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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Let slip the dogs of war

Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war; That this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial.

Layoffs are like U-Boats. You know they are out there but they are often a surprise regardless.

Execs find reasons to be absent and they leave their line managers and HR to do the dirty work. Then they come back the day after bleating "It was the right thing to do."

The old saying, old men make war and young men fight them is no where truer than when layoffs are in the offing.

I can remember walking into one company as the brand new HR director. At the Friday all hands there were at least a dozen people who knew my reputation and this coupled with a casual remark about my work history made it necessary for me to meet with all twelve, one after the other, to set things right.

9 years later I walked into another company all hands and was introduced as the brand new HR VP. When asked to make a comment I raised up the soft drink I held in my hand and said "Glad to be here," and let it go at that. I had learned my lesson well.

As far as all hands are concerned, and big meetings for that matter, the less said the better. And if you can get away with saying nothing, then that is even better still.

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