Crisis Management

October:
At Pierce Transit, a strong learning team and active executive support merge to drive initiatives that spur innovation, change, and strategy during a financial crisis.

This podcast is sponsored by Pfeiffer, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pfeiffer serves the professional development and hands-on resource needs of training and human resource practitioners and gives them products to do their jobs better. They deliver proven ideas and solutions from experts in HR development and HR management, and offer effective and customizable tools to improve workplace performance. Lean more at www.pfeiffer.com.

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Meaning and Significance of Corporate Crisis Management

Crises happen to the best of corporates and hence, effective corporate crisis management is needed to handle the aftermath of crises. In this 24/7 news world, perceptions are everything and hence, for effective corporate crisis management, perceptions have to be managed properly. The lack of effective corporate crisis management results in chaos and bad reputation for the corporate.

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Survey: Fortune 500s Need New Crisis Response

NEW YORK–( BUSINESS WIRE)–Senior executives at many Fortune 500 companies spanning a wide range of industries are missing key opportunities for cost containment and revenue growth during the current recession, finds a recent survey by Booz & Company. The management consulting firm surveyed 155 senior executives at Fortune 500 companies and found widespread concern that traditional cost-containment measures are falling short during this downturn, as well as clear evidence that new approaches are needed. The survey found that chief executives and other senior managers are struggling with the downturn’s scope, timeline, and solutions and often trying to apply traditional solutions to a very non-traditional recession. Ninety-two percent of senior respondents cited “constantly changing objectives due to unstable economic conditions” as a major challenge to achieving their cost-reduction goals. This indicates that such unusual economic circumstances may leave senior executives stymied about implementing new solutions with any degree of certainty that they will work. As a result, many companies are turning to traditional spending cuts and layoffs. Almost 40% of companies surveyed are focused on cost reduction alone, and most senior managers have already exercised their default plans. Measures such as across-the-board cuts, working capital management, marketing spend reductions, and renegotiating purchasing contracts have been widely employed among respondents. Since these measures typically realize significant savings within six to eight months, they are often the first actions taken by companies during downturns. ( Read the entire release.)

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Many Companies Move to Automate and Integrate Talent Management

At a time when talent management has become a much higher priority for companies, many are planning to replace their manual talent management processes with automated ones that integrate compensation, recruiting, performance management, learning management, career development and succession planning, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt, a leading global consulting firm. Watson Wyatt’s 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey found that more than half of companies (56 percent) are planning to use more talent management technology over the next 24 months. Among those companies, 46 percent said they plan to integrate their existing technologies or leverage their current integrated systems, while 27 percent will start from scratch with a new integrated suite. The survey, which was conducted in February and March 2009 and includes responses from 181 large employers, also found that 37 percent of companies have made talent management a higher priority as a result of the economic crisis, while only 15 percent of employers have made it a lower priority. Read the full release.

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Corporate Executives Report Need to Overhaul their Approach to Risk Management

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The vast majority (85 percent) of corporate executives say they need to overhaul their approach to risk-management if the lessons of the economic crisis are to be used to improve business results, according to results of an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) study released today. Accenture’s 2009 Global Risk Management Study, based on a survey of 260 chief financial officers, chief risk officers and other executives with risk-management responsibilities at large companies in 21 countries, also found that 40 percent of respondents said that their companies already have increased or will increase their investments in broader risk-management capabilities in the next six months. Nearly another third (31 percent) of respondents said their companies are currently considering increasing their future investment in risk management capabilities. Read the full release.

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Build Resilience: Be crisis prepared, not crisis prone – Hot Topic

A recession, a supply-chain disruption, a technology break-down, an industrial accident. These are all examples of crises that may have negative implications for organisations. Crises have been defined as low probability events that have severe consequences, generating ambiguity and decision-making time pressures for businesses. For this reason, the response of an entrepreneur or management team to a crisis can mean the difference between business survival or failure.

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Retention: Are You Reactive or Proactive?

It’s true most companies no longer have their feet to the fire in the recruiting department. Perhaps there have been some layoffs and your additions to headcount could very well be down for next year. Now, keeping that in mind, how much of your human resources person’s time is spent on creating a retention program for the cream of the crop you currently have on staff? The difference is like treading water and bearing down to take those extra breaststrokes to stay in the race. If you are slacking in the retention department, you and your team will feel the effects. Let’s switch gears and get out of the “crisis management” mode.

