Thanksgiving — The History behind this joyous yet anxiety ridden holiday -The Imperfect Org

This is a very important holiday to many people.  For some it is fun and enjoyable time as they gather together, possibly enjoy a game of football and eat until one’s heart is content.

For others who have lost loved ones, have to work (which sucks), endure chaotic family members, or even plan to do some early shopping for Christmas, it’s a cause of anxiety.  

Well in case you love to know the back story about everything, like myself, check out this cool brief synopsis of the holiday.  There are plenty of fun facts that just might surprise you…

 

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To “open or not to open”, that is the question crowding the minds of many businesses and employees plagued with the nightmare of Thanksgiving night and Black Friday. -The Imperfect Org

Whether it is about the bottom line or not, I believe there is something to be said about Mall of America and their courageous decision to not open on Thanksgiving.  Although retailers will have the option to open independently on their own, I love the fact that they have made this about their employees.

“The Bloomington megamall notified employees and tenants Wednesday morning that it is reversing course this year and will close down as many of its operations as possible on the holiday” (Kumar, 2016).  One of the main reasons, to give their employees the opportunity to spend time with their families.

I have often felt bad for employees who had to wake up and drag themselves into stores early on Black Friday (or by 12 am), but the growing trend of opening earlier on Thanksgiving in my eyes is becoming more and more about greed than allowing those employees who prefer to give thanks with family (or not) to decide if they really care to be bothered. Unnecessary stress and anxiety, all for the “almighty dollar”.  What’s your thoughts?  Am I reading too much into this?

Kumar, K. (6th October, 2016).  Star Tribune.  Mall of America takes bold stand by closing on Thanksgiving this year.

Happy Yom Kippur! -The Imperfect Org!

To increase one’s individual and organizational understanding of different cultures we have in this blog posted a link to information regarding Yom Kippur. This is an important holiday in the Jewish religion and to employees in your organization of the Jewish faith may have observations and cultural mores that will need attending to!

Therefore to not only recognize these employees of the Jewish faith which in turn increases Organizational morale but also the knowledge of the other stakeholders in the organization to the practices of the coworkers. Not only for HR reasons, but also to make sure the individuals feel a part of the organization’s community at large.

Please check out this information on history.com about Yom Kippur!

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/yom-kippur-history

Happy Labor day from The Imperfect Org!

Happy Labor day everyone!  Today we celebrate the worker by… getting the day off!!  I hope everyone enjoys this time (if you are off today) with family and/or friends or maybe just hanging out by yourself!

In Organizational Development this would be the time for that transition time from the 3rd to 4th quarter sprint in which we would be analyzing data from special projects and tallying it for corporate consumption in order to gain approval for those projects in the following year.

As we stated before on the Fourth of July:

“Tomorrow is another day, another opportunity to come back and face all the issues that challenge us and our organization.”

Today is the day of the worker, the employee, and an established way to show appreciation to all the contributions given by workers on a daily basis. Something that is still forgotten by many organizations presently, however, we are lucky in The United States that the government was pushed to recognize the employee and create this holiday. Maybe from an Organization Development perspective, we can push organizations that we assist, maybe, to create a “Labor day” of their own, and take a day outside the regular calendar and organizational schedule  to show their employees how much they are appreciated. Good idea?

Well, anyway from everyone at The Imperfect organization… Happy Labor day!

If you want to know more about the true meaning of Labor day where is a site (from the Department of Labor/US government) that explains it more:

September 5th, The First Labor Day-Not just any ordinary day -The Imperfect Org

“The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day a year later, on September 5, 1883” (DOL, 2016, para. 7).

It’s amazing how I took this wonderful holiday that I took for granted for so long as a “recognized day off” for the America worker, for granted. But I never took the time to really take a look at the history behind it.

Well ladies, and gents, I did so. Why? Because I am curious like that, about things like that, especially since we all spend such an enormous amount of our time in the workplace. Whether we like it or not.

I was also so pleasantly surprised to see that my wonderful husband, whose birthday is today shares a piece of this history. Especially since everything about his make-up is in accordance with positive workplace experiences.

“In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country” (DOL, 2016, para. 8).
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker (DOL, 2016, para. 11).
https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history

 

“Tips on encouraging complainers to become part of the solution”

Image source

I wonder how many in leadership cringe on the inside, (during meetings) when employees complain of a breakdown in communication and systems, but fail to offer a solution?

I mention this with empathy for leadership who are “expected” to lead and provide a resolution to all systemic issues.

Having experienced my share of working with disgruntled employees (those who are quick to speak out on injustices), I see the need for ideas or resolutions after the feedback is provided.

