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How to Initiate Fact Gathering - Public Announcement

A public announcement can go a long way towards inspiring cooperation. It can also provide an opportunity to forestall the anxieties just discussed. The people working in the areas affected by the project are informed that a five or ten minute meeting will be held at the end of a work shift and that a senior executive has an important announcement. (This senior executive should be a person whose authority spans the entire project.)

The meeting includes an announcement of the project, its objective, who is involved in it, a request for the support of all employees and an invitation for questions. It is conducted by the executive mentioned above because it is important that statements about the intent of the project be made by someone who has the authority to stand behind his or her words. It is also helpful for the executive to introduce the analyst and the team members who have been assigned to the project.

The issue of staff cuts may be introduced by the executive or may surface as a question. (Or, it may not arise at all in organizations where loss of employment is a non-issue.) If it is addressed, it should be answered directly and forcefully. "I guarantee there will be no loss of employment because of work improvement." This is not a difficult guarantee for executives who genuinely believe that their people are their most valuable resource. (Note, this is not a guarantee that there will be no loss of employment. If we fail to improve our work, there is a pretty certain guarantee that there will be loss of employment.)

This meeting can also have constructive side effects. One is that the analyst gets a public introduction to the people from whom he or she will be gathering data. Simultaneously, everyone is informed of the reason for the project, making it unnecessary for the analyst to explain this at each interview. And, the explanation carries the assurances of the boss rather than an analyst.


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