PROFESSIONAL & ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
University of Washington Human Resources
THE LEADING EDGE SPRING 2009
for UW leaders
Successful Organizational Change:
Transition, Communication, and Courage CONTENTS
By Renée Hanson, Training & Organization Development Specialist
Planning and making decisions around large-scale or high-impact change is a
Successful Organizational Change:
daunting enough task; ensuring that change is adopted and integrated by employees
and into the organization may seem almost impossible. But by managing the Transition, Communication, and
transition, communicating about change, and exhibiting courage, leaders can Courage
increase the likelihood that organizational change will succeed.
MANAGING THE TRANSITION ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
Change occurs when something starts or something stops; transition is the gradual • Leadership Interview:
psychological process through which individuals and groups re-orient themselves Mindy Kornberg ....................... 3
so they can function and find meaning in a changed situation. William Bridges,
researcher and author of many books about change management, advises leaders
to focus on this crucial transition aspect. By learning basic transition management • Timely Offerings
strategies, leaders can bring employees—and organizations—through change with for Tough Times ....................... 4
renewed energy and purpose.
Often leaders are so preoccupied with the content of the change that they plan and • Ask An Expert .......................... 5
manage the technical, economic, and staffing aspects of organizational change
with great care but do not foresee or know how to handle the psychological effects • Consultant Spotlight ................ 5
of change on people. Leaders and organizations are then unprepared when change
disorients people and leaves them demoralized, self-absorbed, and mistrustful.
• Did You Know? ......................... 6
What organizational change ultimately requires is that people develop not just
new skills and knowledge but a whole new way of looking at things, an internal • Media Corner ........................... 6
re-orientation. Bridges contends that unless this re-orientation process is handled
successfully, things will essentially remain the same. If people don’t go through the
inner process of transition, they won’t develop the new behaviors and attitudes the • Course Spotlight ...................... 6
Bridges’ research has found that people’s success in transition is directly related • POD Stats ................................ 7
to how they feel about four factors, represented by the acronym C.U.S.P.: control,
understanding, support, and purpose. Each of these things is threatened by
organizational change, but each can also be restored in some degree by managerial
actions. In its simplest form, that is what transition management is: a way to help
people recover a sense of C.U.S.P.
Continued on page 2 >
Successful Organizational Change continued
Leaders should consider how their employees might respond In Klein’s view, courage is a strength that all leaders can
to the following questions—and how leadership can address foster in themselves and those around them by making a
any C.U.S.P. deficiencies. conscious choice to face adversity head-on and take an active
• Do employees feel they have some control over the role in decision-making. In his online article “Courage is a
situation? Special Kind of Wisdom,” Klein offers a number of principles
for leading courageously through these times of anxiety and
• Do employees understand, in terms that make sense to fear, including candor, purpose, and will.
them, what is happening and why?
CANDOR Bring issues to the surface and identify fears. Don’t
• Do employees have support, emotional and practical,
ask your team what you should do to make them feel more
for what they must go through?
secure in their jobs. Such a question could create unrealistic
• Do employees have a sense of personal purpose to give expectations or lead to an unproductive complaint session.
meaning to their experience and actions? Instead, Klein suggests getting people involved in problem
solving by asking, “What are the difficulties and worries that
we’ll need to address and overcome?”
COMMUNICATING ABOUT CHANGE
Purpose Klein advises appealing to employees’ pride, social
One critical tool for managing a transition and ensuring that responsibility, altruism, and desire to make a difference. You
change is successful is communication. According to Bridges, may not be able to promise your team job security in the short-
effective communication is not the responsibility of the or long-term, but you can focus on current needs and assure
marketing and communications unit or the human resources team members that they can contribute meaningfully to the
department. Instead, leaders at all levels must shoulder the organization today and—no matter what happens—take pride
responsibility of communicating consistently and persuasively in a job well done.
WILL According to Klein, “How you deal with frustration,
In Bridges’ view, with large-scale or high-impact change, setbacks, scrutiny—and draw people in, when they’re tempted
there must be a noticeable increase in both the quality and the to give up and back away—is a key factor in the success your
quantity of communication. As major changes are planned and teams will achieve.” Even in the face of adversity, you must
implemented, communication must differ significantly from show appreciation and ensure that team members feel valued
the usual channels and methods. by you. Rather than giving up or showing signs of defeat, Klein
Bridges believes that if it isn’t face to face, it isn’t suggests keeping your team engaged and moving forward
communication. The pressure and anxiety of major change with questions like “How do we fix this? What’s the solution?
are significant impediments to the complex process of What have we learned? Who else do we need to consult?”
