5 Reasons Why Layoffs Are Not Sexy

Layoffs aren’t a growth strategy.

I know some leaders who get a kick out of the short-term financial boost they get after a round of layoffs, but I question how helpful layoffs actually are to a company that doesn’t really need to do them. The key word there is need.  (Full Disclosure:  I have laid off people myself)

I think of modern companies as a portfolio of people, not a portfolio of products, services, or assets.  Cutting out part of your people portfolio is similar to selling off assets to add cash reserves.  It may make sense in the short term, but selling assets isn’t an intelligent strategy to make money in the long term.

Layoffs aren’t sexy and should be reserved for desperate times.  It’s a desperate measure.

Here’s why:

  • Layoffs make everyone uncomfortable and cause the remaining people to start looking around
  • Talented people like to work for a growing company, not a shrinking one
  • Layoffs change a good company culture and breed lingering distrust
  • Layoffs highlight poor decisions by top leadership (over hiring or poor vision/planning)
  • The company permanently loses knowledge about it’s operations, it’s customers and itself

It might feel great to boost the stock price or add more cushion to the bottom line, but it isn’t a strategy to win.  Save it for the desperate times.

Successful leaders lead their people forward, not out of the building.

Do you agree?

Have a great night,


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The Hierarchy of Teamwork

Over the years I’ve had the honor of helping organizations make big changes in the way they do things during challenging times.  Turnaround projects are not for everyone, but I really love the challenge and the difference it can make.  I affectionately call them my “Extreme Makeover:  Healthcare Edition” projects.

For a speech I gave at the Midwestern Practice Management Symposium this fall, I had a reason to organize my thoughts on a simple plan to develop teamwork and change not only practices, but hearts as well.  Somehow this hierarchy developed into a simple acronym:  TRUCK

Here were my thoughts…

1) Kindness – It’s the beginning of any good relationship.  In a cold world, authentic kindness stands out and opens doors.  Even in a big organization, stories are shared.  “They don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.”

2) Connection – Once they “care how much you know”, you can begin using your interactions (even electronic ones) to build a relationship.  Kind, meaningful interactions are the bond that creates a connection.  This may actually mean that you try to meet every person in your organization or division.  It’s not easy (believe me), but if you want to lead, you must connect.  I think this is actually the most important and sometimes most difficult step.  It makes or breaks leaders and teams.

3) Understanding – Once you build a connection and communication channels are open,  an understanding of one’s motives and qualities grows.  This is where it gets to be a challenge for some.  The more they understand you, the more they have to find what they need in order for you to be successful.  This is why the right people need to be in the right place.  You don’t have to be perfect or act like you’re in a popularity contest, but your motives and values must be absolutely unshakeable and consistent.

4) Respect – If they understand your strengths and proper motivation, respect will develop at some level. 

5) Trust – Finally, trust comes when they respect you and believe that you’ll use your skills and abilities to support them in their work.  It is the difference between knowing someone can catch you and believing they actually will.

Once you have their trust, you can make big changes:  change hearts, change minds, change cultures.  You can move mountains. 

TRUCK may be just another silly acronym, but hopefully this concept of a hierarchy can help guide the process for building teamwork or how a Servant Leader can grow a strong organization and deliver results. 

Let me know what you think.  It’s a work in progress.