How to Implement Tough Business Decisions Without Getting Sued

January 10th, 2012   •   no comments   

Dr Ariane David Prevent Workplace Lawsuits


A culture where employees don’t become plaintiffs.

When employees feel that they have no recourse, no power, and voice, they sue. It’s their only source of power and they only way of being heard. Create a culture in which employees feel empowered and heard.

» Create a culture in which employees feel that they can speak up and even complain, and where they feel they will be heard.

» Create a culture where employees feel that you are communicating with them.

» Create a culture of integrity where one standard fits all: everyone is held to the same values, even the boss.

» Remove blame; concentrate on behaviors and results not judgments.

» Treat all people with respect no matter how menial their work or how stupid their mistakes.

» Build trust by being trustworthy. Do what you say you’re going to do.

» Don’t be an arrogant, remote boss. Remember it’s easier to sue people you don’t like or respect.


Create a Crisis Plan for how you will handle lawsuits, whistle blowers, union threats, etc.

» Don’t wait for disaster to figure out what to do; have a plan and stick to it!

» Don’t trust difficult decisions to knee-jerk reactions.


» Question your own assumptions /mental model about how you run your organization.

» Know what you want. The very first item on the agenda for organizational policy makers is to answer the question, “Do we really want a culture of open communication?

» Create official policies that promote integrity and communication. Employees know you’re serious when you make it official. Listen when people have a complaint.

» Respond openly and appropriately.

» Walk the talk. What you really do when an employee has a complaint will matter way more than what you say.

» Reward desirable behavior: you’ll get what you reward.

If you have any questions about how to prevent workplace lawsuits please send me a note from our contact page or email me at ADavid[at]

Did Qantas Shoot Itself in the Foot and Then Reload?

November 23rd, 2011   •   no comments   

Qantas Social Media Twitter FailureIt’s starting to look as though that’s exactly what they did. Three weeks ago on October 27 in the midst of a bitter labor dispute, intending to show the unions just who had the bigger stick, the airline locked out employees everywhere shutting down operations and stranding thousands of passengers all over the world. Unions and employees were left – as they say in Australia – flatfooted, and the famous Qantas kangaroo, was in disgrace.

Management vs Unions

The battle between the three involved unions – pilots, engineers and ground crews – and Qantas management is a classic one these days. Qantas wanted to outsource a good part of its operation to Asia, primarily Malaysia, in an effort to lower operations costs. The unions, of course, focusing on the loss of Australian jobs (and union power), found it unacceptable, and the fight was on.

The First Shot

Stranding passengers in order to punish Qantas employees was the shooting-themselves-in-the-foot part. The reload and shoot again part came three weeks later. Instead of making brief contrite apologies to the passengers who had been stranded, offering them an offset and moving on in the hope that they would eventually forget, what Qantas did next was straight out of Mad Men. read more

Are You Being Heard: Speaking That Gets You What You Want

September 9th, 2011   •   2 comments   

How to Get Your Point Across and Be Heard

Ariane David will be speaking to the Association of Fundraising Professionals Santa Barbara and Venture County Chapter on Wednesday, September 14 at 11:30am. Non-members are welcome.

Are You Being Heard: Speaking That Gets You What You Want

In a study some years ago researchers found that on average the fear of public speaking was second only to the fear of death. You can’t do anything about death, but you can do something about speaking. By understanding what it takes to deliver a powerful presentation, whether to a hundred people or to one (who makes you incredibly nervous), you can start becoming comfortable with speaking. read more

“Creating Communication in Organizations and Work Teams”
Featured Presenter: Dr. Ariane David

January 28th, 2011   •   4 comments   

International Facility Management Association
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 – 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Universal Studios Hollywood at Universal CityWalk

Ask Any Manager:
Ask any manager what his or her most troubling or persistent problems are, and nine times out of ten you’ll hear “people problems”. Dig a little deeper, and invariably they’ll tell you that these problems are related to communication. You’ll probably also hear about how long and hard the manager has tried to fix the problems, unsuccessfully. Communication is the foundation of everything that happens in organizations, and a necessary condition for success. But how many of us really understand what it means to communicate effectively, how to do it, or that true communication goes well beyond the mere transfer of information?

In this session we will explore what it means to communicate truly and effectively.

We’ll look at how to communicate in a way that is clear, powerful and compelling.

Among other topics discussed:

* The two great virtues of communication
* How to make sure you’re hearing what’s being communicated and communicating what’s being heard
* The pitfalls of team/group communications
* How our thinking determines what “is”
* Listening so that you understand what is being said, and why
* A toolkit for proficient communication

High Voltage Business and Communication

July 14th, 2010   •   no comments   

High Voltage Communication Saves the Day

I was winding down the section of a communication training on “how to be certain you got your point across” when a man suddenly looked at his watched, jumped out of his seat and ran out of the room.

My client, a quality commercial builder in San Diego, had engaged me to do a series of trainings for their top managers including project managers and site superintendents.

Their specific goal was to reduce errors, do-overs, and accidents. On this particular day the training was on communication.

About twenty minutes later the man came back into the room. He was the project manager on a new job for a large energy company in Southern California, re-asphalting one of their energized substations. He had given the crew detailed instructions, asked for and gotten assurance from them that they understood every aspect of the job, and left the site to come to the training.

At the “how to be sure you got your point across” part of the training he looked at his watch and realized that crew was minutes away from starting the job, and he couldn’t be sure that he actually had gotten his point across.

Here’s a little background: electricity enters the sub-station through the high tension wires at a very high voltage. That voltage is then stepped down for distribution to customers. This generates lots of static electricity. Now remember, lightening is static electricity!

So electricity sub stations have something called a safety ground-grid, a web of wires under the asphalt that grounds the large amount of static electricity in the station, so that it doesn’t discharge and wipe out equipment and people.

When the project manager called his crew he found that he had not gotten his point across. In fact they were just moments away from dropping the big claw of their wrecking machine onto the asphalt to begin ripping it up along with the safety ground-grid!

A few years earlier another construction had made this same mistake: they had ripped up the asphalt and all the electrical wires underneath. Besides having to bear the huge cost of replacing the grid, the construction company was forever banned from working on their sites.

That day my construction client got back their investment in manager training a hundred fold, thanks to their great commitment to quality.

What they hadn’t expected to get out of these trainings was the answer to a problem that had costs the construction industry hundreds of millions dollars, miscommunications.