communication. To ensure change messages are being The research of The Courage Institute has identified five
communicated effectively, leaders must get out of their offices courage factors that distinguish teams who are able to rise
and talk with people. to challenges, make the most of opportunity, and execute
Along those same lines, Bridges believes that information plus change. You can assess the courage index of your team at
technology does not equal communication. In fact, high-tech The Courage Institute’s website www.courageinstitute.org/
communication tools tend to hinder, rather than improve, assess_yourself.asp. The site also features articles and case
the process of effective communication about deep change. studies to help build the courage of your team to face these
No one has ever successfully changed an organization difficult times.
by communication via e-mail, the Internet, or PowerPoint Change is a process, not an event. By practicing good
presentations. transition management, communicating openly and
Finally, effective communication is a two-way street—leaders persistently, and acting with courage, leaders can help
must not only speak but listen. Too often, especially in times ensure that change is successful for the organization and its
of anxiety, small concerns snowball into insurmountable employees. █
obstacles simply because no one took the time to listen and
resolve the issue. Major breakthroughs in a change process
start to take place when people feel heard.
“All of the great leaders have had
one characteristic in common: it
LEADING WITH COURAGE
was the willingness to confront
Dr. Merom Klein, director of The Courage Institute and co- unequivocally the major anxiety
author of the book The Courage to Act, offers advice that’s
useful for leaders in our current environment. According
of their people in their time in a
to Klein, courage is always nice to have, but when leaders
face adversity and the inner strength of their team is tested,
way that uplifts hope and instills
courage is critical. courage. This, and not much else,
is the essence of leadership.”
~ John Kenneth Galbraith
LEADERSHIP INTERVIEW: MINDY KORNBERG
Elizabeth Warrick, Executive Director of Professional & Organizational
Development (POD), recently sought insight from her boss, Mindy Kornberg,
Vice President of Human Resources. Mindy joined the UW in 2006 and since
last fall has worked closely with President Emmert and others in his cabinet
to strategize about how the UW can weather the current financial storm.
With the economic pressures the University from furloughs to reduced schedules to salary
is facing, how has your role changed in the reductions—every option that could possibly save
past few months? the University salary dollars while preserving jobs.
While a big part of my job has always involved Doing what we can to reduce the impact on UW
consulting with colleagues across the UW, the employees is a top priority. While our HR operation
topics we are now discussing are, of course, very units have been consulting with organization
focused on understanding the budget news and leaders on workforce planning, POD has developed
legislative changes coming from both the state and resources to help managers prepare for layoffs,
federal government—understanding what we can as well as free Career Transition Workshops
and must do today, and planning for how we can for employees. Benefits & WorkLife has been
continue what is core to the University’s mission increasing communications about UW CareLink, our
and to each department’s mission in a very changed faculty and staff assistance program, encouraging
future landscape. employees in need to take advantage of the free
financial, legal, and personal counseling sessions
Have you modified your leadership style or available through the program.
Of course, UWHR is not immune to the University’s
I hope I have not changed my leadership style. In budget crisis. We are going through the same
times of crisis and change, I believe it’s important process as other campus departments: deciding
for leaders to show consistency and to model the which work is core and must be maintained,
behavior you hope to see from your staff. If you act determining if there are better and more efficient
as though the sky is falling, others will believe it, ways to get that work done, and doing our best to
too, and will copy your behavior. While I sometimes sustain momentum on workplace-culture-enhancing
do feel like the sky is falling, I try to take a breath programs with very limited staff.
and remember that, while this is a very difficult
time, it is our shared values of collaboration, How do you see HR partnering with UW
excellence, and respect that will carry us through. leaders and departments in the next three
to five years to help keep the University
How have priorities and day-to-day work in moving forward?
HR shifted over the past few months?
As we look forward, retention efforts will be key.
HR’s executive team has shifted the focus in their While I don’t know when we will start to feel relief
own units to be able to provide the workforce from the immediate crisis, I am certain that full
planning expertise needed to respond to the recovery will take some time. HR will be there to
changing budget and legislative landscape. help leaders and departments figure out how to
Over the last several months we have joined keep our workforce motivated and focused on the
our colleagues in Academic HR, Planning and future.
Budgeting, and the Office of the Attorney General
to thoroughly explore alternatives to layoffs—
Continued on page 4 >
“In times of crisis and change, I believe it’s important for leaders to show
consistency and to model the behavior you hope to see from your staff.”
