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Monday, December 15, 2008

So who exactly is minding the store?

Yes, it is disconcerting to see the number of resumes now floating around our industry. I seem to get a new crop every week. My heart goes out to those of you who are affected by recent layoffs.

What troubles me even more than seeing really really good people and friends lose their jobs after 20+ years is seeing really really green people left behind (and I'm not talking about eco-friendly...). Or worse, really really mediocre people.....

Recently one of my friends had told our networking group that one of the Big x Consulting firms (does anyone know how many there are now, as we used to say Big 5, then Big 3...) was in her company on a major process analysis project and that they expected layoffs just before Christmas. What perfect timing. What are these people thinking?

This used to be called down-sizing, then right-sizing. Now it seems to have deteriorated into "let's get rid of anyone that knows their stuff and gets paid a lot of money".

I understand the politically correct term is now "made redundant". I'm wondering what it is about expertise and experience that is redundant?

Although I know companies aren't laying off because they want to, it will eventually begin to hurt and even to debilitate.

The first round cuts into the fat, the ones that weren't performing anyway. The second round begins to hit the muscle, leaving the organization limping along in many cases. I am always amazed when organizations begin cutting their sales and distribution staff. Where do they believe new revenues will come from to help them recover from this difficult time and how will they know that they are making the right changes in their distribution?

I believe that where we are now is the "cutting into the bone" time, when the workhorses that have kept the organization together in good and bad times have now been let go. This can be crippling.

What will the industry look like when all the seasoned professionals have been laid off? Who exactly will get the work done after the executive teams lay out the strategy?

As you are looking at your strategy for "downsizing or rightsizing", remember that the 20-somethings don't have the same work ethic as some of us older players. At 5:01pm, look around.... And that business plan that you put together for 2009? How will you accomplish everything now?

Perhaps what we will see out of this is that companies will actually learn operate more leanly and with more entrepreneurial spirit, only using high level, experienced resources when they are needed versus paying payroll for certain functions 365 days a year. We will see.

The only consolation is that as a consultant, business should grow as a result.

I'm gathering as many of the resumes for the really talented ones and putting together a real "A Team" so that we can be ready.

And remember, as a friend of mine reminded me this week "Good people are worth more in bad times." So take heart. Better times are ahead.
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