Workforce Revolution

Y2K Disaster Kits

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These articles by Melinda Sherwood were published in U.S. 1

Newspaper on December 8, 1999. All rights reserved.

Leadership Crisis

In the Chinese language, the word for crisis is

comprised

of two symbols: the first means "danger," the second,

"opportunity."

Pioneers of the New Economy embrace that tension, says Michael

Hierl, management consultant and CEO of the Pacesetter Group, and

know how to risk failure for the sake of success. "There are a

lot of companies that focus on cost control," he says, "but

the focus really should be on growth, and that’s clearly been proven.

The companies focused on internal efficiencies, squeezing out layers

of management — those companies are either gone or they’ve been

acquired."

With 16 years as a management consultant for Fortune 100 firms,

leadership

in the New Economy is Hierl’s expertise. On Thursday, December 16,

Hierl joins Robert Marino of Summit Bank and George Taber

of Business News New Jersey to discuss "The Impending Leadership

Crisis," sponsored by the Princeton Chamber at the Marriott in

Princeton at 8:30 a.m. Cost $35. Call 609-520-1776.

The Pacesetter Group (609-683-5225), based at 176 Tamarack Circle,

works with companies in the Mid-Atlantic and United Kingdom,

specializing

in the pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare, chemical, and financial

services industries. Clients include Johnson & Johnson, Warner

Lambert,

Merck, and American Home Products. From Madison, Wisconsin, Hierl

is the son of a nurse and a career military man, and went to the

University

of Wisconsin and received a masters degree in organizational behavior

from Harvard University in 1980. He joined Squibb that year as an

internal management consultant and worked there until 1983, when he

started the Pacesetter Group (http://www.pacesettergroup.com).

Clients that are trying to move away from the cost-cutting mentality

of the early 1990s hire Pacesetter to find other ways to improve

profitability.

"It’s increasingly evident that you can’t grow purely by cutting

costs," Hierl says. "That’s really focusing on the wrong part

of the equation. Instead of worrying about your inputs you should

be worrying about your outputs." Clients should focus on areas

like new product development or, for even faster turnover, licensing

and acquisitions, reports Hierl.

Within the realm of leadership, Hierl says, demographics and attitudes

are changing rapidly, giving rise to a whole new generation of leaders

who see business different from their predecessors. "You’re seeing

increased diversity in all industry segments, not only increasingly

diverse gender and racial representation, but also, with the global

economy, culture representation," he says.

As a result, Hierl explains, leadership today is less about

hierarchical

control in organization than it is the ability to build alliances

and inspire teamwork. But rather than send managers out for "Team

Building" seminars and such, Hierl says on-the-job approach

training

and development is crucial. Both management and human resources need

to create assignments that strengthen leadership skills, build

internal

career tracks, and prepare employees to be the next leaders. "It’s

on the job developmental assignments versus classroom training,"

says Hierl. "Companies like Merck or AT&T not only have career

development plans identified, but as part of those plans they’re

talking

about what type of internal assignments their colleagues need to

expand

their competencies."

The next generation of leaders will not just have depth of knowledge

in an area, they must have breadth of experience too, and in order

to get that, companies have to be forthcoming with options, such as

dual career tracks. For example, a research scientist at a

pharmaceutical

firm might be asked to work in partnership with the licensing

department

so that he or she can understand more about the marketing aspects

of drug development. "In the industrial model for organizations,

people were very specialized, almost assembly line workers," he

says "You can’t take that model and apply it to the Information

Age very successfully."

Not only are dual career tracks a good way to train managers, but

this kind of hands-on approach is key to attracting and retaining

the best people, says Hierl. "Employees look for something

different

in their work experience," he says. "If you can’t give them

an opportunity to flourish, they’re less likely to stay. I would

maintain

that one of the biggest changes in organizations is that attracting,

developing, and retaining employees, and it’s too important to be

delegated to one group." Management and human resources need to

work together, he says, to keep people in an organization. Successful

companies "live and breath this."

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Workforce Revolution

Almost incredible changes have taken place in the last

5 to 15 years in all aspects of the employment relationship,"

says Niels Nielsen of Princeton Management Consultants (E-mail:

pmcnielsen@aol.com). "These have come one at a time, here and

there, based on particular needs and circumstances. But they add up

to a revolution in the way work is done and organized and the way

that they reflect the dramatic changes in the world around."

Nielsen will give a "state of the workplace" address at the

meeting of the Society of Human Resources Management on Monday,

December

13, at 5:30 p.m. at the Hyatt on "The 21st Century: It’s a Whole

New World of Work." Cost: $35. Call Thyra Houck at

609-737-0246.

Among the changes:

Technology, especially computers and the internet.

Global competition among and within national economies.

Demographic changes and movements.

The longest economic boom in the United States in the

20th century.

"These interact with and reinforce each other to produce

profound changes in the workplace in virtually every country in the

world. And they will only intensify," he promises.

Nielsen will discuss self-directed electronic work teams; road

warriors

with laptops and cell phones; internet recruiting and job hunting;

transient employees and interim managers; global work hours; dress

down Fridays that stretch back to Mondays; competencies-based

broadbanded

salaries; stock ownership as pay; individual rather than group

benefits;

aging baby boomers sandwiched between ailing parents and Gen X kids

with "Me Inc." free agent values; and the blurring of lines

between work, home, and travel.

"With 401Ks replacing pension plans, with stock options replacing

salaries, the implicit message to workers is, `become an investor.’

But guess what, employees are using company time to do daytrading

to look after their own assets."

Another perhaps unwelcome result of a supposedly good idea: "We

educated our daughters to work instead of being homemakers — and

that’s a good thing," says Neilsen, who decries the low status

and pay of childcare workers who have little education. "Given

the fact that the groundwork for education is in the home, where are

we going to get the educated workforce of the future?"

"These changes aren’t noticeable until you put them together,

and then they are overwhelming," says Nielsen. "An

extraordinary

amount of experimentation is going on. Employers should be sure to

be consistent, be sure this is the kind of workplace you want it to

be."

Top Of Page
Y2K Disaster Kits

The American Red Cross of Central New Jersey has

announced

that its website, http://www.njredcross.org, now contains a special

section

to answer some of the questions regarding Y2K. The pages include

"Y2K:

What You Should Know," a "Disaster Supply Kit," and

"Using

a Generator." Call 609-895-9389.

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Donate Please

DONATE YOUR old cell phones to those who need them. Stark & Stark

at 993 Lenox Drive and Bell Atlantic Mobile have launched a program

to give used cellular phones to the YWCA of Trenton’s Rape and Sexual

Assault Care Program, where they will be used by the staff, and in

the future, survivors of violence. Phones can be dropped off at Stark

& Stark’s Lenox Drive office or at 329 Princeton-Hightstown Road

between

December 31 and January 31. Call 609-490-5510.

Top Of Page
Participate Please

Exxon gas stations are accepting toys for needy children as

part of the year’s "Toys for Tots" campaign. All of New

Jersey’s

Exxon stations are drop-off points for toys, which will be distributed

to nonprofit organizations. Toys should be new and unwrapped. Call

973-895-3356.


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