Mis-management part 1

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mis-management part 1

With the blatent bad decision making that's been done so publicly by the FA over the appointment/ non-appointment of the next England manager, I though it was time to start something I've been thinking about writing for a while now - examples of bad / amusing management that I've either witnessed in my past or heard about from others. So here's part 1

At one company that I worked at many lifetimes ago, the company had been growing slowly until the decision was made that the company was at just the right place, and had a large enough sales pipeline that a major expansion was needed in order to keep pace with our orders. We doubled the size of the office, and did the same with the number of staff. Unfortunately as this was happening the customers dried up overnight, after a group of them decided to band together and lobby the software manufacturer that we created a plugin for, to create the plugin themselves. We could all see that without money coming in, the company was on rocky ground, and it was only a matter of time before there was some form of 're-alignment'

One Friday in March the entire company was called in to the conference room. The owner gave a speech describing the problem, and said that he hated what he had to do. {At this point you're probably thinking that you can't really blame them for the way this has gone, they made fairly decent decisions based on the available data, and obviously couldn't anticipate the external factors that removed the revenue stream... just wait, it gets better...} His next comment was along the lines of "I can't think of a better way to do this, so if I read your name out please go back to your cubicle, you still have a job". This was a horrible way to handle it, and left those in the room feeling like the fat kid that no-one picked to play sports in school. I was one of those called, and had to walk past all of my co-workers that were still wondering whether they were one of the lucky ones. After the last co-worker filed out, we gathered around while those being let go were having their mass meeting on unemployment / severence / etc, and wondered if there was any significance to the order of the names being called, were those called towards the end in danger for the next round of cuts? Did I stay with them after this? Yes, for about 3 months, the next time I write about this topic I'll talk about the next move that they made that made me really accelerate the interviewing process that began that weekend.

At another place that I worked at, they pulled everyone in for one-on-one talks with the owner and the HR director to discuss on a case by case basis whether or not they were being kept on, and what it meant to them. This was a much classier way of handling the situation, and ended up having a much better effect on morale that carried the company to a point where they could once again start expanding and growing.


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