It's not always the economy, stupid!

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It's too easy for executives to hide behind "the economy," when it was their bad decisions and poor planning that left their organizations vulnerable in the first place. Layoffs and downsizing are too often the result when poor leaders try to hide the cost of their mis-management in a reduced payroll. Leadership expert Jim Clemmer provides some alternatives to the "slash and burn" approach that will balance the books and save jobs at the the same time.

Wise Managers Treat Layoffs as a Last Resort

With oil prices soaring and consumer confidence collapsing around North America, many managers and executives now have the perfect cover for their bad decisions and poor planning.

With their backs against the wall (and bonuses to protect) many executives, when faced with the task of re-examining the organizational processes that made them vulnerable as the economy slowed, choose to layoff workers and hide the cost of poor decisions by reducing the payroll. These organizations view employees as "human resources" to be acquired and disposed of like assets on a balance sheet.

In his article, "Wise Managers Treat Layoffs as a Last Resort," leadership expert Jim Clemmer, writes "mass layoffs are always a very last, desperate step for organizations with strong leaders who truly care about people."

Referencing sources like the America Management Association and The Wall Street Journal, Clemmer makes a case that effective leaders at high-performing organizations find ways to work with employees when the financial heat is on.

According to Clemmer, organizations have many other options to reduce costs before layoffs such as:

Redeploying people to revenue-building positions
Offering early retirement or voluntary separation packages
Identifying and removing underperforming supervisors and managers, especially those with weak people leadership skills
Work sharing
Not replacing people who leave on their own or retire
Redeploying or lending staff to clients or external partners
Shared ownership or equity in exchange for salary reductions
Involving people in identifying unnecessary costs, waste, and errors that could be reduced or eliminated

If this sounds like a lot of hard, agonizing work, it is. Managing can be tough, but leadership takes real courage. In the words of Eddie Rickenbacker, American WW1 "Ace of Aces" and President of Eastern Airlines - "Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared." Organizations can pay the price now or face a much bleaker reality in the future.

About The CLEMMER Group
For over 25 years, Jim Clemmer's practical leadership approaches have been inspiring action and achieving results. His six best-selling books have helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Jim is a popular columnist and a regular guest on radio and television programs. Jim's latest book is Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communications @ Work.

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Aidan Crawford
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