Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Enhancing Organizational Performance

Archive for the ‘OrgVitality’ Category

The three types of people every organization needs

leave a comment »

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

leave a comment »

 

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

leave a comment »

12

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

May 12, 2016 at 10:19 am

Posted in OrgVitality, Vitality

Employees at Work: Myths vs. Reality – Complimentary Webinar

leave a comment »

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

with 2 comments

 

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

2014: OrgVitality Year In Review

leave a comment »

As they say, time marches on, and 2014 was a year which saw OV marching along as well.  It was a very busy year, an interesting and a good year. As we get ready for 2015 we wanted to share some of our 2014 goings on with you.

Growth Continued in 2014: We celebrated our 5th year anniversary in 2014! Since our founding in 2009, revenue has more than doubled every two years, with commensurate gains in number of industries and clients served, jobs created, and product line diversity.

In order to accommodate that growth, we have again increased our staff in San Francisco, New York, and Tel Aviv. The occupations we hired included programming staff, project management and consulting.

Samples of the kind of projects that have fueled that growth include:

  • Several client’s desired to have their survey programs revamped to more directly link to business strategies and outcomes. We were able to accomplish these goals and this work put our staff on the road. Our travels took us to all corners of the USA, plus China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Ireland, Israel, France, Germany and the UK.
  • To reach global and diverse employee populations, our employee surveys were translated into over 35 languages, and reporting was done in over 17 languages. For one client we produced 68,000 manager reports, a new record high for a single project!
  • The Not-for-Profit sector has unique challenges in today’s environment and we are fortunate enough to support those challenges, with projects for Save-the-Children, Wildlife Conservation Society, Jewish Federation, TNTP and Call2Recycle. We also have projects completed or in-progress for the State of Colorado, the Colorado State Patrol, and the United Nations.
  • One client’s unique needs for assessing employee performance led to our creating a new Performance Review System to replace their current process. We designed the scientifically-grounded objective and behavioral performance metrics, and custom-designed the technology system to elegantly gather and manage the data. Each employee will receive portal access to track their performance over the course of the year, and along with data streams that are incorporated, each manager can enter performance information in an on-going fashion.
  • For clients building and reinforcing a coaching culture, we continue to provide our ManagerCoach© upward feedback and assessments which are now available in ten languages. The ManagerCoach assesses a manager’s ability to act as a coach for his or her direct reports. We also provide a corresponding training program to enhance those capabilities.
  • A wine-country client needed to revamp an employee benefits package, and came to OV to conduct an employee benefits assessment.  The results provided clear implications for changes for the overall benefits package.
  • Several clients with pre-existing survey results needed additional insight, and came to us for a deeper and more strategic analysis of the survey data.  They hadn’t been getting what they needed to direct the business, and we were able to provide additional clarity and action recommendations.

Staying true to who we are: Our continued growth will be disciplined and in-line with our principles.

We continue to believe that our strength is working with clients who want solutions tailored specifically for their environment, their organization, and their unique strategies.

We run counter to market pressures of generic solutions, uniformly packaged. If you cannot see yourself reflected in your survey or in your other strategic metrics, then you are sub-optimizing the effort.

In one area of creative experimentation, we conducted research on the usefulness of survey comments, and have identified a technique which results in generating 5 times the number of useful comments.

Additionally, our comment filtering capabilities have been enhanced and they now use algorithms which help identify the most useful comments for an organization.

Individual, Team and Organization Change: Our Coaching and 360 Practice continues to deliver enhanced and new products, including:

  • Strategic 360 Assessments:  360 feedback systems aligned to the strategies/goals/values of the organization, often in conjunction with employee surveys that identify the needs and context for change.  OV Strategic 360 Assessments are designed and implemented to support both leadership development and talent management processes.  We provide full service from behavioral model, rater selection, administration, reporting, post feedback coaching and needs analyses. Our 360 Assessments are designed with characteristics which allow them to be incorporated into performance management systems and other HR decisions.
  • Aligned Coaching: Individual, Team and Group coaching using diagnostics and planning to ensure achievement of individual and organizational developmental objectives.
  • The ManagerCoach© Feedback and Workshop:  Upward feedback and integrated workshop based on a new model of “manager as coach” that reflects contemporary trends in performance management, employee development, and leadership development.
  • Strategic 360 Forum: OV continues to serve as organizer of this consortium of organizations which use 360 feedback for purposes in addition to leader development (e.g., HR decision making). The Forum met twice in 2014 and has two meetings scheduled for 2015. The group has a small number of openings for additional members.