I am sure a great deal of employees are waiting for their employer or upper management to offer resolution, after all they are the ones in a leadership position, right?, However a company culture that seeks resolution from the frontline employee is in my eyes, wisdom.

Frontline employees speak directly with customers, and since they are the ones that are more likely to discover a trend that is hurting the organization, they should also receive the opportunity to work on a resolution.

Therefore there should be an ongoing and spoken rule that states “if you speak up in meetings to state a problem, you must in the same breath offer a solution”.

In no way is this designed to punish those who present problems, but it sets the tone for problem solving or resolution without creating an atmosphere that lends itself to constant criticism.

Team Work in the making

irysec.vic.edu-- problem solving

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Management and frontline workers receive the opportunity to work together as a team to bring about resolution as opposed to waiting for leaders who are often stopping other organizational wide problems to provide all of the answers.

This also allows for upper management to remain in tune with the feelings and thoughts of its employees and customers (as they will hear firsthand from frontline workers what the organization is up against, while at the same time learning of frequent consumer complaints).

Application in the making

You may wonder, “What is the most efficient way to endorse this sort of change?”

  1. Speak with the employees in meetings and set the expectation – if a problem is mentioned, it must be closely followed by a solution (from that particular employee).
  2. After the problem at hand is mentioned (with a possible resolution), if indeed that resolution is manageable and cost effective, place the employee on a team that is designed to conquer that problem.
  3. The employee is now expected to collect data to confirm that indeed the problem is a new or reoccurring trend.
  4. Once the employee collects the data, that particular employee will now be expected to relay this information back to the team and management for further plans to rectify the issue.

It may not be the answer to solve all organization wide problems but it’s a damn good way to get the conversation started.

The next step will be for management to trust the expertise of frontline employees to activate resolution.  This has the opportunity to provide more fulfillment for the front-line employee, while retaining satisfied customers.

What tips do you have to offer to bridge the gap between frontline employees and management?

‘Unfreeze, Move, Freeze ‘ – Using Kurt Lewin’s model to identify the need for change in your organization

Unfreeze, Move, Freeze

How many times have you or other disgruntled employees complained that your place of employment just did not get it? Complaints have surely reached upper management but you have yet to see the sort of change necessary to produce sustainable change.

Many have fought this organizational “beast” and continue to suffer or leave for the next “imperfect” organization.

What needs to change and how deep does this change effort need to swim to clean up all the griminess left at the bottom of the ocean?

Well there are many answers to those questions but, the simplest way to start this change effort is by first identifying, organizational wide the need for change.

Change Models

One way that I have mentioned in a previous blog can include the benefits of using the OCAI assessment tool.  Results taken from assessments from employees identify the current state of their organization and what all employees desire it to.

No doubt, this tool has the ability to open Pandora box. However if your organization is not currently in the position to present and deliver the time necessary to work through these assessments, why not try Kurt Lewins, three phase for organizational change “Unfreeze, Move, Freeze”?

Introduced in the early 1900’s this tool is considered by some to be “too simplistic”, yet sometimes it is my belief that some things do not require in depth analysis to determine the need for change.

Once it is unfrozen, any unacceptable policies and procedures can be altered or “moved”, and then taken back to its original frozen state. Business professionals lament that this theory fails to identify the various elements and variables that need change, however it is great to get the conversation going.

Lewins’ theory (that helped cement others more in depth theory) illustrates that organizations move from being stagnate or in their current state, to new changes (implemented), and back to its original state.

This theory identifies those who are for change and those who want to maintain the “status quo”.  But it also has the opposite effect.  Employees against change, push back.  A force field, where you have employees for organizational change, and those who are against change are easily reflected. Change is not foreseeable when those for it and against are opposing one another. Therefore you have what Lewin calls a Force Field AnalysisKurtLewinForceField

Opinion’s to refrain from new trainings (lack of resources, time, or implementation for training) represents arguments for status quo (Anderson, 2015). Request such as new customer demands, market demands, organizational growth can represent the need for change.  The force for change and the argument to sustain creates the force field effect. Although there are different interest represented in force field analysis, it is an eye opener for organizations no matter what side of the fence you stand.

Representation of the battle that lies ahead allows for employees and stockholders to understand why change takes time and effort to embrace.

The conversation is ignited, presenting the steps for organization development. Yes, practitioners agree that it is not the most complex models, but at least it has the ability to get the conversation moving in the right direction.

Although change may be a feat, at least your organization will have a brilliant painting of those for change and those who oppose it.

When management ponders why change is not sustainable, this illustrations will help paint the picture why.

Reference

Anderson, D.L. (2015). Organization Development: The Process of Leading Organizational Change. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Connelly, M. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.change-management-coach.com/force-field-analysis.html