 18, 2019 at 7:26 am

Crisis Leadership

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Keeping track of the various crises facing us today can be exhausting and stressful. Medical doctors that I have spoken to talk about the enormous increase in the number of prescriptions they are writing for anti-anxiety medicines and the significant increase in various maladies associated with stress and anxiety they are treating. Without much effort, I listed a number of crises that we are currently facing from my admittedly liberal/progressive perspective, and of course I have no expectation that anyone need agree with this list completely, and I am absolutely sure I left off many crises affecting people both in the USA and around the world. These are not in any particular order in terms of threat, which can be debated, but certainly some of them rise to the top of the list in terms of urgency.


  • Ignoring/Disregarding/Lack of Urgency Around Global Warming/Climate Change
  • Denial of Scientific Findings/Research and the Gutting of Scientific Endeavors/Budgets
  • Gun Violence/Proliferation of Military Weapons in Civilian Population
  • Mass Shootings by Right Wing Terrorists, Inspired by President
  • Degradation of the Office of the President and an Unfit President in Office
  • The Wholesale Embrace of Thugs/Dictators/Kleptocrats and Just Plain Scummy People by the President
  • Corruption/Criminal Behavior of the Highest Levels of Political Leadership
  • Congressional Impasse
  • Politicization of Supreme Court/Judges
  • Politicization of DOJ/FBI and the Intelligence Apparatus
  • Ineffectual/Damaging Agencies and Cabinet Positions with Cronyism Leadership
  • Gutting of American Diplomacy and Influence, Increasing Global Chaos
  • The Placement of Grossly Unqualified People into Positions of Governmental Power
  • Increase in Domestic Terrorism/Racism in USA/Unveiling of White Supremacists
  • Rise of Xenophobia/Misogyny and Degradation of LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Degradation of Voting Rights and Gerrymandering
  • Russia Influencing/Sabotaging Our Elections and Democracy
  • Trade Wars with China Bringing World to Brink of Recession
  • Degradation of the Rule of Law and Separation of Powers in USA
  • Degradation of Environmental Regulations/Laws in USA
  • Rise of Fascist Tendencies in USA
  • Refugees Fleeing Violence and Poverty in Central America
  • American Internment/Concentration Camps, Separation of Families/Children
  • Snubbing of Traditional USA Allies and NATO
  • Cost of and Access to HealthCare
  • Homelessness/Poverty in USA
  • Cost of Housing in Major Cities
  • False Equivalencies of Political Positions
  • The Constant Creation of Crises by Unnecessary Actions, Followed by the Withdrawal of that Action and the Claim of “Problem Solved”


  • Russian Meddling in Democracies Globally, Sowing Discord/Undermining Governments
  • Lack of Support for Hong Kong Democracy Protests and the Encroachment of HK Freedoms
  • Lack of Support for Russian Democracy Protests
  • Nuclear Armed India/Kashmir and Pakistan Lurching Towards Conflict
  • North Korea’s Threatening Posture/Nuclear Proliferation/Missile Firings
  • Chinese Encroachment/Militarization in the South China Seas
  • Chinese Internment/”Re-education” Camps for Uighurs
  • Israeli/Palestinian Strife
  • Iranian Threats/Choking of Straits of Hormuz
  • Murder of American Journalist by Saudis
  • Genocides/Wholesale Slaughters happening in Yemen, Burma and Syria
  • The Collapse of Venezuela
  • The Fallout from Brexit

Leadership in times of crisis is critical, for methodical leadership, with a steadying hand, a trusted, wise, knowledgeable, truthful leader can give a population a sense that things will be alright. And in a nutshell, that last sentence summarizes a good portion of why we are having all of these crises at the moment.

During the last “great” recession (starting in 2007) I had the opportunity to conduct a body of research about how organizations can increase the amount of confidence in an employee population, that the appropriate actions were being taken to steady or right the ship and get through rough seas. This work was conducted quarterly with 15,000 full-time working adults in the world’s 12 largest economies which together represented about 75% of the world’s GDP. There were strong indications that the findings from this work would generalize to other populations, for instance citizens of a country or members of other kinds of organizations.

