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Healing the Wounds. Overcoming the Trauma of Layoffs and Revitalizing Downsized Organizations. Edition No. 2

  • ID: 2241756
  • Book
  • May 2010
  • 272 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd

From the founder of "layoff survivor sickness" an updated edition of a book for today's downsized workforce

Thoroughly revised and updated, David Noer's classic book about downsized organizations has never been more relevant. Reports of the most recent layoffs are making the front pages of our newspapers with frightening regularity. And massive downsizing continues to reshape the face of American business. But what about those who remain behind? Healing the Wounds provides an antidote to the widespread malaise on the American business scene left in the wake of workforce reductions. Drawing on case studies and original research, David M. Noer-an expert frequently quoted in major media such as The Wall Street Journal and Fortune on the topic of layoffs and layoff survivor sickness-provides executives, human resource professionals, managers, and consultants with an original model and clear guidelines for revitalizing downsized organizations and the employees left behind.

  • Offers thoroughly revised edition of a book about layoffs and those who are left behind
  • Filled with relevant case studies and recent research
  • Written by David Noer an acclaimed expert on the topic
  • Gives employers much-needed guidance for revitalizing downsized companies
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Preface xi

Part One The Shattered Covenant 1

1 Forgotten Survivors: What Happens to Those Who Are Left Behind 3

Lessons from Act One: Juanita and Charles - Victim and Survivor 4

The Basic Bind: Lean and Mean Leads to Sad and Angry 6

Metaphor of the Surviving Children 7

Acts One and Two: A Family Legacy 10

Issues to Be Explored 11

Definitions 13

Learnings and Implications 15

2 Changing Organizations and the End of Job Security 17

From Assets to Costs: The New View of Employees 19

From Nurturing to Violence: The Symbolism of Layoff Language 24

From Long Term to Short Term: The Shrinking Planning Horizon 26

From Synergistic to Reductionistic: Taking Apart is Better Than Putting Together 27

Layoff Survivor Sickness: The Legacy 28

Learnings and Implications 29

Part Two The Survivor Experience 31

3 Learning from the Past: The Survivor Syndrome Across Time 33

The Saga of “No Toes,” the Gunslinger 34

Universal Survivor Linkages 37

Lifton’s Model of Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Survivors 40

Learnings and Implications 45

4 Speaking for Themselves: Layoff Survivor Stories 47

Organizational Characteristics 48

Research Methodology 48

Job Insecurity 49

Unfairness 49

Depression, Stress, and Fatigue 50

Reduced Risk Taking and Motivation 51

Distrust and Betrayal 52

Optimism 52

Continuing Commitment 53

Lack of Reciprocal Commitment 53

Wanting It to Be Over 54

Dissatisfaction with Planning and Communication 55

Anger over the Layoff Process 56

Lack of Strategic Direction 57

Lack of Management Credibility 58

Short-Term Profit Orientation 58

Sense of Permanent Change 59

Unexpected Findings 60

Learnings and Implications 62

5 Time Does Not Heal All Wounds: The Effects of Long-Term Survivor Sickness 63

Stress, Fatigue, Extra Workload, Decreased Motivation, Sadness, and Depression 64

Insecurity, Anxiety, and Fear 65

Loyalty to Job (Not Company), Nonreciprocal Loyalty, and Self-Reliance 66

Sense of Unfairness and Anger over Top Management Pay and Severance 67

Resignation and Numbness 67

Lack of Management Communication 68

Helpful and Communicative Managers 69

Honest Communication 70

Short-Term Plans and Strategy 70

Layoff Process Problems 71

Resentment over Being Made to Feel Guilty 72

A Look Back from the Second Act 73

Learnings and Implications 74

Part Three Interventions For Healthy Survival 75

6 A Four-Level Process for Handling Layoffs and Their Effects 77

Layoff Survivor Feeling Clusters and Coping Strategies 79

The Four-Level Intervention Model 82

Learnings and Implications 84

7 Level One: Manage the Layoff Processes 85

“Clean Kills” and the Survivor Hygiene Factor 86

Redundant Communication is Essential 86

What to Communicate 87

Control Traps That Block Communication 88

Balancing Feeling and Thinking 92

Tell the Truth, and Never Say Never 97

Two Denial Traps 100

Process Research 103

Learnings and Implications 106

8 Level Two: Facilitate the Necessary Grieving 109

The Burden of a Heavy Bag 111

A Team Intervention 113

An Attempted Systemwide Intervention 115

A Small Business Visioning Intervention 118

A Departmental Wake 121

Empowering Leaders Through Models of Change 123

Learnings and Implications 126

9 Level Three: Break the Codependency Chain and Empower People 129

Dagwood’s Prescient Stand 130

Codependent Relationships 131

Organizational Codependency 131

Detachment 133

Letting Go 138

Connecting with a Core Purpose 144

Learnings and Implications 148

10 Level Four: Build a New Employment Relationship 151

The Global Context of the New Reality 154

From Long-Term to Situational Employment Relationships 155

From Rewarding Performance with Promotion to Rewarding Performance with Acknowledgment of Relevance 158

From Paternalistic to Empowering Management Behavior 161

From Toxic Fidelity to Healthy Self-Responsibility 165

From an Implicit Career Covenant to an Explicit Job Contract 169

Elements of Explicit Contractual Relationships 175

Learnings and Implications 176

Part Four The Leadership Wake-Up Call 179

11 Requisite Leadership Competencies They Don’t Teach in Business School 181

Choose the Right Wolf to Feed 182

Avoid Layoff Leadership Traps 184

Behave Courageously 186

Let Go of Outdated Managerial Commandments 188

Don’t Listen to Chicken Little 192

Learnings and Implications 195

12 Rethinking Loyalty, Commitment, and Motivation: The Long and Painful Birth of the New Reality 197

Ten Old Paradigm Commandments Reframed 198

Putting the Pieces Back Together: Reintegrating the Busted Culture 202

Learnings and Implications 205

13 Developing the Right Leadership Stuff 207

Developing Philosopher-Kings: Learning from Plato 207

Intrapersonal Insight 208

Interpersonal Competence 211

Core Skills and Relevant Models 213

The Global Context of New Paradigm Leadership 219

Learnings and Implications 223

14 Life After Downsizing: Revitalizing Ourselves and Our Organizations 225

The Top Ten New Reality Managerial and Employee Roles 225

Fragile Choices 231

The Existential Act of Choosing Freedom 235

Learnings and Implications 236

References 237

Acknowledgments 241

The Author 243

Index 245

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David M. Noer
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