Kawasaki's Layoff Ideas Seem Very Stalinist

Last Updated Nov 20, 2008 6:21 PM EST

My blog colleague Jessica Stilman has a good item on how to shove people out the door. She quotes businessman Guy Kawasaki on what to do and what not to.

But as someone who has been on both sides of the layoff equation, I have a few reactions:

  1. Cut deep and cut once. The logic seems to b e that if you let things go on, fear prevails and everyone just suffers more. True enough, but I wouldn't cut excessively on the theory that it's better to hire people back. That assumes, of course, after being unceremoniously let go, they'll be willing to work with you again.
  2. Move fast. Sure and what happens is that you end up in the Human Resource Department trap of cruelly shoving people out the door before they really understand what is happening. Why don't you just bring in security, throw them on the desk, cuff them and dog trot them away?
  3. Whack Teddy. "Make sure that Teddy's dead." Teddy is, of course, a friend of the CEO. Gee, that sounds downright Stalinist to me. It seems so creepy to betray a personal tie just to gain favor with people being screwed over. What's next? Airbrushing corporate photos of employees who have been liquidated?
  4. Don't ask for pity. "The person who suffers is the one being terminated, not the manager." A generally sick comment here. Let's not show any humanity or compassion. Let's not acknowledge that the boss man or woman might have just a little something to do with the mistakes that might have lead to the layoffs.
  5. Provide support. "Usually, the people getting laid off aren't at fault. More likely, it was the fault of top management--the same top management with golden parachutes." Like, Duh! But all that little help with writing the resumes and making contacts often never takes place because of Reasons (1), (2), (3), and (4). At least not in my experience.
The real and pathetic game of any company is to protect management (at least the one who does YOUR performance appraisal next level up) and protect the company from lawsuits. And that is why many corporations garner ZERO loyalty from their employees and certainly don't deserve it.

"Famed blogger and venture capitalist" Kawaskai strikes me as a dangerous man that I hope I never have to deal with.