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Disaster Logistics Essay

1936 words - 8 pages

Keeping Morale Up In A Downturn
QUESTION: The current economic climate is proving exceptionally challenging. Our firm went through two different layoff announcements last year, albeit both were rather small compared to what we’re all seeing now.  We were hoping for a turnaround this year, but in the event that things continued to deteriorate we put contingency plans in place for further cuts at the end of the first quarter. It appears that we now have to implement that plan.  This will be our largest round of personnel cuts.  Meanwhile, on one of those notorious web sites I read this note following our last layoffs in December: “Well, I have to say, this is no surprise. The associates and ...view middle of the document...

In an economic downturn as serious as the one we are now experiencing, people tend to operate in a climate of personal fear, of which a consequence is an erosion of trust. This personal fear includes a fear of what the future is going to look like, and that is where you have an important role to play. One definition of trust says that it is all about “engendering confidence and creating hope.” If people cannot see a better tomorrow, they may naturally tend to trust you less. You want to be completely frank about the circumstances you are in, present a transparent picture of what is happening, and what you are doing. You don't want to state information that, in the near future, is going to undermine the trust you've built up during the good times. The message needs to be that you are doing all you can to ensure jobs are preserved. Talk to your people about your concerns. If there are going to be further layoffs, people want to know it was as an absolute last resort, not a quick fix; they want to know that the firm is not punishing the staff to pay the partners, everyone is sharing the pain; and they want to know that there is a positive forward-looking plan to build and a sincere belief that it can work, not just why cuts have to be implemented.

Here are a few suggestions for enhancing trust: - Your most critical task is to let everyone know what the short and long-term plans are to ride out this period of instability. Get out there, be visible and let people know that you are willing to confront the issues head on. Your message should be: “No one anywhere has accurately predicted this economic storm but we are determined to weather it together." Everyone needs to feel they are part of the initiative and not just its potential victims. - Right now, it is more critical than ever that you as the leader are able to create hope. You need to build back your people’s confidence in your firm. They need to know that if they respond to what you are asking of them, the future will be brighter than today. Simply telling your professionals and staff that this recession is the current reality and they will all have to work together to get through it, is not the same thing as getting them motivated to do it. The motivation to move forward and believe in a brighter tomorrow is as much emotional as it is rational. So you have to do something to connect with the emotional side of your people. One practical means of accomplishing this is to identify those of your practice group leaders, your office heads, and senior partners who are internally recognized for their ability to get the commitment of their people. Those leaders who are seen to be the most ‘motivational’ often achieve that internal recognition from having made a personal connection with their people. No matter how disastrous things may be, there is a leader in some office who is taking care of her people by helping them focus on the client work they have and finding a way to make them feel good...

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