Friday, May 15, 2009

Reducing head count, the stupid leadership gene and organizational dna

With the reorganization of the Global Economy, business crash and burn stories are moving from the "Economy blablabla" to the populist "Management is Bad" and now finally to the more realistic "Management is Distracted and Made Stupid Decisions."

It started at the top with AIG, Lehman, Chrysler,GM. One result was the Board Members were fired. Next stop is health. After that will come universities and K -12 education.

Meanwhile it's also about Print on the ground. In the last weeks there have been two conversations to this point at Print CEO Blog. One was about Cenveo closing Anderson Litho in California. The other was called The EPI Companies, Sadly Closed for Business in Georgia. It's the same story that I keep seeing coming from the UK.

Turns out that "Sadly" is no longer the point. That's the End of Print story. "Distracted and Stupid" is the point. That's the End of Bad Management story.

"Organizational dna that forms through the mechanisms of distracted leadership genes" story is caputred by two comments:
A mentor once told me, “Do ONE thing, do it BETTER than anybody else and do MORE of it.”

At the end of the day, without the backbone and heartbeat of the company (visionary leadership and committed, informed employees to that leadership) the company faced its ultimate battle, and lost.
Some snippets illustrating the brand damage for Linx Partners.
It's probably going to make it just a little harder for them to do deals in the future.
There is most likely no one thing that caused EPI to close. But, as a production worker there for almost 11 years, I feel I have a different perspective. Yes, I was there the final day. We had about a 2 hour notice of a meeting, at which we heard we were closing our doors, effective immediately. The “well-cared for” employees were given no severance packages, not even offered our earned vacation and personal leave time.

. . . The company completely changed the moment it was bought by Linx Partners.

. . . I definitely believe there were management problems. We had a lot of people “in charge”, but no one really leading.

. . . Once Linx Partners got involved, the “family” atmosphere at EPI was completely gone. We were at the mercy of the bean counters.

. . . I think is fair to them after what the did to us in Chatsworth. They didn’t mention 2/3 of their earnings where from us, By the way it happened to us the same way. We were growing and they wanted to move things to Marietta to be the big shots and 58 of us where out of a job just as fast as you guys. I like Karma, they destroyed a lot of lives here in a matter of minutes, it was time for them to get their pay back!

. . The poor leadership by the “Heidelberg executive” who took over the reins as the CEO was THE major contributing factor in the demise of EPI.

. . . Oh did I mention, in a meeting in 2006 The great Bill made a statement in a production meeting that he likes to take something that is going good and break it apart and rebuild it and make it better, WELL guess what BILL you DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!
then on May 14, this came up.
One word sums up the problem: “mismanagement"
"We can do better than this"
I started this blog on January first when I got notice of a blog post in my RSS. When I clicked the link in my reader, it had been removed. It's a letter from Matthew R. Maher Jr., dated December 6, 2008.
My wife and I along with 30,000 other middle class employees retired from Xerox with over 30 years of dedicated service were promised retirement benefits when we retired. Ann Mulchey CEO of Xerox has completely eliminated funding for promised health care benefits for all 30,000 retired employees and 50,000 future retirees.
To be clear, I have not confirmed the facts. But it certainly sounds plausible. Maybe this will be fixed when health care in the States gets fixed. But this is not the Xerox dna. My best guess is that it was done for financial wizards on Wall Street.

It probably comes from the same gene pool as Linx Partners and Cenveo. To be clear again, I have no facts, but maybe that's the real reason Quincy Allen left the mother ship.

Distraction + forgetting about caring leads to Stupid
It's the same wherever you go. It was true about the Bush administration in the States. It was true at the Board Meetings of take your choice. It's true in bottom of the pyramid high school classrooms. Too much noise to get the signal. Outdated pride based cognitive structures that can't see the important things that are happening. Then "reasonable" decisions that are in fact really dumb.

It's not about not knowing. It's about not making the time to do what you know should be done. Then forgetting the caring is the best guide to make intelligent decisions when you have imperfect information.

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