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Executive Report November 2005

Welcome to ProjectsAtWork’s Executive Report (Vol. 1, No. 11), the newsletter for professionals engaged in high-level, enterprisewide project leadership. In this issue, we identify essential technology-oriented capabilities needed to manage global project teams … present a PMO facilitation model that combines the more common support and supervision roles … and share some basic lessons on crisis leadership. Also: a white paper from MKS on the successful implementing of an application lifecycle management solution.

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The Bleeding Edge: Tough Times – A New Paradigm to Manage

Tough economic times expose weaknesses in technology organizations, negatively impacting project management decisions. This axiom is being clearly demonstrated in the near- and long-term changes that the global crisis is triggering. Almost all parts of business will be touched. Many of the coming changes will run counter to the changes we have been implementing in our companies over the past several years.

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Do Good

From the Negev Desert to New Orleans, the opportunities for project managers to make a difference in times of crisis have never been more real or more urgent. But risk and reward take on new meanings when the stage is global and the product is improving lives. In this multi-part series, we’ll introduce you to people who are bringing project management to humanitarian efforts.

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Survey: The Best Companies for Leaders Demonstrate How to Weather Economic Storms and Prepare for the Upturn

(PHILADELPHIA, BUSINESS WIRE) The world’s Best Companies for Leaders-among the world’s most respected-are focused on developing leaders who will not only survive and thrive in the current financial crisis but will be well positioned for growth once the economy improves. The 2008 Best Companies for Leaders survey-conducted by management consultancy Hay Group and Chief Executive Magazine-identifies the top 20 best-in class companies (see below) as well as the attributes that make these companies known for great leadership. The research suggests a number of best practices to help organizations and their leaders navigate the significant challenges brought on by the economic downturn as well as key tips to prepare for the upswing. Surviving the downturn When asked what organizations value the most in leaders, 83 percent of the best in class organizations as compared to others said “execution”. Organizations value leaders who can achieve results through others. These leaders create a climate in which people know exactly what is expected of them. In ideal times, the survey results showed, people value authoritative and democratic styles of leadership in comparison to the other four styles of coercive, affiliative, pacesetting and coaching. In tough economic times, employees’ desire more communication and clarity around goals. They want their leaders to become more visible and to be leading from the front. Typical leadership styles which accomplish this include authoritative with some coercive and pacesetting when needed. During tough economic times, best-in-class companies create clarity, encourage development, drive accountability and recognize successful leaders. 65 percent of the top twenty companies on the list hold senior managers accountable for commitments versus 36 percent for all others. 63 percent create a sense of purpose for employees by communicating values versus 43 percent for all other companies. 45 percent honor leaders within the organization versus 32 percent for all other companies. In addition, 62 percent of respondents indicated that matrixed roles are increasing in their organizations. Managing in a matrix poses its own set of challenges, including the need for collaboration, creating a cohesive team, not having authority over resources, managing conflicts over differing agendas, goals or priorities, and minimizing confusion over roles, decision-making and accountability. Hay Group says that there will be an increased emphasis on the skills needed to work in a matrix environment. Relationship building, influencing, adaptability, interpersonal skills and collaboration skills will all be more important in the future workplace. “The conventional top-down chain of command is yielding to decision-making that’s spread across business units, executive teams with far-reaching authority and other activities that reflect a brave, new, flat business world,” said Rick Lash, Hay Group’s national practice leader for leadership and talent. Preparing for the upswing The Hay Group/Chief Executive survey reveals that the top 20 best companies for leaders make leadership development a priority. 70 percent of the top 20 companies say they have a formal process to identify individuals for leadership roles, versus 37 percent of all companies. 65 percent of companies say that talent management is driven by a clear business strategy versus 39 percent of all other companies. 55 percent have formal programs to accelerate leader development versus 34 percent of all other companies. “What we have been seeing in these uncertain times is that organizations are not pulling back on their development of leaders, primarily because organizations recognize they don’t have the depth of leadership they need to meet future demands,” said Lash. “This year we have seen the best in class organizations become more focused, investing their assessment and development on their best leadership talent, rather than providing across the board development for everyone,” he said. “The Best Companies for Leaders are making serious investments in leadership development,” said Lash. “Development opportunities include special projects, assignments, and online training programs.” Hay Group is a management consulting firm that works with leaders to transform strategy into reality. We develop talent, organize people to be more effective and motivate them to perform at their best. Our focus is on making change happen and helping people and organizations realize their potential. We have over 2600 employees working in 85 offices in 47 countries. Our clients are from the private, public and not-for profit sectors, across every major industry. ( Read entire release.)

