Mistake #14: Bet the farm!

I had a phone call last week from one of my colleagues from a (bad, screwed up, archaic, and dysfunctional) company where I previously (with an almost mental breakdown) worked. It was the third call this month that someone else was let go.  Why? Because the management is betting the farm.  Yup!  The management is putting the entire company on the line for the whole enchilada. 

Now, you and I know what the odds are in terms of competition, changes in economy, shifts in industry, and sometimes it is actually needed to start making company layoffs.

Dow Chemical just announced that it is cutting 1,000 jobs as a result of “financial underperformance.”  Even NBC News is getting the jitters with rumors that there may be a slew of people losing their jobs before the year is out (which is within weeks!).

Cutbacks are (and should be considered by companies – large and small) a result of an entire, comprehensive business plan, or change in a business model. But, not out gambling on other employees lives in order to save themselves (the VPs and CEOs) at the risk of losing the entire company, and at the risk of betting the farm.


Then, there is another kind of company betting, which is reaching out to be completely innovative in the market. Smaller companies can do this in order to move quickly (and quicker) in the marketplace.  One example is taking place in Portland, Maine, where two lobstermen (brothers) are creating a co-op for customers to buy the rights to everything caught in one trap at one annual price, very similar to farming co-ops where customers purchase a farm’s harvest up front – even before the growing season has ended or the produce is harvested.


I’d rather bet the farm on the lobstermen in Maine… That is definitely innovative!  What is your experience with the companies you have, or currently, work for on conducting layoffs?



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