Corrections or additions?
These articles by Melinda Sherwood were published in U.S. 1
Newspaper on December 8, 1999. All rights reserved.
In the Chinese language, the word for crisis is
of two symbols: the first means "danger," the second,
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
With 16 years as a management consultant for Fortune 100 firms,
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,
in the pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare, chemical, and financial
services industries. Clients include Johnson & Johnson, Warner
Merck, and American Home Products. From Madison, Wisconsin, Hierl
is the son of a nurse and a career military man, and went to the
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
"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
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
and development is crucial. Both management and human resources need
to create assignments that strengthen leadership skills, build
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
about what type of internal assignments their colleagues need to
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
firm might be asked to work in partnership with the licensing
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
in their work experience," he says. "If you can’t give them
an opportunity to flourish, they’re less likely to stay. I would
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."
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:
firstname.lastname@example.org). "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,
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
Among the changes:
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
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
salaries; stock ownership as pay; individual rather than group
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
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
The American Red Cross of Central New Jersey has
that its website, http://www.njredcross.org, now contains a special
to answer some of the questions regarding Y2K. The pages include
What You Should Know," a "Disaster Supply Kit," and
a Generator." Call 609-895-9389.
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
December 31 and January 31. Call 609-490-5510.
part of the year’s "Toys for Tots" campaign. All of New
Exxon stations are drop-off points for toys, which will be distributed
to nonprofit organizations. Toys should be new and unwrapped. Call
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