Gary MacDonald

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Senate Declines to Postpone Sick-Leave Law

Posted by Gary MacDonald on Apr 16, 2015 8:30:00 AM

The state Senate yesterday rejected an effort by Associated Industries of Massachusetts to postpone the July 1 implementation of the new paid sick-leave law. AIM sought the delay because employers have no clear instructions on how to comply.

Senate_ChamberSenator Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, filed a budget amendment that would have moved the effective date of the voter-approved leave law to January 1, 2016. The amendment was withdrawn, however, after it became clear that there was not enough support to pass it.

Attorney General Maura Healey, who is developing the regulations that employers will have to follow, opposed the effort to move the deadline. The Senate’s action raises the probability that the paid sick-days law will take effect three days before final regulations are in place.

Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question on November 4 mandating that employers with 11 or more workers provide 40 hours of paid sick time. Companies with fewer than 11 employees will be required to provide 40 hours of unpaid sick time.

The law has touched off a wave of concern among employers who say that the 75 days remaining until July 1 do not provide them enough time to understand the yet-to-be-published regulations and to program payroll systems to account for the new law. One employer who already has a sick-leave policy in place reports that he needs at least 120 days to work with his payroll company to make the necessary programing changes.

Employers also face a litany of time-consuming administrative issues. For example, an employee who used to accrue 15 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) prorated over each payroll now will accrue 10 days of PTO prorated over each payroll and up to five days of Earned Sick Time (EST) accrued at one hour for every 30 hours worked. And re-characterizing existing time off from accrued PTO to EST may lead to an excess accrual and payout before July 1 to avoid loss of earned time that may not be carried over in excess of 40 hours.

“Massachusetts employers deeply appreciate the effort by Senator Rodrigues to provide adequate time to companies to meet their obligations under a complex new law. AIM worked hard on behalf of its 7,500 member employers to resolve these issues and we are disappointed that the Senate did not act,” said John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs for AIM.

The proposed delay drew heavy opposition from organized labor, which paid for advertisements saying “Stop the attack on earned sick time for working families.”

The Attorney General’s office is expected to issue draft sick-days regulations later this month. AIM will brief member employers via Webinar on the draft regulations once they are published.

Employers with questions or comments on the paid sick-days law may contact me at, or Brad Macdougall at

Topics: Massachusetts senate, Employment Law, Paid Sick Days

LoJack Exec: Planning, Integration Key to M&A

Posted by Gary MacDonald on Aug 22, 2014 12:02:00 PM

An increasingly competitive world virtually demands growth strategies accelerated through mergers and acquisitions, but achieving M&A success is daunting.

HandshakeThe chief executive must set the context for M&A strategy and focus the organization on forward integration of new resources, processes and values, a corporate development expert told the AIM CEO Connection recently.

Doug Flood, Vice President of Corporate Development at LoJack Corporation, said that M&A requires new metrics, leadership and capabilities. The CEO must communicate relentlessly, Flood said, to integrate the new business successfully with the core business.

It is that integration that drives most value in M&A, according to Flood.

He made his comments during a discussion on Growth Strategies with a dozen chief executives taking part in the CEO Connection in Medway. Flood told the CEOs that integration planning and process are critical to handling the surprises that inevitably arise in the rapid-change environment of a merger or acquisition.

The CEO must:

  • Define the corporate plan that is the foundation for M&A strategy as a means to reach the envisioned future of the business;
  • Commit the necessary senior leadership time;
  • Build relationships to mitigate risk as the new business is explored and change is executed;
  • Define and follow a disciplined M&A process with deliberate speed and passion; and
  • Drive focus on integration according to plan, and according to what the team discovers including the unanticipated.

“Above all else, the CEO must drive the focus on appropriate integration of the new business,” Flood said.

“That means preparing the company to be changed amid accelerated growth - ensuring the right leaders and champions are in place, and communicating the strategic context and execution progress to all stakeholders so they can understand and contribute.”

Veda Ferlazzo Clark, the former chief executive who moderates CEO Connection, said participants choose the topics for each meeting and that there was keen interest in the management role in M&A. Each session of the CEO Connection includes a presentation from an outside expert, open discussion and a company tour.

“These CEOs learn a tremendous amount from one another. It’s a uniquely valuable exercise for people who are sometimes very much on their own in making important decisions,” Clark said.

Manufacturing CEOs interested in joining the AIM CEO Connection should contact either Brian Gilmore ( or Gary MacDonald (


Topics: Manufacturing, Massachusetts Manufacturing, Mergers & Acquisitions

Evergreen Solar Offers Opportunity to Hire Experienced Employees

Posted by Gary MacDonald on Feb 3, 2011 9:47:00 AM

Looking for highly qualified employees with manufacturing and engineering experience? Evergreen Solar may have just the people you’re looking for.