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Is Attention Important in Learning?

A recent CNET article noted that the typical office worker is interrupted every three minutes by an e-mail, IM, phone call, etc. If you are working on something creative, it takes about 8 minutes for our brains to get into that state. With all these distractions how is anyone able to get anything done? The result, says Carl Honore, journalist and author of “In Praise of Slowness,” is a situation where the digital communications that were supposed to make working lives run more smoothly are actually preventing people from getting critical tasks accomplished. Chris Caposella a VP in the Microsoft Information Worker Business Unit says that “People are ultra connected. And you know what? Now they are starting to realize, ‘Wow, I want to actually stop getting interrupted.'” Dan Russell, a researcher at IBM’s Almaden Research Center, turns off the instant notification of e-mail and only looks at e-mail 2X a day and has cut the time he spends with e-mail in half. Other organizations, like Veritas Software have implemented “no e-mail Fridays.” Employees can’t e-mail one another on Friday, but they are allowed to e-mail customers or other parts of the storage company if they have to. The result? Workers spend more time connecting face to face. A study by Hewlett-Packard earlier this year found that 62 percent of British adults are addicted to their e-mail–checking messages during meetings, after working hours and on vacation. Half of workers felt a need to respond to e-mails immediately or within an hour, and one in five people reported being “happy” to interrupt a business or social gathering to respond to an e-mail or phone message. Even airlines are starting to offer broadband Internet access. So how will we be able to deal with this tidal wave of communications? “With Office 12, we will do things to make it a lot easier for people to be more effective in the way they manage all of these communication mechanisms,” Capossela said. IBM also is looking at solutions to manage scheduling for the next version of Lotus Workplace, part of IBM’s collection of software that rivals Office. But technology may not be the solution. Like many issues in collaboration it is the “people and process issues” that are the crux of the problem. “The problem, Russell said, is that there are only certain types of tasks that humans are good at doing simultaneously. Cooking and talking on the phone go together fine, as does walking and chewing gum (for most people). But try and do three math problems at once, and you are sure to end up in frustration.” Attention Management I have written a lot about what I call “attention management” and what everyone else calls “Continuous Partial Attention (term coined by Linda Stone).” Stowe has been blogging about this for months, and he and I have had a few discussions on the subject. Basically, he believes that your social networks are your filter for information overload. If A likes it and I like and trust A, then I should like it. I agree with Stowe to a point, in that social networks only deal with part of the problem. I do not believe that you will be able to filter enough through these networks to stop the overwhelming of your bandwidth for both information and attention. I believe that the problem needs to be attached also from the other direction. That is to augment a person’s ability to “attend” to content and events. In my view of the future there are a variety of technology solutions that might help. But I don’t think the scheduling tools that Microsoft and Lotus are building are it. I believe that you will need to multiply your bandwidth and attention by multiplying your self. Some type of virtual agent that not only knows where you are, what you are doing and what collaboration programs or devices you have, but it also has a subset of your personality and is assigned to deal with specific types of tasks demanding your attention. For example, this virtual agent or avatar can deal with lower-level requests for attention and decisions around what to pick up at the grocery store. It knows your likes and dislikes, what is in the refrigerator and what is not, and you have empowered it to make those shopping decisions, and have the groceries delivered to your house at 6:00 pm (it knows your schedule and that you are due to have dinner with your family by 7:00 pm). This leaves you free to deal with critical requests for your attention from your family, your boss, negotiating with a client, dealing with a crisis, etc. Since many fewer items fall into these “critical” categories your bandwidth and attention are on overwhelmed, and yet all of these other demands on your attention are also being satisfied. Blue Sky or Tomorrows Solution? I realize that I lot of what I have written about is theoretical. The the days of intelligent agents that can augment my attention may be far off, but the tsunami of information and demands for my attention are here today. One of the biggest issues I had in school was paying attention to the teacher, especially if I was bored or had already done the work. I don’t see online learning, or virtual classrooms (the way they are today) as a good solution to that problem. What do you think?

