Monday, January 26, 2009

Lay-off''s : Holding a CEO's feet to the fire

When watching any of the recent business reports, its clear to see the failings of many companies in today's economy. During periods of economic strength, corporate leaders are heralded as "champions of success", "forward thinking", and "leaders in business." They are celebrated for their prowess in the business world, leading a company to financial riches. As the company succeeds, these leaders are rewarded handsomely (and in most cases, deservedly so).
But, are these CEO's held to the same standard when their businesses fail? Are they held accountable when the company can't weather the economic storm? Do they have to shed a portion of their salary as the company loses revenue. No

Stockholm Syndrome, have we identified with them too much?

For too long shareholders, customers, and the average joe, have allowed the corporate titans to point the same finger they use to take credit for success, to lay the blame someplace else. Too often we accept terms such as "poor economic conditions", "rising supplier costs," etc., as their "out" for failing to protect their assests, including their greatest corporate assets -- the employees who earn wages and then stimulate the economy.

So how do we change the game? I am hoping that this becomes a forum for smart discussion and holding corporate "titans" accountable.

Here's one suggestion that was recently shared with me by a good buddy, who is incidentally a career economist.

Change the Game Rules...

Raise your expectations. If the CEO of Caterpillar, Home Depot, Dutch based ING, or Texas Instruments, lays-off employees, then as customers of those company's we should be demanding a corresponding decrease in the CEO's salary's. Why roll over and accept that a CEO or Corporate leader gets a major bonus while employees are laid off? We shouldn't ....but we have allowed ourselves to believe that's just the way it is. So take it a step further. If you don't see a CEO sharing some of the pain, then go to the competitor. Wouldn't it be great to let Home Depot's CEO know that you aren't impressed with his leadership or lack of will to share in the pain and that you will be taking the business to Lowes? If you are reading this blog - then you have time to visit a corporations website as a customer and ask the very uncomfortable question. "I see that your company recently had layoffs of ____ number of staff, can you tell me what percentage of the executives salary has been decreased? Let them know that a failure to respond means the loss of your dollars.

Yes, I may appear somewhat naive but lets face it, grass root campaigns have lead to many improvements in American society.

Please share your ideas and frustrations with me (in a respectful manner) and I will be happy to post them. It's time we stop weathering the storm and instead become the storm.

Remember this is a forum for educated discussion and responsible "venting" of frustrations. Please contribute accordingly!

If you know of a company laying-off, then please share the information with me. Include the company name, their URL, and the CEO's name. Please also provide citation (e.g., seen on CNN,,, etc)so we can verify it.


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