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Managing Milestones and Transitions

How to respond when a friend reveals tension in their marriage

Skip to content Skip to search. Alpern, Michele. Published Philadelphia, Pa. Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 2 of 2. Author Alpern, Michele.

Other Authors Rosen, Marvin. Physical Description 64 p. Series Focus on family matters Subjects Emotional problems of children -- Juvenile literature. Emotional problems. Dungan said. Dungan said his goal is to take the prenuptial agreement out of the conversation and present the couple with an opportunity to have an honest conversation about money. He wants them to learn if they are spenders, savers or sharers when it comes to money in their lives. Andrew, who comes from a prominent Midwestern family and asked that his last name not be used, said his family had been a client of Mr.

Still, when they got engaged and the process ramped up, the conversations were not easy. Dungan helped them ask about their attitudes toward money.

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The process took about six months until a prenuptial agreement was signed. But in the end, he was glad they were both on the same page. But many prenuptial financial conversations are not well planned. Casting that kind of uncertainty on a wedding can dim the sunny days most couples expect. But such an approach can also have unintended ramifications.

The person who is being presented with the prenuptial agreement can feel unprepared or, worse, ambushed. What was unique about the events of September 11 was the breadth of their impact on business.

Some companies lost scores of employees. Many others saw key components of their infrastructure destroyed, at least temporarily. A still larger group had to struggle with secondary effects—customers requiring heroic levels of service, suppliers unable to fill orders, breakdowns in transportation and communication, collapses in demand. And every company in the country had to deal with traumatized and bewildered workers. Others, like Tim Doke, were far away from the site of the attacks but were nevertheless buffeted by their impact.

Managing Milestones and Transitions

What I discovered is that, in a time of extreme crisis, internal communications take precedence. After that point, everything was focused on our people. Many of these lessons relate to preparation—to establishing plans and mechanisms for emergency action. Sometimes, we have no choice but to improvise. Here, too, the experiences I uncovered can serve as useful models.


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Improvisation, after all, is most effective when a strong corporate mission and vision are already in place to inform and guide it. In a move that would soon attain legendary status, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani arrived at the World Trade Center within minutes of the first attack to take charge of the rescue operation. In the days and weeks that followed, he would conduct several press conferences in the vicinity of the destroyed towers, attend many funerals and memorial services, and maintain what seemed like a ubiquitous presence in the city.

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His visibility, combined with his decisiveness, candor, and compassion, lifted the spirits of all New Yorkers—indeed, of all Americans. During the crisis, the most effective managers maintained similarly high levels of visibility in their own organizations. They understood that a central part of their job is political and that their employees are, in a very real sense, their constituents.

Written statements have their place, but oral statements and the sound of an empathic human voice communicate sincerity. And if the voice belongs to a company leader, the listener has reason to think that the full weight of the company stands behind whatever promises and assurances are being made. As the local telephone service provider to much of New York, Verizon faced enormous business and operational challenges in the wake of the Trade Center attacks. The 2, Verizon employees who were situated in the vicinity of the Center were involved in running the densest knot of cables and switches anywhere in the world.

The attack knocked out , voice access lines and 4. The CEO, Ivan Seidenberg, during the week following the attack, worked closely and at length with the communications team to craft and record voice mails addressed to employees who could still be reached outside the area of devastation.

These messages went out daily until the stock market reopened the following Monday. The messages focused on employee safety, those unaccounted for, the condition of the network, and how Verizon was going to get the New York Stock Exchange open for business. Employees at the New York Times faced a particularly harrowing challenge after the attacks.

But it was their job to cover the attacks with the clearheadedness and distance of professional journalists.

Choose your Channels Carefully

The sheer scale of the event, and its effect on friends and neighbors, shook even the most hard-bitten news-room veterans. He would use the system frequently over the next several days to reassure and update employees. Think of Dell. Yet they were devastated emotionally. To keep the meetings small and personal, three were held.

The meetings were also taped and put on the company intranet for the benefit of every employee.

Let's Talk: Sharing Our Thoughts and Feelings During Times of Crisis (Focus on Family Matters)

Whether natural or man-made, disasters often disrupt normal flows of communication. Phone lines and power lines may be destroyed. Computer networks may go down. Groups of employees may be stranded or isolated. To reach their people, managers often had to be creative in using unusual communication channels. Many, for instance, used the mass media to communicate with employees.

Oppenheimer Funds, which occupied five floors at Two World Trade Center, wanted to send a message to both its employees and its customers that it would be operational as soon as the markets reopened. In fact, its contingency site in New Jersey was ready for trading before the markets reopened. At Morgan Stanley, the voice mail system serving its 2, employees based in Two World Trade Center and another 1, in Five World Trade Center, a smaller structure, had been disabled, as had the internal Web site for its broker network.

But affected companies did not view the media channel as merely a default communications system. They are very news sensitive. They read it, analyze it, question it.