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Executive Hiring Reemerging

GREENWICH, Conn. (BUSINESS WIRE)–Executive hiring appears to be reemerging at many organizations after being frozen for the last year due to the financial credit crisis based upon the results of the recent Claymore Partners’ Labor Day 2009 Executive Talent Market survey with over 640 executive respondents. “Almost half of employers are now selectively hiring executives and significant reductions are greatly diminished based upon the survey results as well as our own executive search activity and market discussions,” according to Mr. Landberg, Managing Director of Claymore Partners. Health insurance, healthcare/pharmaceuticals, wealth management, investment banking, and consulting/professional services industries appear to be most robust in terms of executive hiring at this time. From a functional perspective, executive hiring increases are most pronounced in sales, consulting, and risk management/compliance. The direct impact of the financial credit crisis for most executives appears to be waning though strong hiring is not expected until mid to year end 2010 by most executives. Request the full report .

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DDI Launches Definitive Survey of Global Leadership

(From DDIWorld.com) DDI, Stoke Poges, 21st July 2010: Global Talent Management Consultancy, Development Dimensions International Ltd (DDI), has launched its Leadership Forecast 2010/2011, the definitive study of leadership trends across the world. The Leadership Forecast has been launched in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) and aims to evaluate how the economic downturn has impacted confidence in leadership and how leaders are dealing with leadership transitions. It will also examine the best-in-class strategies for selecting, promoting and developing tomorrow’s leaders and compare information from other countries. In addition, it aims to examine the relationship between leadership practices and company performance. This will be the sixth Leadership Forecast, spanning twelve years and since the last report, the world economy has seen turbulent times. Steve Newhall, managing director of DDI UK comments: “In our last survey, we saw how far leadership development efforts had closed the gap between expectation and reality. And we saw what, in the mind of leaders themselves was working and what wasn’t. That study was conducted right before the economic crisis hit and it will be fascinating to see how it has affected leadership in the UK and around the world. Leaders have been through challenging times, many are operating in a completely new reality and will have had to adjust to totally different organisational priorities. To see how the global recession has affected learning and development strategies for our leadership teams will be immensely valuable.” HR professionals and senior managers are invited to complete the survey at www.ddiworld.com/leadershipforecast. Organisations that can encourage 30 non-HR leaders to participate will receive a free customised company report comparing their organisation’s data to local and global norms.

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As President Obama Considers Government Reorganization, The Public Manager Journal Shares Expert Insight to Guide the Way

With the recent news that President Obama received recommendations on a reorganization of the federal government, the summer issue of The Public Manager couldn’t be more timely. Available June 15, it spotlights the topic of government reorganization for the 21st century. The Public Manager, a nonpartisan quarterly journal about federal executive leadership at all levels of management, presents an 11-article forum organized by former Commerce Department executive Alan Balutis that explores ways to manage government reorganization. From the importance of Oval Office outreach to Congress, to planning whether to take on mega-, Cabinet-, or agency-level reorganizations, The Public Manager marshals experts who have executed federal reorganizations before and can offer valuable tips and insights. Collectively they ask: Is President Obama Thinking Outside the Box? Other feature articles in the journal focus on how the government can avoid a fiscal crisis, closing leadership gaps, improving performance reviews, implementing a groundbreaking food safety law, and a look at how the Veterans Affairs agency is taking care of business by committing to training. “We call it Federal Leadership That Works,” says new editor Ilyse Veron of The Public Manager’s practical offerings, which are augmented throughout the year at www.thepublicmanager.org. This summer issue also debuts two new features: Exchange and Visionaries. Exchange showcases interviews, also available as podcasts, with newsmakers in the field such Charlene Li, the author of Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead. In Visionaries, the new back page, the journal will present innovations and ideas from award-winning or standout public managers starting with the Service to America finalists chosen by the Partnership for Public Service. About The Public Manager The Public Manager is a unique, independent, and nonpartisan quarterly journal about federal government leadership that works. Produced in print and electronic format with related podcasts, blogs, and events, it communicates best practices, innovations, and techniques for learning at all levels of government. The Public Manager is affiliated with good government groups such as the Partnership for Public Service, GovLoop, Young Government Leaders, the Graduate School, the American Society for Public Administration, and others. It is published by The Bureaucrat Inc., a not-for-profit organization owned by ASTD that is chartered and devoted to furthering knowledge and best practice in government. The Bureaucrat, Inc. maintains its own corporate officer and Board of Director structure. For more information about The Public Manager and the new summer issue, visit www.thepublicmanager.org.

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