最後通牒:朋友或是對手?

By: John D. Beckett

這件事情意外的發展讓甘特很驚訝,他毫無招架能力。畢竟MASTECH的董事會請他當公司的執行長,是為要帶領這間公司繼續往前發展。他知道自己被選上不只是因為他在工作方面的能力被認可,而且也是因為他是一個會真心關懷別人的領導人。事實上,甘特一直以來都認為對員工的承諾是成為一個偉大領導者的條件之一。

現在董事會告對他說:「甘特,你的個性太溫和了,你太關心員工以至於做不出強硬的決定。除非你開始大刀闊斧,降低人事成本,否則高額的人事成本就會反撲你,公司也無法繼續發展。」

這個命令刺入甘特的心,因為這跟他的本性以及公司長期以來雇用員工的原則完全相反。

許多年來,他一直很努力要建立一個成功和有生產力的團隊。但從董事會來的指令,告訴他要盡一切可能提高公司利潤。他如果能降低人事成本,他就能繼續當執行長。但是他能一邊裁員一邊維持和團隊的關係嗎?

問題討論

  1. 當董事會對甘特下達裁員的最後通牒,而甘特真的必須要大刀闊斧的裁員,你覺得員工仍然會覺得甘特是一個好老闆嗎?
  2. 你認為甘特有辦法一邊降低人事成本,仍然一邊維持著他對員工的關懷嗎?
  3. 你認為甘特要如何向董事會表達,即使短期會影響到利潤,對員工的關心和承諾也是很重要的?
  4. 你覺得甘特會因此辭職嗎?從文章中哪裡可以看出來?

貝克特是美國俄亥俄州伊利里亞鎮貝克特企業的總裁。該公 司是世界上最大的暖氣油爐製造商(含商用及住宅用)。於2003年當選安永會計師事務所(EY)”年度企業家”。他的著作「愛上星期一Loveing Mondy」已經翻譯成19國的語言。

最佳練習

偉大領導者最常見的特徵就是-建立一個有生產力、結果導向的團隊。對他們而言,財務上的表現幫助他們認清事實、做決定和調整方向,就像一個好朋友,讓領導者使整個團隊的表現更完美。

但是他們不會純粹用利潤和損失來當作唯一衡量工具,而忽視人的價值。如果因為財務上的表現,裁員是必要和無可避免的,好的領導人會用同理心來對待那些受到影響的員工。

進深思想

執行長們不能獨自做決定,他們要善盡管理的責任,對董事會和股東們負責,也需要照顧員工的需要和健康。「因為我在人的權下,也有兵在我以下;對這個說『去!』他就去;對那個說『來!』他就來;對我的僕人說『你做這事!』他就去做。」(馬太福音8章9節)

很多 時候,在以公司為最大利益前提下,要做出決策,經常是很困難的。因為公司的決定不僅會影響員工真實的需要和對員工的關心,以及對他們的責任感,連執行的方式也會影響到員工。「一切苦毒、惱恨、忿怒、嚷鬧、毀謗,並一切的惡毒( – 或譯:陰毒),都當從你們中間除掉;」(以弗所書 4章32節)


THE BOTTOM LINE: FRIEND OR FOE?

By John D. Beckett

Gunter was reeling. The unexpected turn of events had caught him totally off-guard. After all, the board of Mastech had brought him in as CEO to move the company forward. He knew he had been selected not only because of his proven business skills, but also his genuine care for people. In fact, Gunter had always regarded his commitment to his employees as one of his greatest strengths as a leader.

Now the board of directors was adamant: “You are just being soft, Gunter. You care about people so much that you are not making the tough decisions. You will never improve the bottom line of this company unless you start swinging the axe – making personnel cuts to reduce costs. Get to it, or…um…the axe may be falling on you!”

This directive hit Gunter right in the gut. It went directly against his instincts, as well as the strategy he had been employing to strengthen the company over the long term.

© 2016. John D. Beckett is chairman of R. W. Beckett Corporation in Elyria, Ohio, U.S.A., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential and commercial heating systems.

For a year he had been striving to build a winning, productive team. Now this was his mandate from his board: Do whatever it takes to boost profits! If Gunter did not cut the workforce, his days with Mastech were certainly numbered. But could he continue to build morale among his staff, while slashing personnel at the same time?

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

  1. With the ultimatum he had been given, do you think the employees would be better off with Gunter remaining as their boss, even if he agreed to “swing the axe,” as he was being directed?
  2. Do you think Gunter could reduce the workforce in ways that were consistent with his level of care and concern for his people?
  3. What might Gunter do to help his board understand why his level of care and commitment to the staff is important, even if it adversely affects profits, at least for the short term?
  4. At what point do you think Gunter would have to conclude that he could no longer work for the company? What would be some implications of his leaving?

BEST PRACTICES

One of the common hallmarks of great leaders is that they build productive, results-oriented teams. For them, financial performance helps define reality, helping to shape decisions and direction. It serves as a friend, enabling leaders to optimize team performance.

But they never use the bottom line – pure profits and losses – as a blunt instrument, ignoring the value of people. If financial results make staff reductions necessary and unavoidable, good leaders act creatively, always demonstrating a compassionate approach in dealing with those who would be most affected.

FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION

CEOs cannot make decisions in isolation or autonomously. They are responsible to boards of directors and shareholders and have a stewardship responsibility for the needs and well-being of their employees. “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, “Go,” and he goes; and to another, “Come,” and he comes” (Matthew 8:9).

Often business decisions are difficult, even when they can be justified by the best interests of the parent organization. Real people – with real needs, concerns and responsibilities – are greatly affected not only by corporate business decisions, but also the manner in which those decisions are implemented. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

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