Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners
In This Issue…
How Alberta is Eradicating Homelessness through Systems Thinking and Transformation
Building the Blue Team: Using Conflict Management Concepts with Canadian Forces Personnel Overseas
Flashback Feature: Living Happily Ever After… with an Acquisition
How Alberta is Eradicating Homelessness through Systems Thinking and Transformation Françoise Morissette, Queen’s IRC Facilitator, 2016
Homelessness is often viewed as a daunting, if not a wicked problem. Yet, Alberta has shown the way to solutions that deliver results. In contrast with other Canadian jurisdictions who favour municipal approaches, Alberta broke new ground in 2009 by defining an ambitious vision for the entire province: Ending homelessness in 10 years, instead of simply ‘managing’ or ‘reducing’ it. To achieve this audacious goal, Alberta had to dramatically alter the way it thought and acted about homelessness. Here’s how it began:
In 2007, then Premier Ed Stelmach set out to capture the state of homelessness, as the problem was escalating. What factors were contributing to its rapid growth?
Environmental: The influx of workers moving to Alberta during economic boom times, combined with insufficient housing, generated a crisis.
Systemic: The Managing Homelessness approach wasn’t robust enough to deal with the surge.
Individual: The combination of aggravating circumstances in the environment, mixed with insufficient and poorly coordinated service delivery, pushed more ‘at risk people’ into homelessness.
Building the Blue Team: Using Conflict Management Concepts with Canadian Forces Personnel Overseas Tim Gushue, Major (RCAF-Retired), 2013
This article will discuss how familiar private and public employment sector conflict management concepts, practices and training were applied and adapted by the Department of National Defence’s Conflict Management Program to prepare military units and individuals for the exigencies of overseas operations. In particular, it details the experience and level of success of implementing interest-based conflict management tools into teams deploying for overseas missions.
Meet the Blue Team and the Red Team In war games, exercises and military operations, the contesting sides are often designated as the “Blue Team”, the friendly forces – our own and our Allies, and as the “Red Team”, the opposing forces or enemy.
The Blue Team does not derive its strength solely through the weight of numbers or through superior weapons and technology. The Team’s morale, cohesion and confidence in itself, each other member, and its leaders, are all key human dimensions factors which contribute to a decisive, and cost-effective, war-winning pre-condition: unquestioned mutual reliance or trust. When the Department of National Defence’s Conflict Management Program started, we believed that conflict management tools which supported the development and strengthening of trust within individuals and units comprising the Blue Team, would increase their level of mission success and reduce the human cost.
Flashback Feature: Living Happily Ever After… with an Acquisition Dr. Carol A. Beatty, Queen’s IRC, 1999
Research evidence points to numerous unsatisfactory outcomes of mergers and acquisitions, including high failure rates, sinking profits, and various negative human resource impacts. Managers looking for advice to increase success, however, will find contradictory prescriptions in the literature. For example, some researchers conclude that unrelated or conglomerate types of acquisitions perform poorly, but others report that conglomerate mergers outperform related mergers.
Based on a survey of large public Canadian companies that were relatively experienced in making and managing acquisitions, this study identifies the prescriptions that are actually associated with success, and it provides three critical lessons for managers: the need to manage risk, to manage impulsiveness, and to pay attention to the human dimension. It also reduces the vast number of recommendations about managing the human dimension to a few critical ones.