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Enhancing Organizational Performance

Archive for the ‘Organizational Performance’ Category

Lies, Lying and those who Listen

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With the abundance of lies coming out of Washington and the seemingly nonchalance reaction by much of the electorate, it is good to revisit how people get acclimatized to the act of lying.

Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Something smells. Did you ever walk into a room with a fairly strong smell, but then after a while you fail to notice the odor? Your sense of smell comes from a combination of your nose and brain working in unison. The receptors in your nose fire, which ones fire depends on the specific smell, and sends signals, which are interpreted by your brain. A human can become acclimated to a constant smell after it has been detected by the nose, and analyzed by the brain, a process called sensory adaptation.

A recent study by Neil Garrett and Tali Sharot at the University College of London shows that small lies can become big lies in a somewhat similar fashion. In a nutshell, people were induced to lie (in a self-motivated scenario – meaning they did not have to lie) and as they lied they underwent a functional MRI, which monitored…

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

December 19, 2017 at 7:22 am

Behavior Attitude or Attitude Behavior

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If you wonder how good people can shift their attitudes to those that would previously be anathema to them, he is one possibility. But of course the reverse is true as well. If can can positively change behaviors, attitudes often follow.

Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

One consulting project took place in a very remote corner of South East Asia. We were there to do an employee survey whose aim was to improve organizational effectiveness. There were several thousand employees at this remote location and the employee base was a mixture of local tribes, tribes from other parts of South East Asia and American expatriates. This location was probably the closest I would ever come to living in a small American town circa 1950, as the company had reproduced a facsimile complete with schools, infirmary, bowling alleys, theater, golf course, grocery stores, and barber shop with a stripped pole in front, country club with Olympic sized pool and cafeteria/mess hall. There was street after palm tree lined street of bungalows in which families lived and there were guest bungalows for visitors. Each bungalow had a screened-in front porch in which you could rock in comfortable wicker…

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

October 21, 2017 at 4:07 am

Dreamers – note to staff

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Tomorrow, is likely to prove to be a critical day for DACA children, or Dreamers as they are called. These are undocumented children who were brought to the USA by their parents at an average age of 6. They grew up here, went to school here and many are now working here. You would be very hard pressed to distinguish most of them from any American kid, for the USA is the only home they have a memory of and the only home they know. There are almost 800,000 of them. The current US administration is likely to cancel their protection from deportation and they will be at risk for being deported to their parent’s home countries. Collectively today it is estimated that they contribute close to 500 billion dollars to the USA economy and 25 billion dollars in Social Security and Medicare payments. But the reason to be against this action has nothing to do with the amount they contribute to our economy and everything to do with what is the morally proper action to be taking. These children committed no crime. They took no action against our country. They should be considered an asset rather than a liability. They register annually with the government and pay a $500 annual paperwork fee. This action which the WH will likely take tomorrow is reprehensible, and it will destroy the lives of 800,000 people who were brought here by others, through no actions of their own.

Today as the CEO of OrgVitality, I added my name to the list of other CEO’s who feel the same way I do and are encouraging the WH not to take this action. The link below will take you to the full text of the letter. Other CEO’s who have added their names to the list include several of our client companies, potential client companies and suppliers  as well as two competitors. But I have to say even if none of the others had signed the letter I would have anyway. Thank you all for your time in reading this and your continued hard work and efforts. Jeff



Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

September 4, 2017 at 9:52 pm

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,



Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

August 14, 2017 at 9:55 am

Strategic Choice or Desperation

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If you are bewildered by how Trump’s cabinet can sing his praises while lurching from one scandal to another, this piece about the power and draw of the “inner ring” might help explain. From CS Lewis – Interestingly, CS Lewis challenged Sigmund Freud’s dogma that the sex drive is the strongest drive that humans have and suggested that the desire to be part of the “in” group the Inner Ring is stronger.

Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Why would a dictator gas his own people? The answer may not be what you think. In Syria’s brutal civil war it has been documented that there have been atrocities on both sides. One particular atrocity, the gassing of the civilian population with hundreds of children dying gruesomely stands out. The USA’s reaction to this has finally gotten Syria to admit that it has chemical weapons and though it denies being the source of the attack the evidence in the media is pretty persuasive that the Syrian government is gassing its own population. Syria’s denials take the form of logic rather than evidence. They pose the question, why would we gas people in locations where our own troops could be affected? That question presupposes that Syria cares enough about their own troops not to expose them to gas, which is a dubious assumption, but it is also misdirection from the…

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

June 13, 2017 at 7:42 am


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A few years old, but more relevant than ever! Jeff

Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

“From the children’s point of view it was hard to tell a neighbor from a relative. She is like a sister to me was said in all sincerity. Door-to-door living over long periods of time made these people true kin to each other. The only difference between neighbors and relatives was that the neighbors went home to sleep; the relatives could climb into bed with you.” (Sam Levenson, Everything but Money).

The fact that neighbors went home to sleep and relatives could climb into your bed was information that helped a small child differentiate relatives from neighborhood friends in a crowded, confusing world encompassing the tenements of East Harlem in the early 1900s.  Information, we are always searching for more in order to help us make sense of our world, to help us interpret the events by which we are surrounded, to help us make better decisions, but then we…

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

February 19, 2017 at 7:23 pm

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