Friday, August 05, 2005

Leadership --> Commitment (Personal & Professional)

One of the purposes I started Blogging was to use an additional form of media to get the word out on the current state of education and the demise of American Management led by a number of Executives and CEOs and so-called Managers (team, project, process, etc.).

Commitment is the word that comes to mind. It’s a great word because the more you put into it the more you get in return. Isn’t that what most people want to believe that hard work pays off even if the people around them are less committed.

Personal Commitment

I don’t believe in being less committed, you either are or you are not. No middle ground. It’s easy to spot a person(s) that is not as committed as others, the sad part is they think you believe their BS on how much they are committed. The ultimate worst is when they ride the coattail of others and pretend (fly around with their head in the sky) to know what they are doing. When that happens it's called the

BLUE SKY SYNDROME (flying rats)!!!

The Detroit Piston’s Basketball Team is the most recent example of being committed. It requires change to be committed, it requires guts to be committed, it requires pain to be committed and most of all it takes giving up individual goals for the sake of the whole to be committed. I once had a team like that about 10 years ago, others have come close but there is usually one who is a pretender.

I don’t have answers for all of the educational system problems, but I do have questions that challenge conventional thinking. Minds greater than mine should take all forms of input and come up solutions that are best for all.

How can commitment be measured? I believe that is a self-measurement that is tracked by the amount blood, sweat, risk and time you are willing to put into a project.

Professional Commitment - NOT

Received a call from a good friend yesterday telling me that he survived the latest round of Downsizing. Unfortunately there will be two more by year-end. Downsizing in its current form has been around since the mid 1980s. Since 1986 I have been involved in Downsizing every year except 1997. I lost count after I survived my 28th encounter some time in 2003. I don’t care what anyone says each one takes something out of you when it comes to your personal and business life.

A few years back I sat in a meeting where the VP opened the meeting by telling a conference room of Director and Divisional Leaders that 50% of us would not be here next year. I don’t know about the others but I didn’t remember one other thing from that meeting, I can’t even remember the topic of my presentation that came later in the day.

Soon to be No More

I did get upset at one point during the day when the topic kept drifting back to firing people (that’s what it is, forget the fancy words, the result of poor management). I basically asked the VP when our company, which once was a “global” leader, other companies sent their managers to learn from us would again rise and be bold. Challenge the rest of Corporate America by finding ways to stop the mass bleeding that has been going on for years. Market this strategy as a company that cares about its people and the communities they live in. Basically I was told that the executive team has been doing this and has not come up with any profitable ideas. I snapped back and said when the Hell are they going to ask us for ideas. In matter of minutes there must have been at least ten suggestions that should be tried prior to letting people go, for example:

  1. Slash overtime for rank and file (mgt lost overtime many years ago)
  2. Conduct a study as to how many employees would be willing to take an early buy-out/retirement
  3. Shorter work week (37.5 hours)
  4. Encourage more part-time work or job sharing
  5. Entice all employees to sell our products and services
  6. Sell off unneeded real estate
  7. Quit canceling training by mid-April of each and provide education in skills where company is lacking
  8. Quit using contractors when we have talent right under our nose and don’t know it
  9. Beef up and do more sales and marketing in areas where we don’t have much market share
  10. qg's Favorite, get rid of outside Consultants that keep charging us an arm and a leg to tell us what we already know

    You see Mr. and Mrs. Executive, each time you do a downsizing your employees lose moral, the company loses productivity (that means $$$$, I know you understand that), employees no longer speak well of the company and will tell anyone who is willing to listen, even those who are not.

    I know the only thing I have left is “Pride of Workmanship.” I have committed myself to never let anything or anybody take that away.

Do not let people in your life (especially work) use fear, responsibility, so-called gratitude and blame to control you.


J Man said...

qualityg, you forgot one on your list:

Cut out (or at least reduce) bonuses.

It boggles my mind how a company that tells you that they have tried “everything” to reduce cost and are now forced to fire people (and that’s what it is) can then turnaround and hand out bonuses to those that are left. Maybe I’m in the minority when I say that I would give up my yearly bonus if it means that jobs will be saved.

As for some of the changes that you mentioned (i.e. training), they will never be put in place because that would require forward thinking leaders who could see past the next quarter’s numbers when making business decisions.

qualityg says said...


Great add!
I also agree about bonuses. However, like I stated in the text it will take a "personal" commitment for that to happen. Many will say yes, but they really mean NO.

Anonymous said...

You are correct about the demise of American Management, everyone is out for number one, even at the expense of co-workers and friends.

Managers today will not accept help or admit they don't have the answer, they either run and hide or shift the focus to someone else. Unfortunately, the shift in focus is to hide their own inadequacy.

B. Edwards

J-Man said...

QualityG - I'll take one man who shows me that he is committed over twenty men who say they are. Commitment can never be measured by words.

Anonymous said...

Your ten ideas are creative and thoughtprovoking. We could use some of your financial ideas in the public school sector. We keep soliciting for more students and cutting more teachers. In the end, who benefits?

Anonymous said...

I agree with ANON. Unfortunately the children are the real losers.

QG - Do you share your thoughts with school officials?

We need a voice like yours in Lansing.


qualityg says said...

Jeremy & Anon,

Thanks for commenting, I have sent some of my posts and limks to folks in Lansing.

The message and the questions I raise do get some attention, but once they find out who I am (a nobody), they blow me off like they would any other citizen.

Unfortunate for them I'm not going away.


qualityg says said...


I recently had the great pleasure to have just work with that kind of person.