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View Diary: Corporate Life In The Rearview Mirror: Mergers & Hackquisitions (57 comments)

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  •  Oh, that dreadful little book! (5+ / 0-)

    One of my colleagues at DysCo recommended it to me as some sort of panacea for all the change-related crap going on in the company. My view was that if I was that easily redirected in my mental efforts, I should have been fired on the spot for incompetence.

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:28:41 AM PDT

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    •  perspective makes a difference (4+ / 0-)

      If one chooses to read the Cheese book voluntarily, without duress, it's possible to see it as a variation on the theme: if life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

      So it appeals to managers who only perceive that aspect of it. When those managers urge "subordinates" — with all the context and baggage of the asymmetric relationship that goes with the word "subordinate" — those readers tend to perceive the subtext instead: Shut up, little mouse. Follow orders. Don't ask questions. Or someone bigger will squash you.

      It backfires especially badly when the mice, er, staff are in knowledge professions in which they're being paid to think. Telling them to stop thinking about something just doesn't work.

      I was a low level manager when I was "urged" to read it. I could see how it would appeal to some managers. I could also feel how disturbing it was to be put in the position of a mouse who is not supposed to object to the capricious whims and implicit threats behind movable cheese.

      In the real world its effects seem to make it — generally, as you said — a dreadful little book.

      Most models are wrong, but some are useful.

      by etbnc on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:16:48 AM PDT

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      •  The whole issue of "embracing change" (10+ / 0-)

        wears thin pretty thin. It's as though there was a period of time during which complaints would be tolerated, then everyone had to "get with the program".

        My idiot boss (who himself is now no longer with the company - finally) felt that all the company's challenges seemed to stem from "negative attitude" on our part as employees. I asked him one day: "So... if you could get rid of everyone with a negative attitude and replace them with someone with a positive attitude, things would get better?"

        "Absolutely!", he said.

        "Even if these new people have no relationships with our customers, don't have any institutional knowledge of our projects, and will take months or years to ramp up to full efficiency?"

        "Absolutely!", he said.

        I didn't bother pointing out that nearly all of us had GOOD attitudes when hired, and that the negative attitude was the result of things the company was doing. The next batch of happy people would soon be demoralized once they looked around for a while. Oh, well.

        Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

        by cassandracarolina on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:34:22 AM PDT

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      •  we cant be squashed (4+ / 0-)

        we are the workers after all. Managers don´t work. If a company makes profit, we make it. If they squash us then the company is dead. OK, let them come squash me. I´m in corporate R&D. So now I´m squashed and fired, what then, will the manager sit there and do the R&D work? Dont think so. They dont have the brains for that - if they had brains they´d be unsuited for their job.

        thats why unionization is a must. A single worker is easy removed and replaced. The Workforce is not - it rules. If it organizes.

        •  Years ago, my dad worked as a design engineer (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Youffraita, Vatexia, radarlady

          and was one of the first people laid off when his company (now manufacturing his invention) wanted to cut costs. They were making electronic components for the early days of the space program.

          When one of the components was made a little too large to fit into the housing manufactured by another contractor, the morons at my dad's company came up with a plan to squash their component in a vise to get them to fit.

          As my dad used to say: "never time to do it right; always time to do it over."

          Knowledge workers are vital to corporate success, but quickly thrown under the bus.

          Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

          by cassandracarolina on Wed May 15, 2013 at 12:11:41 PM PDT

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          •  most galling (7+ / 0-)

            is the incompetence of the managers on display. my life in the corporate world has been a learning experience - and thats one of the basic lessons I learnt: a competent manager is a rare breed indeed. Worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, most of them are incompetent. Their salaries I dont mind, but the damage they do is boundless.

            this is still not ceasing to astonish me. All the public idiotologues are yammering about how capitalism is meritocratic yet if you look inside a random large actual company you find its higher ranks filled with mediocrity at best and glaring incompetence at likeliest.

            It wont astonish you if I tell you that I have seen two large international mergers in my company :)

            •  It's incompetence by design, unfortunately (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marsanges, llywrch, radarlady

              If managers are consumed with only one thought - their bonus - they will conduct themselves with single-minded focus, doing what's necessary to get the money. They won't do anything extra.

              At my former firm, they hired many of the middle managers from "outside". Thus, they had no love for/allegiance to our employees, and weren't bothered at having to lay them off.

              Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

              by cassandracarolina on Wed May 15, 2013 at 01:10:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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