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With a passion.

Lloyd Field likes leaving an imprint. In his work as a consultant, author, and conference leader, he wants to feel he's touching someone's life, that he's helping unleash the best in those around him.

"It's the missionary side of me," says Lloyd, President of Performance House, a management consulting firm specializing in HR management and strategic organization development. "When I get into an organization and talk about unleashing potential and self-esteem in people, things that ultimately show productivity and quality gains, what I think I really contribute is that someone will live better. Ideally, people then take those positives and use them to enhance their lives outside of work as well."

For most of this consulting and corporate life he's been responsible for implementing recommendations in organizations here and abroad. But what sets him apart as a consultant, says Lloyd, is that he personally has implemented virtually every strategy he has ever recommended. Any of his clients will tell you his consulting style is pro-active and highly participative, but he's clear on how he sees his role. "I don't want to live with a client. I should be totally behind the scenes, helping my clients learn how to manage their people and guiding them through the experience, helping them succeed, letting them shine."

His teaching style in seminars is characteristically participative, with seating assembled in a U-shape to encourage discussion. One of the first things he tells his audience is: "If you want to get the best out of me, ask questions. Push me. If there's one answer you came here for, demand that you get it before you leave." Many of his clients, both past and current, are one-time students of Lloyd's.

Lloyd launched his practice in 1975 with his wife Joyce, who three years later branched out on her own to form Brock Learning Resources, a company specializing in training and development products. Over the years he's worked with clients in Canada, the U.S. and Britain, and in so doing received kudos from HR communities in each of those countries. As Lloyd explains it, "The issues I'm dealing with are universal. And it seems my advice travels well."

He's witnessed radical changes in the field of human resources, particularly over the past decade, and remembers when the senior HR person was the lowest paid professional in the boardroom. "Today they are likely to be the third highest paid." He also talks about requests he's been getting recently for training programs to help supervisors deal with multicultural issues in the workplace. "They're having to sort out on the shop floor issues that politically have never been solved in other societies, like putting two employees from different Hindu castes in the same work environment, or having two Lebanese work together, one Christian, one Arab."

His work in organization development he characterizes as taking the value system in an organization and "cranking" it slightly so that people can work together as a cohesive unit rather than under autocratic restraints. He's wary of the CEO who calls him into his office and announces simply, "We have to turn this company around and do it by the end of October." To that, Lloyd says simply. "There's no way. An organization has to turn deliberately, yes, but not quickly." If reaction is knee-jerk, there's no depth or staying power, he says. Rather than turning the company's clock "from twelve to six in one crank," Lloyd's strategy is to make "small clicking movements. Clicking, because they need to hear what's happening, to know that the hands are moving, and then building on those successes incrementally. I want them to be able to see all of the small benefits that come from change."

Managers who feel the only way to succeed today is to be lean and mean need to rethink their values, the says. Lean and mean is not the the answer, according to Lloyd, and in fact sees this as "a good formula for short-term success and long-term disaster." What he espouses is "lean, yes, efficient, absolutely: but lean and human."

The most frequent cries from help he hears these days are from clients concerned about union intervention, and that may be less a reflection of the times, Lloyd suspects, than a nod to his impressive track record in the area. Author of the Canadian bestseller "Unions Are Not Inevitable!" soon to be published in the U.S., Lloyd reports that in the course of two decades he has never lost a client to a union, success he attributes to his ability of changing an organization's mindset from short-term stopgap solutions to one of long-term, positive change. "I've always been able to manage the pragmatic, initial campaign and then start to make progressive change so there is no longer a perceived need by employees to deal through a third party."

To get the union to back off from plant gates is not solving the problem, stresses Lloyd. "It's just the beginning of a long journey -- one which will see management instilling a sense of pride and ownership in their employees." Failure to deal with the issues, Lloyd declares, and the union will be back posing a greater threat than ever. Interestingly, Lloyd has nothing against unions and in fact feels they have created a phenomenal opportunity in society for managers to learn "how to do it better." Unions, in his view, are the vehicle against which we can set out minimum standards for employee relations, and says union organizers function as powerful wake-up calls to employers telling them they've faltered, that they simply haven't been paying attention. His message to management: "Treat employees as internal customers and you will not need a union."