Webinars: We feel that the best way for people to appreciate our work and to sell our services is through education.

  • Ten webinars throughout 2014 covered coaching, employee surveys, 360s, workplace myths, the big and global social issues, and the little “nudges” that help our work be more impactful.  And of course, the strategic wrapper that holds it all together.
  • We have an exciting line-up planned for 2015, including some of the best sessions from 2014, as well as new looks at organizational innovation and performance.  Look for the schedule to be released shortly.

Innovations in Practice and Science:

  • Our values were reflected in the release of Walter Reichman’s book:  Industrial and Organizational Psychology Help the Vulnerable, Palgrave McMillan (2014).  It is an industry-wide call to action to use our scientific and change management prowess to contribute to society.
  • Jeffrey Saltzman and Scott Brooks are under contract with Palgrave McMillan for a book to be publish in the spring of 2016. The working title: “Building and Leading a Vital Organization” – it is a compilation of our organizational science and wisdom regarding how to drive current performance while simultaneously building future potential.
  • Dave Bracken and Jeffrey Saltzman continue to publish popular blogs. Dave’s blog can be found here and Jeff’s here.
  • Our research on making survey comments more useful will be presented in scientific and applied conferences this year in Philadelphia and Amsterdam.  This work is led by Victoria Hendrickson and academic partner Professor Emily Hause.
  • Other presentations and scientific contributions include more research on the Manager as Coach, 360s, and creating a coaching climate (led by Dave Bracken and supported by Dana Costar).
  • We even dipped our toe in the water of Workplace Gossip, with some research done by Victoria Hendrickson.

Support to the UN and Our Global Community

  • Walter Reichman provides representation for the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) to the UN.  He was co-chair of Psychology Day at The United Nations, and OV helped to sponsor that event.
  • At a global conference in Paris, we focused on Humanitarian Work Psychology, exploring how industrial psychologists make a difference, with presentations focusing on how we can help build a truly global approach, address international issues, and maximize organizational strategic success.

Please visit our booth this year at The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Conference, #314.

If you would like to learn more about us, do not hesitate to call or email: 1.914.747.7736, contactus@orgvitality.com.

All the best,

The OrgVitality Gang

 

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

January 7, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Seatbelts on Motorcycles (and other survey questions)

leave a comment »

We were heading out to dinner on a tree-lined country road that runs by a reservoir. One lane in each direction, double yellow line down the middle. All of a sudden a motorcycle passed me by at likely twice the speed limit. I was left wondering why seatbelts aren’t required on motorcycles. At least after the motorcycle crashes you would know where to find the body. It would still be attached to the motorcycle rather than being flung somewhere into the woods.

Seatbelts are a good thing. They have saved countless lives when used properly in cars. If you however, assume that what works well in cars should be applied to all types of vehicles on our roadways you will likely be disappointed with the track record of seatbelts on saving the lives of motorcycle riders. They would simply not have the same beneficial effect.

The same is true when it comes to employee survey design. There are all sorts of various types of organizations out there, following all different type of differentiating strategies. So if all those organizations are trying to differentiate themselves, trying their best to distinguish themselves from their competition, why would so many people’s knee jerk reaction be to use the same survey questions that every other organization is using? To do exactly the opposite in terms of survey design what the organization’s goals are in terms of performance?

If we mindlessly apply that logic to other aspects of our lives, the next thing you know when you go to the doctor complaining of chest pains, you will be on the receiving end of a proctology exam. After all proctology exams are pretty good at detecting colon cancer, so they must also work for chest pains. “Doctor, doctor, the pain is in my chest. What are you doing?” “Well I had this tool handy, so I thought I would use it”.

Employee surveys should not be tools in search of problems. But rather they should be tailored to the specific needs of each organization and their unique strategy.       

© 2014 by Jeffrey M. Saltzman. All rights reserved.

Visit OV: www.orgvitality.com

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

August 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm

%d bloggers like this: