#405  from Innovative Leader Volume 8, Number 5          May 1999

FORUM—from our readers

Our Vision?

My company has a vision that’s detailed in the annual report, is shown on a plaque hanging in the building lobby, and was distributed as a colorful flyer to each employee. 

Included in that vision, is the statement, “We will treat our customers as we treat each other.”  It’s a nice touch, thinking of customers as friends and colleagues.  It’s also a wonderful way to think of our coworkers--as friends.

Doesn’t it seem, then, that our company should be a wonderful place to work?  The vision hints at a very collegial environment.  Ha!

Twenty percent of our employees were just let go, with very little notice.  This was an unexpected blow.  We can all understand that the company isn’t a charity and should not provide any kind of tenure, but it seems that there could be a more civil way to cut costs; or if people were to be let go, they should be given decent warning.  Even the rationale for cutting certain people hasn’t been explained, at least to most of the surviving employees.

Fortunately I wasn’t fired.  But even we survivors feel the loss of our coworkers.  Before the axing, my department was a pretty chatty environment.  Now, we mostly keep to ourselves as we mull over our “luck” and the people whose company we now miss. 

We also worry about the next axing, if there is one.  Which of us will be spared?  I have a feeling that we’re not as collegial as we once were.  Perhaps, that’s a result of now caring more for our own skins over our colleagues’.  As individuals, rather than groups, we’ve got to look good to survive any future downsizing.  Our team-working abilities have greatly decreased.

What got me to write this Forum was that today I read in the Wall Street Journal that our CEO was to receive an 85% salary increase!  How do you think that makes us feel?  How do you think it makes the ex-employees feel?

Should we really be treating “our customers as we treat each other?”  The company vision is a joke.  Remember those flyers with the vision?  I’ve seen a number of them anonymously pasted on the walls and marked up with some pretty smart-alecky comments. 

I wonder if we’ll soon be getting a new vision statement.  Perhaps it can go, “Whatever is good for the CEO is good.”  Meanwhile, I can’t imagine that we’ll ever again take a vision statement seriously.  We also will never be in synch with the CEO’s desires. We’re mostly thinking of our necks, not of new ways of doing things. That’s no climate for innovation.  And I can’t imagine that any consulting firm will be able to get the company to enjoy that innovative spirit again.  What a shame!


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©2006 Winston J. Brill & Associates. All rights reserved.