For 25 years Lloyd has been earning his stripes in the field of HR, and says his credibility as a consultant rests in part on the fact that he's "been there. I've worked as an HR director and actually done the day-to-day things I'm talking about." In 1967 he joined Capital Records with the mandate to create a human resource department. Two years later he joined the Ortho/McNeil Divisions of Johnson & Johnson International.

There is a deadly personal investment in his work to revitalize the HR function, he says. "It's a feeling of wanting to assist the profession I come from -- to take all that I've learned from my external consulting opportunities and bring it back to try and empower HR people and help them achieve a power base." The partnership between HR and an organization's power brokers is more evident in some industries than others, he says. Knowledge-based industries such as engineering technologies and bio-pharmaceuticals are taking the lead here because of a clearer focus around the boardroom table of the importance of the HR role. "They have a longer horizon and are willing to invest in the resources to make HR a mainstream player."

His strategy in HR revitalization is to upgrade HR skills and to empower its practitioners to approach the board table with confidence. "In many organizations personnel people are seen as mere paper pushers: they've been conditioned not to project their own strategies and ideas." The perception of HR has to change, he says, from that of a "passive, paper" role to one as role model for other managers. The HR role has never been more intrinsic to a company's success than it is today, says Lloyd, simply because it is the only role in the organization with the mandate to deal with the entire employee population. That's precisely why he sees the HR role as critical in focusing organizational efforts like TQM, which he calls a values or cultural change.

Lloyd's approach with clients in the area of Training & Development is unique. He starts training at the beliefs, or value end of the spectrum, challenging manager's assumptions about their employees. Once traditional stereotypes of semi-skilled and hourly workers (and all that implies) are examined and broken down, managers can then -- as trainers -- begin to enrich the jobs of people reporting to them, he says. This is done by coaching and role-modeling appropriate behaviour and by pushing decision making down. "Most of the information is at lower levels anyway. Decisions at management tables are often made with filtered information."

The entire process is reciprocal, he stresses, and has many positive spin-offs. "Treat employees as legitimate stakeholders in the business and they feel better about themselves," he says. This translates to higher productivity and a workforce empowered to take on marketplace challenges such as "doing it right the first time."

Since he and his family relocated from Toronto to Waterloo two years ago, Lloyd has devoted his energies to working with one of Canada's leading advanced technology companies on an organization redesign. With a mandate to turn the organization around, Lloyd rebuilt its HR function from an administrative staff of two to a well-rounded group complete with two organizational psychologists.

After hours, he loves dabbling in stained glass, collecting antiquarian maps, and curling up with thick history books. He is on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Children's Foundation which supports Kids Help Phone, a national telephone help line for children in distress. Plans are in the works for he and Joyce to open a Kitchener/Waterloo chapter of the Kids Help Phone, a cause close to their heart since the death of their daughter Kyra at age 16.

On the best days, consulting gives Lloyd a sense of achievement on many levels. "It feels great knowing I've spent a day of my life that has been worthwhile for someone, not just another day I can check off my calendar."

The job is not without its frustrations, Lloyd admits. He grimaces, recalling how many times he's heard managers complain that they don't have time to deal with people. "Of course, it's ludicrous," says Lloyd, a trifle exasperated. "Their business -- everyone's business -- is the people. It's the only way anyone gets the job done."

Tricia McCallum has been a freelance writer in Toronto for the past twelve years. She has been featured as a guest columnist in the Toronto Star and the Financial Post, written for Flare, lectured on freelance writing at York University, and in 1990 won a Toronto Star award for fiction writing.

She has written extensively for a number of Canada's most influential companies on a multitude of topics, tackling issues from AIDS in the workplace to business ethics and interviewing people from the shop floor to the board room in the process. 416-472-0002
COPYRIGHT 1993 Canadian Institute of Management
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Profile; management consultant and Performance House President Lloyd Field
Author:McCallum, Tricia
Publication:Canadian Manager
Date:Jun 22, 1993
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