Who should be fired first? Relooking at the Nokias of the world

Who should be fired

Who should be fired

Corporate restructuring, Downscoping, Downsizing (and all the jargon which simple means dude-you-gonna-get-a-pink-slip) is something we often hear nowadays. If you think such news was part of the recession era, wake up! Restructuring has to happen in every market. At times we only see the averages. While everything seems calm at the surface, there are companies who have to eat the bullet and downsize due to a plethora of reasons. The recent news being Nokia laying off around 7000 people.

This post is not about Nokia. Nor about any company or strategy in specific. This post is about what needs to be looked and talked upon when such things happen. Analyze the mistakes; so that it doesnt repeat. Try to find alternatives; so that even if it happens we can work around it.

Fortunately we had a great recession. It taught us how scary it is to even think about losing a job. We don’t want to let that happen again. So lets discuss this a bit more, but in the real sense.

If I would have dumped you

Lets take the same news upside down. If all of a sudden you hear that a thousand employees have resigned in a company recently. What will be your reactions? There is something wrong with this company? Its HR? As an investor we will pull the trigger selling stocks like sand on the bourses. A couple of thousand employees from a critical department can even kill the whole company if they resign all together! That’s more freaking.

But when it happens the other way round with a company firing employees, its a day to day news. (That’s freaks me more). Employee as an individual is the one who actions on the Strategy. Even if the Strategy is wrong he/she has to keep on doing wrong things with dedication, that is what he is supposed to do. Track progress in these wrong plans, keep improving, do more wrong. That is the reason they are paid. That is the way the system works.

This is not to say that an Employee can never provide improvements to the System. But improving the System vs changing the system is an altogether different story. You just cant do to the development head and say lets kill the Strategy it took months for you to develop. You get free speech to speak, but not the freedom to do.

Whoz mistake is it Mike!

So seems its not the monkeys jumping here and there who create the problem, its the one on the top who messes around. Don’t you think he should be the one to pay the price. As per me, there should always be another news attached to the layoff news stating what happened to the ones who showed the wrong path. I understand its not a one mans job always. This is not a movie flick where a single person is declared – the villain. But I even understand that when the troops of a kingdom fail, even the king has to pay the price. AsĀ  a leader we are supposed to take responsibility of whatever we do.

So how to save face

OK so we come down to saying “But this cant be controlled. Business my friend is the most dynamic thing”. Yes, I agree. If there would have been no Apple, no Android; Nokia’s party might have continued longer. But iPhone, Android and Rome my friend were never built in a day! We always know what is coming beforehand. We can plan for it. Plan both – Attack and Defense.

If you think your competition is going to suck your business start planning for it today. How can you re-strategize for the same. As an individula what do we do? Save money for secure future. Check alternatives we can use during crisis. This is easier said than done, but cant companies work in similar lines. Dont we think as Startups have an exit criteria even the biggies need to have an exit criteria for every big strategy that they decide upon.

This will not only save thousands of jobs, it will even save millions in cash and millions in goodwill for the company. Burning excess fat is good but not getting into that trouble is better. Being Lean is not just a startup philosophy. I guess the corporate elephant needs to learn better ways to dance. Even I was part of a restructuring ride with my employer. But no one was fired, and no customer was harmed. We are more leaner today, more aggressive and have created a better ecosystem.

Lets look beyond just repercussions, understand the cause to solve it beforehand.

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