7 Tips for Rebuilding the Psychological Contract

Posted December 14, 2009 in Latest News & Insights

On December 2nd, Sharon Wood, President & CEO of KidsHelp Phone, Peter Hagert, VP of HR for AMEX and Jacqui d’Eon, Chief Communication Officer of Deloitte, joined an engaged group of Executive Roundtable members for our final PowerRoundtable of 2009 to discuss the in’s and out’s of rebuilding trust after surviving tough times.

Given the roller coaster of the past year, our participants had lots of comments and questions as they tackled the topic and here are the top takeaways from the session:

  1. Communication rulesCommunication needs to be planful, concrete and deliberateHave a clear strategy and think carefully about your audience and their mindset.  Move quickly to address issues as they emerge.
  2. Say what you can say; clarify what you can’t… you won’t have all the answers all the time.  Be honest with what you know.  Don’t embellish the message but distinguish what you can tell people and what you can’t (and tell them why and when you’ll be able to update).  Follow-up when new info emerges.
  3. It’s all about control… focus yourself and your team on those things that can be controlled and let go of those that can’t.
  4. Simple things make a big difference… hold a “wake” to let go of the past; set people up with a buddy for support; hold informal chats and check-ins.  Think low-cost ways to give people support as they transition through the change process.
  5. Navigate “working notice” together… Sometimes, this is the only option. Assess the risk for each position affected and, if possible, present a number of redeployment options. Examine the pros and cons of each option jointly.
  6. Replenish yourself… Change empowers; but it drains and debilitates leaders, too.  Actively focus on replenishing yourself through life outside of work… and turn off the blackberry!
  7. And, never waste a good crisis…  unleash the energy and creativity of your team to rally around the challenges. Revisit old processes and use it as an opportunity to figure out how to do “less with less”.

Happy leading!


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