Change and Transformation
“The Beacon Group’s program proved to be a transformational experience for our staff, and has created a new, more open culture of creativity and collaboration that has given The Globe and Mail a marked and measurable competitive advantage.”
— Phillip Crawley
“The Beacon Group was able to handle our 360 reviews across 9 offices in a manner that brought significant value to our partners, the firm and ultimately our clients.”
— Judson Whiteside
“The human capital programs provided by The Beacon Group are best in class.”
— Tye Burt
“The Beacon Group approaches very serious and difficult topics in an accessible and insightful way.”
— Eric Siegel
“The Beacon Group’s thought provoking curriculum utilizes best practice tools and interactive media for evaluation, assessment and overall learning. It has helped us raise the bar on our calibre of talent.”
— Ernst Lieb
“The Beacon Group delivered cutting edge perspectives on many human capital topics that were tailored and customized to our company in a way that we could not have obtained at more generic, cookie-cutter advising shops.”
— Doug Lord
“The Beacon Group acted as a strategic partner and was instrumental in helping us raise the bar on candid dialogue and team performance.”
— Robert Courteau
“We engaged The Beacon Group when we needed to bring two cultures together after our first major international acquisition: the evidence of their success lies in both the subsequent growth in our business and our presence in more than twelve countries on five continents.”
— Rupert Duchesne
“The Beacon Group excels in facilitating open & candid dialogue that has fostered superior team performance.”
— Mary Ellen Carlyle
“Top-level thought leadership, combined with practical, cost-effective solutions—that’s the real value the Beacon Group team brings to bear on Foresters talent challenges.”
— Suanne Nielsen
“Doug Williamson and his team were of invaluable assistance in helping our organization navigate through a completely new strategic planning process and emerge with a three year plan resoundingly endorsed by our Board. Doug’s global perspectives and ability to drive consensus was an integral part of our success.”
— Don Forgeron
“The Global HR & Communications senior team engaged the Beacon Group in shepherding us through a unique strategic planning process that involved an outside-in view of our current and future workforce and how this aligns to our business strategy. Thanks to Doug and his team it was a thought provoking process that sharpened our strategic thinking and, in the end, made our strategy stronger.”
— Sylvia Chrominska
“The Beacon Group’s customized and personalized approach fit our needs perfectly. From the initial self-discovery phase all the way to recommending solutions, the work they have done has been consistently world-class. They combine strong analytics with a wealth of real world experience. They are focused, targeted and are experts at taking theoretic concepts and making them real. We look forward to working with Doug and his team as we continue to elevate our business and improve our internal performance.”
— Don Romano
In the hyperactive and challenging world in which we all live, it is becoming harder and harder for business leaders to find time to read, reflect and gain insight from the many valuable sources at our disposal.
In "Provocative Propositions", The Beacon Group attempts to fill that void by offering our opinion, often rather pointed, on a wide array of issues we believe are relevant to leading a modern organization.
The articles are catalogued into 12 categories so you can quickly and easily find a topic of particular interest. We then offer three easy steps under the heading "In Our Opinion" to help business leaders take action on the key themes.
Simply click on the category and read away.
The Hostage Mentality in Organizations
Youíve been trapped in this room for days.
You can hear voices all around you.
You keep playing the images over and over in your head.
What you should have said, what you should have done.
But itís no use. Itís too late.
Your situation is hopeless.
You realize at that moment, youíre truly a hostage.
Then, like every other day, you log-off your computer, and head to the elevator.
So ends another day at the office.
The Fact is every day, in too many organizations, a large number of employees find themselves in situations where they feel powerless. They have become victims to a "hostage mentality".
The Problem is that by acting in a manner akin to those who have been trapped, your employees will be less likely to offer new ideas, point out legitimate problems, and ultimately perform at their optimal level.
The Outcome is that organizations will ultimately become full of "hostages", even though there may not even be a "captor" - in the traditional sense. By ignoring the problem for so long, the helplessness will take over and the organization may never be seen or heard from again.
The Solution is to develop an organizational mindset that keeps employees' minds and actions free to challenge constraints, and overcome stifling bureaucracy.
In this case, no gun-wielding maniac will burst into the room, nor will a late 80's van screech to a halt and four masked thugs jump out and throw you into the back of the van.
The abduction in this case is gradual.
You are lulled into a situation where you suddenly realize you are, in fact, a hostage. You cannot speak up. You cannot act as you need to act. You have been abducted, and you probably didnít even know it.
The Bonding Cycle
To understand how employees become trapped in a "Hostage Mentality", you first have to understand what author George Kohlrieser calls "The Bonding Cycle" in his book "Hostage at the Table".
The cycle is composed of four stages:
Attachment: a process of creating nearness and making a connection.
The comfort of developing attachment leads to...
Bonding: the emotional exchange following attachment.
This emotion can grow, or in other cases, fade away leading to...
Separation: an interruption to the bonding and attachment process.
The key is to move to the fourth state...
Grieving: letting go and saying goodbye.
What Kohlrieser believes, is that Hostages are in a state of unresolved grief. They have been detached emotionally from the organization, but cannot find a way to break free, and are ultimately trapped indefinitely.
Bosses arenít a bad people. They're just doing their job.
Donít kid yourself. Organizations trapped in a "hostage mentality" may evolve into organizations that exhibit the "Stockholm Syndrome". Employees feel a sense of loyalty to their "captor", and do nothing to break free.
The situation is no longer driven by fear; hopelessness has transformed into complacency.
In his book, "Hostage at the Table", author George Kohlrieser says that the number one tactic of a successful hostage negotiator is to stay out of the "hostility" of the situation.
The key, if youíre a leader who realizes your organization has been taken hostage by itself, is to realize that itís not the fault of your employees that they are acting this way. Remember, the organization with its rules, policies, culture, and legacy issues trapped them. Your job is to step back from the situation, and deal with the history that has led to this behaviour. Only then can you free them.
In Our Opinion
The Beacon Groupís Keys to Releasing Yourself from a Hostage Situation
Stay Informed - The best defence is a good offence. Keep your lines of communication to the "outside world" open and strong. By comparing your situation to others, you will be more likely to know if your organization is trying to abduct you.
Personalize - Captors do not take people hostage, they take "collateral". Therefore, in a business context, develop a good, candid rapport with those around you in the organization. If the emotion level drops, find a way to pick it back up, or get out before itís too late.
Move Slowly - Although it sounds counter-intuitive, the fact is, if you make a daring attempt to break free and it doesnít work, your "Organization-Captor" will only find ways to monitor your behaviour more closely. Make deliberate choices to change, and let the momentum build up, and you will be more likely to break free.
Get Help - Unless youíre Rambo, or Jack Bauer, or the CEO, youíre not going to be able to free the rest of the organization by yourself. Find a team of employees who want to be emotionally engaged with the organization, and develop a plan to free the other "hostages."