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Visionary Ideas

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What motivates an organization or a movement of any kind to persevere, even in the face of adversity? It is when the organization or movement is based on a concept or an idea of what it stands for or potentially can become. This holds true for very small organizations as well as the largest. It holds true for political, human rights, conservation, religious movements etc.

Ideas are powerful. They are more powerful than physical assets, more powerful than territory, more powerful than any one person. Having a powerful idea is a cornerstone that a successful organization or movement needs to be built upon.

The founder of a small family run restaurant has the idea of building a “go-to” restaurant for locals and something the founder can pass on to the next generation. That is a visionary idea, and as contained as it might be, it is powerful for that family. They will fight ferociously and work endlessly for that vision.

The USA Declaration of Independence stated “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That is a visionary idea, an expansive one, and if fully implemented very powerful. And out of that powerful visionary idea sprang our institutions, our laws, our methods of governance with its checks and balances, all of which were intended to support and nourish the vision.

Taken from that perspective and at the risk of gross oversimplification, you could say that the outcome of WWII was preordained. For the Germans were rallying to and fighting for Hitler and yes, while he did have a vision of a new German and ethnically cleansed World Order, his apparent narcissism and megalomania made him central to that vision and put himself forth as the only one who could accomplish that vision. But the USA and its allies were fighting not for a person, but for an idea, a vision of how they were going to live their lives. A much more potent force.

People will dedicate their lives and under certain circumstances sacrifice them for a vision in which they believe. Jim Mattis, the highly respected and outgoing Secretary of Defense in his farewell note to Pentagon staff stated, “I am confident that each of you remains undistracted from our sworn mission to support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life.” A clear message of support for and direction to protect the vision of the USA and not any one person.

And while a lawyer may claim that they would “take a bullet” for a particular client, when faced with the reality of prison for crimes committed, that sacrificial commitment to an individual rings hollow. As it turns out, many people are susceptible to and find authoritarians attractive, as they state that they will take care of all of your problems and that they alone can do it (the estimate is up to 30% of the USA population are attracted to authoritarians), but over the long-run belief in and support of a commonly-held and widely supported vision will beat an authoritarian figure. Articulating and getting buy-in to that vision is key.

Each organization out there, no matter your size, industry or location should examine the vision by which it operates. If the vision is not explicit to the organization’s members, consider making it so, for it is hard to buy into a rumored vision. And make it a vision in which each member can feel pride. Commitment and dedication will be the reward the organization can obtain.

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

January 1, 2019 at 5:02 pm

OrgVitality Acquires Employee Survey Practice from The Metrus Group

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PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y., Oct. 22, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — OrgVitality, LLC today announced the acquisition of The Metrus Group’s employee survey practice. Effective immediately, OrgVitality will assume all of The Metrus Group’s existing survey work.

OrgVitality is a global management consulting firm founded by leading industrial/organizational (I/O) psychologists and technologists. The company is well-known for its science-driven approach to employee surveys, informed by the latest industrial organizational research and powered by cutting-edge technology. The Metrus Group is a New Jersey-based consulting firm that offers strategic employee surveys, talent management solutions, strategy design and execution and talent analytics. The acquisition leverages OrgVitality’s significant bespoke technology expertise, data-driven approach and proven track record of delivering high-touch business solutions.

“We are thrilled to welcome The Metrus Group’s Survey practice to the OrgVitality family,” said OrgVitality CEO Jeffrey Saltzman. “We have known the principals of The Metrus Group for years and greatly respect the thoughtful work they have done in this field. Not surprisingly, there is substantial alignment in our respective philosophies.”

Addressing the requirements of multinational workforces, driving transparency and data integrity and staying abreast of rapidly emerging regulations such as GDPR are continually increasing the role of technology in the employee survey business.  “We firmly believe that the most effective HR initiatives are grounded in science, customized to a client’s specific strategy and supported by a powerful technology platform that uses the latest advances in coding, machine learning, and artificial intelligence,” observed Saltzman.

“OrgVitality and The Metrus Group possess a shared vision and passion surrounding the work we do. It’s with great confidence that we entrust our survey practice in their care,” commented William Schiemann, CEO of The Metrus Group. “Our clients can trust that Valeria and I, along with Jerry Seibert, will remain involved with their projects, while enabling them to capitalize on the impressive resources that OrgVitality adds.” He noted that The Metrus Group will continue its consulting work in strategy, talent management and talent lifecycle.

Warranting a seamless transition for clients of The Metrus Group is a top priority for OrgVitality. Executive team members from the company will meet with all Metrus Group clients individually to better understand their business requirements and ensure continuity of high-quality services while migrating them to OrgVitality’s technology platform.

Saltzman concluded, “Companies generate competitive advantages through differentiation. What better place to start than a comprehensive understanding of how your workforce can support the fulfillment of short- and long-term business goals.”

OrgVitality was founded in 2009 and has offices in the United States, Israel and India. Financial terms of the agreement are not available.