~ Mindy Kornberg
LEADERSHIP INTERVIEW: MINDY KORNBERG continued
From your perspective, what skills and
strategies do leaders need to manage
“This is not a time to hide—
during these difficult times? even though there are days we
Skills that are needed anytime—but perhaps all want to. Visible, proactive,
more so during challenging times—include acting
with authenticity, accurately interpreting the and accessible leadership is
environment, maintaining a positive yet realistic
attitude, communicating clearly and often,
critical to making it through this
creativity and innovation, maintaining a vision for challenging time.”
your organization when these challenges are over,
and decisiveness. ~ Mindy Kornberg
Your employees need to see you, so being visible
is critical. When you hide away, employees may
become concerned. The more you can maintain
a normal day-to-day routine, the more likely your
organization will maintain the current level of
productivity and success. “People skills” such
Timely Offerings for
as emotional intelligence, providing support and Tough Times
encouragement, listening, and maintaining and/or
developing trust are vitally important. Professional & Organizational Development
is providing a variety of free or low-cost
A leader’s ability to think first about the institution, offerings to help UW leaders and staff
then their organization and their people, and navigate the changes and challenges of this
finally themselves—portraying an attitude of difficult time.
selflessness—will not only help their employees get
through this time, but serve the University as well. At the request of Vice President for Human
Leaders face a myriad of challenges; not only are Resources Mindy Kornberg, POD Executive
they required to make agonizing decisions, they may Director Elizabeth Warrick developed
have to sacrifice some projects or organizational a new workshop, “Delivering Difficult
goals for the greater good. Of course, all of this is News: Layoffs,” to prepare managers for
easy to say and often much harder to do, especially delivering layoff news to their employees.
when you are caught up in the crisis yourself. This workshop is being offered regularly
Taking the time to talk through challenges with a at no charge to UW managers. For more
mentor or a coach is a wonderful way to share your information, see https://www.washington.
successes and struggles, and to learn how others edu/admin/hr/pod/catalog/gen/1/V0200.html.
are addressing their leadership challenges. We’re
in this together, and the more we work through it Also at Kornberg’s request, Career
together, the better the outcome will be. Development Manager Susan Templeton is
offering a series of free Career Transition
Any other tips to help leaders navigate Workshops that are open to all UW
through our current situation? employees. Topics include conducting a job
search, résumé and cover letter writing,
Honest and direct communication is most important
interviewing, and strengths assessment.
for successfully coming out of a challenging
For more information, see https://www.
situation like this. Most people understand that
difficult choices have to be made. While they will
likely not agree with all of your decisions, you will
earn trust if you provide frank, respectful, and Winter quarter, POD launched a new low-
timely updates as the situation evolves. This is cost series, The Resilient Organization, to
not a time to hide—even though there are days help UW leaders and their organizations
we all want to. Visible, proactive, and accessible succeed in tough times. This series
leadership is critical to making it through this continues this spring; upcoming seminars
challenging time. █ include “Positive Self-Management
in Challenging Times” on May 19 and
“Productivity—Do More With Less” on June
16. For more information, see https://www.
ASK AN EXPERT: SELF-CARE DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
By Ellen Blizinsky, WorkLife Specialist
As I try to lead my team through this difficult time,
how can I take care of myself, too?
The most important thing about taking care of EAT HEALTHY We know what foods are good for us;
yourself during difficult times is actually doing it. in times of stress, be sure to include those in your
Taking care of yourself will bring more energy and daily diet. Be aware of snacks around the office—
focus to your work and personal life. With increased instead of a box of donuts, how about a bowl of
energy, you can communicate with better clarity fruit? Use your mealtimes for down time, relaxing
and be more efficient in handling the ever-changing and sharing good times with family and friends
challenges that come with difficult times. And by rather than multitasking.
taking care of yourself, you become a positive model
for those around you. GET ENOUGH SLEEP Lack of sleep is an invitation
to careless mistakes, negativity, and illness. Try to
There’s no magic bullet for self-care; it comes back get at least seven hours of sleep every night, and
to the three basics of wellness: keep regular sleep hours as much as possible.
EXERCISE Now, more than ever, the benefits of Now is a great time to fall back on those basics we
regular exercise will serve you well. Try something all know but don’t always practice. Focus on what
as simple as a 20-minute walk at lunchtime; better you can control and what you can accomplish.
yet, start a walking group with your staff and Communicate information with your staff, recognize
everyone will benefit. accomplishments, and celebrate success. Use the
University’s resources and support your staff’s use
of those resources. Be kind to yourself and take
care of you.
Lain Kahlstrom Coaches for Success
A certified coach and member of the University Consulting Alliance, “The first task of a
POD’s Lain Kahlstrom enjoys working one-on-one with UW leaders
and other staff to help them address their most challenging workplace
leader is to define
issues, reach their potential, and become more effective. This work is reality. The last is to
the culmination of more than 17 years’ experience in higher education, as
well as Lain’s studies in adult development and education. say thank you.”