The research hypothesized that there were two critical components of confidence. 1. confidence in the organization in which you were part, and 2. confidence in your own personal situation. Each of those had an internal and an external component. So organizational confidence internal was about activities the organization was undertaking to improve internal functioning. Organizational confidence external was about changes the organization was undertaking to improve market position and attractiveness/relevance of products and services. Personal confidence internal was about your situation within your current organization, job security and opportunity to advance/develop. And personal confidence external was about your ability to land on your feet elsewhere should you have to leave your current employer. Skill development opportunity, staying current with technology and job prospects lived in that quadrant.

The research showed that higher levels of confidence, as defined above, was linked to a whole bunch of outcomes at various levels including:

  • At the personal level: intent to stay, consumer purchasing expectations
  • At the company level: financial performance, stock price, total shareholder return
  • At the industry level: bankruptcy filings
  • At the state level: level of unemployment
  • At the country level: change in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In other words, if you randomly sample a cross-section of people and ask them about their confidence according to the above paradigm, you are able to link up their confidence levels and perhaps predict to various measures which are tracked to determine organizational/group performance, whether that organization/group is a company, an industry or a country. If you can predict in a positive sense, the opposite would also be true. When confidence is lower, driven by lurching from one crisis to another, one could hypothesize that a self-reinforcing deleterious cycle is set-up lowering the performance of the organization.

And that seems to be where we are now. Ineffectual and poor leadership with an abundance of crises will lead to lower levels of confidence in America and lower levels of performance. Whether that performance is America’s ability to influence world events, the USA’s economic performance, or the stress and anxiety that individuals experience.  It is all connected and there has been, for a very long time now, no ability to live in an isolated bubble. Global warming is not going to be solved by a handful of countries, it is going to take everyone working to solve that problem cooperatively. Russia’s interference will only be solved with a united front confronting their desire to destabilize the west. Being a country governed by the rule of law, can’t be achieved without the majority working towards that. And each of these issues will take solid leadership.

About ten years ago I was in discussions with a company about doing some work for them. They indicated to me that the CEO was a believer in mixing things us, creating chaos on a regular basis to keep people on their toes, to not let them get complacent. That was the argument anyway. When I mentioned that the evidence was very clear that what you get when you intentionally cause chaos is lower more chaotic performance they felt I was not a fit for doing work for them, because no one should bring forth evidence that the CEO’s pet theory was in error. Did I mention that one thing good CEO’s have in common is a desire to learn in order to improve their own performance?

There was another time, different company, very large NYC-based company where I was contacted and told that the CEO’s direct reports were having all sorts of problems working with him. He was not open to other’s ideas, he was arrogant, condescending. They asked if I could work with the direct reports to help them deal with the CEO. I mentioned that the problem might not be with the direct reports but with the CEO and that is the last I heard from them.

Point being with these two examples is that what we are experiencing today with our national leaders is not the first-time flawed personality traits, and unstable people have landed into leadership roles. It is estimated for instance that psychopaths account for a higher proportion of CEO’s and politicians than in the general population. They are attracted to positions of power and their charisma often makes them seem reasonable at first. But in order to pull ourselves out of the crisis mode we are constantly in today, very clearly, will take a change in leadership.

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

August 16, 2019 at 11:59 am

Dear Hillary:

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Still hold true and perhaps even more alarming now.

Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog


Dear Hillary:

I feel the need to write this open letter to express my thoughts given the current situation in our country. I am not a political person. That does not mean I don’t have strong political opinions, it means that I don’t get involved in politics and don’t enjoy the machinations necessary to succeed in politics. Up until last weekend, the only protest march I have ever been in was against the Vietnam War, a march that my older sisters took me to since I must have been only 7 or 8 years old. I wonder if they remember. Last weekend I marched from Queens to Manhattan, along with about 1000 others, to protest the positions that Mr. Trump has taken and the values he appears to hold. The people of Queens, where I was born, wanted to make a statement that while Mr. Trump may also have…

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

August 15, 2019 at 9:17 pm

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