SolarPanels.SmallMost people know by now that the Evergreen Solar plant in Devens is ceasing its operations in March.

The folks at Evergreen would love to hear from you if you have openings and are in need of hard-working and experienced manufacturing and engineering employees. Evergreen is posting opportunities on its intranet and inviting companies on-site for job fairs to meet with employees.

Please contact Tim Fay at if you would like more information or to advertise your openings.

Topics: Massachusetts economy, Manufacturing

Is Your Company's Immune System Killing Innovation?

Posted by Gary MacDonald on Aug 13, 2010 9:45:00 AM

The innovative ideas that represent your company’s future often appear in a raw and flawed state. They are murky and a bit vague, imperfect in some way.  They’re also fragile and easy targets for an organization’s “immune system.” 

InnovationThe same organizational antibodies that suppress potentially harmful actions can also dispose of valuable innovations before they have a chance to mature.  What distinguishes successful, world-class companies such as Intel, Google and EMC from “also-rans” is a culture capable of separating marginal ideas that need to be eliminated from true innovations to be nurtured. 

Can you think of 10 ways to kill an idea?  How about 20?

When I facilitate AIM’s Fostering Innovation seminars, it’s not unusual for a team to generate – in less than ten minutes - as many as 50 ways to kill an idea.  They’re often relayed from long-ago but not-forgotten personal experience.  It’s easy.  Anyone can do it.  And it’s habit.  When you add non-verbal communications such as tone and body language, to the actual words being said, anyone possesses a potent enough arsenal to do the job quite handily. 

Early suppression of innovations can compound into a cultural reality, requiring innovators to make a heroic effort to push an idea through all the active and passive barriers.  How many people possess that assertiveness and stamina?

This does NOT mean an organization should implement every proposed initiative.  In fact, a high percentage ultimately won’t make sense.  But the critical point is that they are allowed to mature.  Instead of “Yes, but…,” think and say “Yes, and…”  Instead of “It costs too much” think and say “How can we show a stronger ROI on this?”  And look interested and enthused throughout.  Create forums, ground rules and a culture that supports, develops and selects the next generation of initiatives in your business.

Innovation and risk tolerance are cornerstones of long run viability and effectiveness.  Oddly enough, it is often commercially successful companies that are most vulnerable to the suppression of these qualities. 

First of all they’re busy meeting all those urgent customer demands.  The longer run nature of innovation seldom has the same urgency and can easily be crowded out. Secondly, success and stability can lead to a certain organizational complacency.  As the author Jim Collins puts it so succinctly “Good is the enemy of great.”  Entrepreneurial thinkers within the organization tend to quit and leave or quit and stay.  And your organization is the weaker for it.

Keep an entrepreneurial flair alive and well in your organization by creating avenues and time for the advancement and vetting of ideas.  Recognize and stop the comfortable and easy habit of killing them off prematurely.  Don’t allow for contributions to the process, insist upon them.  Then, with a balance of patience and persistence, you’ll see those raw ideas develop into the gems that strengthen your business.

I welcome your comments below.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Management, Innovation

Faint Signs of Job Recovery Pierce Economic Gloom

Posted by Gary MacDonald on Feb 17, 2010 2:36:00 PM

Look hard and you will find faint signs of a job-market recovery amid the economic gloom.

Sure, Massachusetts continues to struggle with a 9.4 percent jobless rate and unemployment remains in double digits nationally. Economists Raymond Torto, Sara Johnson and Alan Clayton-Matthews told the AIM Executive Forum in January that the job market remains at least half a year away from a turnaround.

But go below the forest and there are some fragile trees that may point the way to improvement.

Demand for recruiters is up after a year of virtually no activity. More than half a dozen Massachusetts employers have hired AIM in the past month to help with recruitment. The Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA) also indicates an uptick in job postings for recruiters as well as postings for HR professionals overall. 

The AIM Business Confidence Index for January found that employer confidence about hiring rose to 44.9, more than six points higher than in January 2009 and just short of the 50 reading that is considered optimistic. The Business Confidence Index has risen for nine of the past 10 months.

A quick survey of 30 human resource professionals at AIM's Taunton HR Roundtable showed more than half projecting an increase in employment levels for 2010 versus last year. Only a few anticipated work force reductions.  The results were a wholesale reversal from those collected a year earlier.

What are you seeing in the job market? Are we ahead of the curve or just ahead of ourselves?

Topics: Employers, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Massachusetts unemployment, Human Resources

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