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

October 22, 2018 at 9:07 am

Posted in OrgVitality

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The three types of people every organization needs

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I wanted to share information on my upcoming Webinar, The Three Types of Individuals Every Organization Needs, on September 13th at 12:30 EST.  During this webinar, I’ll take an in-depth look at three critical roles within the vital organization: That of explorer, executor, and boundary spanner. I’ll explain why each is important, and discuss how to identify employees who fit a particular type.

The research for the Webinar comes directly from Creating the Vital Organization: Balancing Short-Term Profits with Long-Term Success, which I co-authored with one of my partners and OV Vice President, Dr. Scott Brooks. Scott, along with our consultant Victoria Hendrickson, will join me for this webinar.

I hope you can join me next Tuesday.

Register for our upcoming complimentary Webinars:

The Three Types of Employees Every Organization Needs on September 13th.

Organizations and the SDGs: Why Doing Good is Good Business on September 27th.

Also check out Creating the Vital Organization, available in every online bookstore.

Evaluate your Vitality with free assessments and reports here.

 

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

September 8, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Posted in OrgVitality, Vitality

Organizations and the SDGs: Why Doing Good is Good Business

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By Walter Reichman

The world’s humanitarian crisis is rapidly growing, with billions of people around the globe lacking basic necessities like clean water, nutritious food, and access to education and employment opportunities. Last September, the United Nations (UN) addressed this crisis by identifying 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at improving the lives of people and the health of our planet over the next 15 years. Some of these goals include giving people access to clean water, nutritious food, education, and employment opportunities.

These goals are bold and ambitious, and will take more than just the United Nations to make them happen. Thankfully, practicing sustainable business habits often makes good business sense as well, and more organizations are already investing in the health and well-being of the global community.

MasterCard is working to make the financial system more accessible to more than 150 million people around the world. Merck is developing programs to reduce deaths of women during pregnancy and childbirth. Microsoft is developing cost effective connectivity to the internet for schools and communities in Africa. Walmart is providing opportunities for small businesses with less than 10 million in annual revenue that aim to empower women, and IBM is helping to develop a scorecard that measures a city’s resilience to a natural disaster.

This is just a small sample of corporations that are actively working to improve the lives of people around the world through smart business practices. To better understand the importance of this work, OrgVitality is sponsoring a panel Webinar entitled Organizations and SDGs: Why Doing Good is Good Business on Tuesday, September 27th at 12:30 EST. The Webinar will present representatives of four organizations that have made an active commitment to the achievement of these goals: The United States Council for International Business, Dow Chemical, DuPont, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

In this webinar, executives of these four organizations will describe their programs, explain how and why they were initiated and are promoted within their organization, and discuss the benefits to the organization and to the world at large.

OrgVitality has been supportive of the activities of the United Nations since the inception of the firm. I have been the main NGO representative to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN from the International Association of Applied Psychology since 2004. At ECOSOC, I, along with other representatives, are tasked with presenting position papers that are based upon psychological theory, research, and practice for commissions, committees, and deliberations. The position papers are translated into the various member languages and distributed to the delegations involved in the deliberations. Additionally, we hold “side events” during commission meetings where psychologists present their information. Finally, we also work to share information about the UN and its activities with our own organizations and members, which I aim to do through this Webinar discussion.

As psychologists, we have a responsibility to help fulfill the SDGs. The people most affected by this work are extremely vulnerable. Psychologists worked with the UN to develop the list of SDGs, and will continue to play a role, especially in regards to helping to change government activities, as well as monitoring and measuring the implementation of the goals. We have submitted papers to the Statistical Division of the UN with our suggestions for measuring the implementation, and we are contributing to the determination of the “indicators” of the implementation. Over the next 15 years, the UN will be issuing reports on the level of implementation worldwide, within regions, and within nations. Hopefully, the success of the implementation will motivate countries to progress even further.

At OrgVitality, we believe that part of our counsel to clients must incorporate a sense of their place in the larger global community, and we are proud of our work helping many clients fulfill their missions. This Webinar is a follow-up to an event we co-sponsored at the UN during the annual Psychology Day meeting; at this event, 40 OrgVitality clients and staff members toured the UN and attended discussions on the global migration crisis.

The achievement of the SDGs will improve the lives of all people and reduce the probability of conflict among people and nations. The goals can only be realized with a strong commitment to global partnership and cooperation among governments, business organizations and not -for-profit organizations. Please join us for the webinar which will describe how the partnership and cooperation can be achieved. Register Here.

