Pamela Slim’s Open Letter to CEOs

12 May

I recently came across Pamela Slim's thoughtful blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation. The name says it all.

Most of the material was as i expected it to be, good commonsensical advice about becoming an entre/inta-preneur, getting more control of your life, and becalming your life at work & otherwise. Everything a would-be, could-be entrepreneur needs.

And then a couple of days ago, BAM! This post hit me between my eyes. It's witty, funny, hard-hitting & expresses exactly what i (and i'm sure oh-so-many of you) have thought of writing so many times. My favorite parts below (italics mine to emphasize the parts i absolutely loved):

2. Stop running your company like the mafia.  By now, we are all aware that no job in any industry is secure.  They can be re-scoped, eliminated or outsourced at any time.  And that is the way it should be – no organization can be static in today's environment.  But despite this common knowledge, many of your managers act betrayed when their employees tell them they want to leave the company.  This is an absolute double standard and should be stopped immediately.  If you help your employees grow and develop in their career even if they plan to leave the company, you will create an extremely loyal workforce.

3. Spend a moment walking around the halls of your company and look at your employees.  I mean really look at them.  Don't just pat them on the back and pump their hand while looking over their head at the exit door. Look directly in their eyes.  Imagine what their life is like.  Who is waiting at home for them?  What are the real consequences to their health, marriages and children when they have to work yet another 13 hour day?  What kind of dreams do they have?  What makes them really happy?  What do their eyes tell you?  Do they trust you?  Resent you?  Think you are full of it? I met precious few C-level executives in 10 years consulting that truly "saw" and cared about their employees.  Those that did reaped gigantic mounds of good will and respect.

8. Focus on the work people do, not how or when they do it.  Some positions require people to be at their desk at an appointed hour to answer customer calls or to participate in live meetings.  But others can do their work from home, early in the morning, late in the evening or dialing in from the local Starbucks.  The turnover magnet you have for losing great employees is not the competitor down the street, it is the idea of freedom and flexibility for the self-employed.  Your employees have different biorhythms and working styles and activities going on in their lives.  If you provide flexible work options and don't make people sit unnecessarily at their desk, you will keep some great employees who would otherwise leave.  A manager who is afraid to offer telecommuting to her employees because she thinks they will slack off is just showing her own weakness. Great managers build accountability into flexible work plans and manage performance aggressively.

9. Watch the burnout.  Many companies measure an employee's drive and dedication by the amount of hours they work each day.  I have witnessed people playing video games at their desk until their manager leaves "just so they won't think that I am slacker."  Huh?  It is not a badge of honor to work 18 hours a day, it is a sure path to a heart attack or divorce.  There are times when employees have to work around the clock to get critical projects done and that is part of doing business.  But if they are working long hours just because "everyone does," you are creating a culture of waste, inefficiency and ill health.

Do read the full piece here.

And then go & read her Open letter to employees across the corporate world, where she gives & elaborates on advice to "trapped" employees in organisations across the world:

1. Don't pretend your job is secure.
2. Make a long-term life plan.
3. Pay attention to who you go to lunch with.
4. Always have a Plan B, C and D.
5. Don't think of your job as a paycheck, think of it as a learning opportunity.
6. Take responsibility for yourself.

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Posted by on May 12, 2006 in Biz/Tech, Career, Links


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