Archive | September, 2008

It’s Not Business, It’s Personal

18 Sep

Wait a minute, I thought that was It’s Not Personal.  I really do think that some of you people have had it confused for a number of years.  I have felt that way most of my career and I think I hushed myself simply because I didn’t want to appear some type of hypersensitive guy in touch with his feminine side that just needs thicker skin.

Damnit, I can well up a little when I watch Extreme Home Makeover and I can see the workplace and decisions that are made from a personal standpoint.  It is business that tough decisions have to be made but it is personal when warning signs are not communicated to your workforce.

The crisis we see in the mortgage industry right now wasn’t caused by "the company."  It was caused by individuals.  Loose underwriting standards designed by individuals, appraisals fudged by individuals, bad loans made to individuals that could not afford them and there you go.  Crisis that should not have happened.

An airline in Indianapolis recently closed up for good.  They had had their share of troubles but how about their employees that showed up one Monday and the doors were locked.  Someone knew those locks would be changed.  I talked to some of those people – I don’t recall anyone saying, "You know Andy, it’s just business.  No big deal."

I can go on and give you numerous stories – different circumstances, similar outcomes.  I will share one – my own.  A few years ago, before I entered into the recruiting field, I worked for a large company that decided to get out of the line of business I was representing.  We had known something was up but not sure what.  You know the story though – I get a phone call from my boss, HR is on the line and my job is done.  Turn your car in, your laptop in, thanks for your service.  A business decision that made sense was not communicated and my career was affected.  Personal. 

Here’s the deal, the incredibly interesting thing about all this to me is – if you want a good employee, you want one that cares, that takes ownership and is accountable, that dare we say takes their job personally – that treats the company like they own it.  OK.  How do you get that?  Sincere Transparency.  Hell, I will take plain old reluctant transparency.  In fact, the accountability that the management team wants managers to possess would become an inherent quality if the transparency was there. 

My point – obviously alarms were going off at some level of these organizations, the P and L was ugly, whatever – at that point – it’s business.  Communicate it to your people NOW – it’s still business.  You choose to say nothing but months later when it hits the fan and my key doesn’t work – that’s personal. 

Employees don’t need spin – they need the truth.  Why?  Because they might be able to turn it around.  Are you serious?  Yes, of course.  The same workforce that celebrates ribbon cuttings and record years can understand heads needing to be cut when the facts are clearly communicated.  Numbers don’t lie but those darn people sure can.  Look, if you want your people to care, tell them how it is.  They don’t care – fire them.  Fire their ass. 

This whole company leading a double life thing needs to end.  Now we get the government bailout, and how does the government get paid back?  Our taxes (of course) and transparency of a different kind – forced transparency.  Give me some more Sarbanes Oxley like regulation.  Outstanding.  The only people excited about all this are auditors – do we want auditors excited? 

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