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

September 8, 2016 at 5:06 pm

Posted in OrgVitality, Vitality

You are invited to Creating the Vital Organization book launch party

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

May 12, 2016 at 10:19 am

Posted in OrgVitality, Vitality

Employees at Work: Myths vs. Reality – Complimentary Webinar

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Employees at Work: Myths vs. Reality

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 12:30 PM EST at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2374684905288884483

Assumptions. We all make them. Sometimes they help us navigate the thousands of daily decisions we make (like choosing to grab your coffee at the out-of-the-way shop because it’s less likely to have a long line). But our assumptions can also steer us wrong, especially when it comes to the big decisions, like choosing which employee is right for a specific job. OrgVitality’s CEO Jeffrey Saltzman will walk you through some common misconceptions and distorted perceptions that may be influencing you.

Join us, and become a better decision maker!

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

May 3, 2016 at 6:34 am

Posted in OrgVitality

Respect and Dignity

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Asking an employee population whether they are treated with respect and dignity has been part of employee surveys for a long time. Those two words are so often used in conjunction with one another that they have become joined at the hip as a unified concept not only in the world of surveys but also in our day-to-day conceptual thinking as well. Respect and Dignity. While some argue that it is a double barreled concept, it would be really impossible to treat someone with dignity, but without respect, and likewise if you are being respectful, dignity would, it would seem by necessity, tag along. As a gestalt, respect and dignity are two sides of the same coin.

I will deal with the dignity side of the coin here. The concept of dignity has a long history and interesting origins. As a constitutional right, dignity today is often defined as a “person’s freedom to write their own life story”. [i] Freedom to create one’s life story requires freedom from oppression, and has within that notion both rights and obligations. One right is of control over oneself and one’s body and an obligation would be to take responsibility for your behaviors and actions – for your future.

Maintaining dignity in the world of work, using that definition, will be a balancing act. If dignity is about the right to choose, as one enters an employment situation one is giving up at least some dignity, in that you are working not necessarily to your own ends, on your own initiatives, but on organizationally defined goals and often on an organizationally defined schedule.

While the emphasis and enshrinement of dignity in the modern age largely was the result of the horrific abuses of human dignity in WWII, and today the only constitution that defines human dignity as an unassailable absolute right is the German Constitution in reaction to those abuses, the sense that humans have and should be treated with dignity is an ancient precept. The ancient Greek and Roman philosophers spent time with the notions of dignity, assigning human’s dignity because of their ability to think and choose. Dignity in Buddhism is based on the idea that humans can choose a path leading to self-perfection and hence are dignified[ii]. Judaism and Christianity believe that mankind was made in god’s image and because of that, mankind, as a reflection of god’s image has dignity. There are religions that do not believe that mankind was created in god’s image, but because mankind was created by god, and given the ability to think, we have a dignified (rank) special place. In Islam for instance because mankind is a creation of god a person should not be harmed, for if you harm another human you are harming god. The major religions of the world do not have a corner on defining and rationalizing the need for dignity. Ubuntu for instance is a Bantu term that is often translated as “humanity towards others”, treating others with a humanness or dignity with which they deserve.

Needless to say the concepts and definitions surrounding human dignity have been around almost as long as mankind’s abuses of that dignity. Dignity is a social term – a societal definition. You are treated with or without dignity only in relation to how others in society are treated. If you are enslaved your dignity is measured against those that are free. If you have no access to clean water, food, shelter, health care etc. your dignity in your society is measure against those that do have access to those items. If you were a solitary individual on an island the concept of dignity is meaningless, as there is no one else to treat you with or without dignity, its meaning and your relative standing being solely derived from the society in which you are embedded. Organizations are nothing more than encapsulated mini-societies.

From an organizational measurement and performance perspective that is where the concept of dignity gets interesting. People in organizations are rarely if ever treated the same. And it would be easy to argue that some of the differences are there for motivational purposes, to give people something to strive for – more money, a promotion, access to training and developmental experiences. As a relational variable when you ask someone “are you treated with respect and dignity” their response is in relation to how they see others being treated both within and external (those referent points can be teased out) to the organization. And across a large number of people you will in all likelihood receive a range of responses, if the question is asked the right way and your scale is sensitive. You can take that range of responses and throw them against absolute business metrics such as turnover, customer satisfaction (depending on how measured can be relative or absolute), sales success etc. to determine which of the metrics are impacted by the relative treatment of people. And inferentially within your organization you can determine which specific policies, practices and processes are enhancing people’s sense of dignity, which are decreasing it and which simply have no bearing on the matter. And ultimately you can determine how to best impact people’s sense of being treated with respect and dignity, a human fundamental, and the financial benefit or cost of doing so.

Note: New blog postings from me have been few and far between this year. The reason is that I have been writing a book, co-authored with Scott Brooks, titled “Creating the Vital Organization; Balancing Short-term Profits with Long-term Success.” It is due out in mid-2016 by Palgrave.

[i] 2015, Barak, A. Human Dignity: The Constitutional Value and the Constitutional Right, Cambridge Press.

[ii] Soka Gakki International website. 12/09/2015, http://www.sgi.org/about-us/buddhism-in-daily-life/buddhism-and-human-dignity.html

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

December 9, 2015 at 11:53 am

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