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Crisis? Don’t overlook staff

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

A sudden drop in demand threatened DocuSign, an electronic-signature service.

In 2007, two of DocuSign’s primary markets suddenly unraveled. CEO Matthew Schiltz could have gathered his senior managers behind closed doors to fix the problem.

Instead, he invited all 40 employees to a town hall meeting, where the leadership team laid out the situation and asked for help.

“We went straight to the people who deal with these customers on a daily basis,” Schiltz explains.

Next, he set up two channels for ongoing employee feedback:

  1. He instituted monthly meetings where workers in different units shared observations about market shifts, new ways to execute and ways to measure the impact of changes.
  2. He created subcommittees to brainstorm solutions in specific areas.

The result? Less than a year later, Schiltz says the company has experienced “dramatic positive change.” Not only has DocuSign gained new clients, but employees are more invested in their everyday work.

—Adapted from “The Issue: Workers as Crisis Consultants,” Douglas MacMillan, BusinessWeek.

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