~ Max Dupree
Lain has found that clients have varying reasons for starting to work
with a coach. For some, it’s the motivation to become truly exceptional
leaders who can more effectively influence their organizations. Others
have acquired duties that require new skills, or hope to reconnect with
their professional goals. In all cases, Lain custom designs and monitors
specific capacity-building practices for clients. “Some think it’s
Recently, Lain and others in the University Consulting Alliance have seen holding on that makes
a surge in interest from leaders who want to more effectively manage the
impacts from our current economic challenges.
one strong; sometimes
“Uncertainty, unexpected obstacles, shifting priorities—these are the
it’s letting go.”
very circumstances that warrant optimum performance,” Lain believes. ~ Sylvia Robinson
“Coaching can be critical to an organization’s success, particularly when
conditions might be less than ideal.”
Lain also serves as an instructor for the Strategic Leadership Program.
She can be reached through the Alliance: www.washington.edu/admin/hr/
pod/leaders/orgdev/alliance/index.html or firstname.lastname@example.org.
D I D YO U K N O W ?
From November 2008 through
February 2009, the top five * Almost any type of consulting,
requests for consulting work on any topic, can be tackled in
received by the University 20% dealing with conflict between
Consulting Alliance break staff members, managing
39% change, and how to better
down as follows: facilitate team meetings.
** Recent customized training
Coaching* topics include writing e-mails,
project management, ethics,
Conflict Management 19% leadership, intercultural
For this issue our focus is timely web-based resources and Professional & Organizational Development
information. is pleased to recommend the following two
courses for UW leaders:
Layoffs—How to Avoid Adding Insult to Injury
Joseph Grenny, co-author of the book Crucial Conversations: Fierce Accountability
Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, offers valuable tips for Accountability is one of the most powerful and
managers: http://now.eloqua.com/es.asp?s=567&e=e65f2b3a96 desired, yet least understood, characteristics
of a high-performance culture. Without it, time
and energy are spent generating excuses about
What Layoff Survivors Can Expect at Work why something did or did not happen. This
This audio Talk of the Nation segment explores how layoffs—and workshop helps participants recognize the cost
employees—have been treated in various companies, and the of blaming, protecting, defending, and playing it
reality of “post-layoff syndrome” for those who remain: safe—and highlights the skills needed to build a
www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100195345 culture of accountability within a team.
Managing Along the Cutting Edge This workshop (course code Q1041) is offered
This January 2009 Newsweek article examines the special skills Thursday, June 4, from 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
and strategies that executives need when an organization’s
focus shifts from growth to reduction: www.newsweek.com/
id/182520 Strategies to Overcome the Five
Dysfunctions of a Team
SkillSoft e-Learning Courses Building a strong team is both possible and
SkillSoft e-Learning accounts are available at no cost to UW simple in concept. But in reality, it can be
employees and provide access to more than 1,000 online difficult to put into practice on a daily basis.
courses. Success comes to groups that overcome the
• Open an e-Learning account attitudes and behaviors that corrupt teams and
• Log in to an existing account breed dysfunction. Explore problems that keep
the most talented teams from realizing their full
The following series, each of which includes multiple courses, potential—and leave with tools and tips to help
are especially relevant to today’s challenges: solve those problems.
• Handling Organizational Change This workshop (course code Q1030) is offered
(Catalog >> Business Skills Curricula >> Personal Development Curriculum) Wednesday, May 27, from 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
• How to Overcome Negativity in the Workplace
(Catalog >> Business Skills Curricula >> Management Curriculum) Click on this link for more information about
these and other POD classes:
• Managing Customer-Driven Process Improvement
(Catalog >> Business Skills Curricula >> Operations Curriculum)
• Using Change Process to Support Employees
(Catalog >> Business Skills Curricula >> Management Curriculum)
P O D S TAT S : E F F E C T I V E O N - B OA R D I N G
Since POD launched the in-person New Employee Orientation last September, more than 250 new
employees have attended. Although the current hiring freeze affects many types of positions, it’s still
essential that each new UW employee has a positive and complete on-boarding experience.
Below are results from evaluations completed by 207 participants (a completion rate of 78%).
“Based on this workshop, I understand “Based on this workshop, I feel good
the UW’s mission, vision, and values.” about working at UW.”
Agree Agree Agree Agree
50.3% 49.7% 44.1% 55.3%
Disagree Strongly Disagree
0.0% Disagree 0.5%
Has your department ... 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
given you information about its
and the UW's mission and values?
given you information about
its organizational structure?
given you information about its
dress code and other policies?
reviewed its safety plan with you? 58% 40%
given you a building/area tour,
including emergency exits?
introduced you to staff members,
helped you with arranging
parking, transportation, etc.?
given you a workspace
with functioning equipment?
welcomed you with a sign,
sent/given you a packet of
Yes No NA
PROFESSIONAL & ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Fostering positive change in individuals and
organizations at the University of Washington.
T H E L E A D I N G E D G E is published by
Professional & Organizational Development, a division of
UW Human Resources. Submit comments or contributions
to Beth Warrick at email@example.com.
Visit POD online at: www.washington.edu/admin/hr/pod