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The Little Secret   Join us  
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The Little Secret presents the story of Maria, a dutiful office manager. Maria’s management capability is put to the test when she is caught in between adhering to office policy and addressing employee needs. What should Maria do? Can you help her think...
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Discussion:
  • If you were Maria, how would you handle Greg?
  • What are other options?
  • Please post your comments and share your experiences.


 
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Tracy
April 17, 2013
I like this format's ablility to show the possible consequences of possible responses. Genius!


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Katharine
March 17, 2013
I really love the shades of gray of this ethical dilemma. Much depends on company policy. Love the interactive aspect.


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Eric
January 25, 2013
I think Greg has a valid concern. Perhaps Maria and management have been taking a while to come to a decision. Managers should avoid knee jerk reactions while also understanding that indecision stagnates both the company and the employees lives. I would not direct Greg to HR that seems like giving someone the run-around. Telling Greg he should keep doing his best and try to come up with innovative ideas is a bit like using someone for their ideas then still dumping them when necessary. This will only leave Greg with a greater feeling of betrayal. It is important that Maria indicate what the company is going through. There maybe issues with communication as it seems no one has indicated this to the employees before hand. She should tell Gregg that nobody's job is safe at anytime whether in good or bad times.


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Latisha
March 02, 2012
This is a very tough one. I would have to proceed with caution but share that there is no gaurantee based on the present state of the economy. No one's job is really safe.



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john
January 27, 2012
I don't know


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Tina
August 17, 2011
She should tell him that she has to keep this information confidential and can not discuss this with him. However, she should tell him that any changes will be provided in a timely manner.


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Linda
August 11, 2011
I too like the format of the vignettes; it leads to decision making. This is hard to accomplish in the eLearning development world. The comments from the other post seem right on track. Maria and Greg are both in tough situations; being as upfront as possible is the best way to handle situations that may change at any moment.


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Kathy
August 10, 2011
Maria could talk with Greg about her responsibility to keep this type of information confidential to protect the company, its employees and customers. She could explain that most companies in the current economic climate are looking at ways to improve and be more efficient so the company is in the best financial position possible. She could acknowledge that this reality can make big decisions difficult for all employees She should share with him that when any official changes come about, all employees will be informed equally, as their policies require - and she will share information with the work unit whenever she is able to do so. She could tell him he is valuable to the company and his effort/work is recognized and appreciated. (Hopefully, if this is true - this is not the only time he hears this from her.



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Joe
August 10, 2011
I forgot who asked about the text disappearing when you click on anything unrelated, but a [Ctrl-z] will bring it back for you (in a Windows environment).


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Joe
August 10, 2011
[Maria] "I'm glad you asked that, Greg. You are right, we need to let two people go. Fortunately, you already are on my list of keeepers. You've been productive and I can't imagine you ever changing. In fact, why don't you help me make some decisions about the rest? It won't be easy because they're all good people. Who do you think we should keep for sure?"


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Brian
August 10, 2011
My comment is not on the specific vignette but on the format. I like it a lot and would like to learn how to create something similar. How do you make them?


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Yolanda
August 10, 2011
I would tell Greg that while the company is stable, the economy is not. We are all experiencing cutbacks, maybe even some of us at home. The job is no different. I would also tell Greg that I can not guarantee anyone's job within the company but if decisions are made to trim some positions I would share when I knew anything further.


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karen
August 05, 2011
If I were Maria, I would explain how in today's economy no one's job is "their" job, and no position is safe in an organization. I would advise that they do a careful job looking at their finances before the purchase. I assure him that when any decisions are finalized, the company will be told as a whole unit.


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Dominique
August 05, 2011
I think that this is a situation where all her employees must treated equally for ethical and legal reasons (many of the other readers have phrased this bit better than me).

It's worth noting that she hasn't made her mind up yet - he has come to her and brought a pressure point which she doesn't have to accept. Her other employees may also be choosing this moment to consider a house, car or baby. She shouldn't make a decision on the spur of the moment.

In terms of the meeting I would first explain to him that the business has had some difficulties and they are talking about ways for the business to be more sustainable in the future - if he has any innovative ideas for this invite him to share them with you - but that no final decisions have been made as yet. She can reassure him a little by telling him that she thinks positively of his work (which she does).

The office ALREADY knows something is going on so there isn't any point in trying to make it seem like there isn't. Her staff will be feeling insecure, possibly resentful, so the most important thing to do, is to make her decision as soon as possible (taking all factors into consideration) because no one likes to work with an axe dangling over their head and she might lose employees who decide to get a new job rather than go through the period of uncertainty.

[Ray, this is a really fun way to think about difficult issues. What's the right answer?]

posted by: Jimenez Ray
August 05, 2011
Dominique, I am glad you like it. The discussions help us (learners) bring the issues into our own context, which is the answer wherever and whatever works for that specific company. Having the discussions and sharing is what learning is about. Ray

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Cel1
August 04, 2011
Being a manager is both a position of privilege and responsibility.
It requires creating a delivcate balance between empathizing and
stating a careful truth.

Maria could acknowledge that there are discussions that
may have impacts on manpower and other areas. She encourages
Greg or even her team members not to speculate on anything until
announcements are made. In a gentle firm manner, she should
remind Greg that there are company policies and standards
that rule the decision-making processes. Until then it will always
be best to put one's best foot forward.


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Mike
August 04, 2011
Raising the expectations of team members by not communicating clearly company policies causes more problems than benefits. So, I would be polite and be direct and say we have a policy that issues relating to pay, compensation and employment are best inquired directly of HR. Our company requires leaders to be cautions specially relating to layoffs and termination, discipline and compensation. I would offer further to arrange for Greg to talk to someone in HR.


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Karen
August 04, 2011
I think it is imperative that managers choose their words carefully and don't give someone a false sense of security. Be accurate about what is currently going on within the company and let all team members know at a team meeting so they all hear the message at the same time. Managers may want to talk with departmet heads so all manages are communicating the same message to employees.


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Ray
August 04, 2011
Once in a while we find ourselves in a situation like Maria. We want to help our team members and yet we need to follow company policies.

After assessing Greg's situation, I would have to make a business call. There may be good business reasons why I should help a person like Greg. However, it is equally critical that I carefully weigh its significant impact on other concerns. It could cause other team members some form of injustice or I may even lose my job.

What course of action should I take? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

posted by: Anderson Pam
August 04, 2011
I would talk with Greg about my responsibility to keep this type of information confidential to protect the company, it's employees and customers. I'd reassure him that when any official changes come about, all employees will be informed equally.

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