By Joni Wheeler
ICAN Board Member + Executive Vice President, Talent and Enterprise Solutions at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska
“Launch” is the New Layoff
Lessons learned from a business closing its doors about the power of a positive culture—and how the right leadership behaviors can transform any company
As I stood on the stage of that small auditorium, looking out at the almost 300 people filling the seats, I felt a sense of dread I had never known before. In just a few moments, I would change the course of their lives with the words, “The company is closing.” How could I keep them engaged and motivated through a very long transition period? How could I turn a negative situation into a positive experience? How did we get here—and how could we move forward?
CoreLink Administrative Solutions is a typical company with a not-so-typical story. You see, CoreLink’s employees knew since 2017 that they all would eventually lose their jobs and the company’s doors would close in 2021. Why then, in the years since that initial announcement, are the people there still filled with purpose, positivity, and hope? How was letting someone go viewed as a celebration? If a company headed for closure can maintain its positive culture and employee engagement, why do so many growing companies struggle in these areas? What’s the secret?
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know that what we did at CoreLink worked. It’s the story about a company that defied the odds, whose imminent closure is viewed as a success. In telling that story, I also want to leave you with some tools and techniques you can use in your company to create that same ripple of positive change.
For her second article “Leaders, prepare to Launch!”, including tips for individual contributors and managers on how to put Joni’s leadership philosphy into place, visit our follow-up post here. Tips documents shared with courtesy to Joni Wheeler and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska.