Layoffs Are Like Liposuction


As a company when you traditional companies think about removing waste and “weight” they will commonly use layoffs or a reduction in force as a common tool. But that doesn’t address the root cause that gave rise to the need to shed employees. Here are some of the more common reasons that are given for layoffs:

-Lack of work aka lack of demand
-Down turn in the market
-Changing cost structure to stay competitive

To be honest unless there is a sever downturn in a market the real underlying cause is usually poorly run company. I like to equate layoffs to liposuction. You have a lot of fat but instead of fixing diet and exercise (removing waste from operations and adding more value) you get liposuction (layoffs) and the root cause that caused you to get so big in the first place isn’t addressed. Not to mention there might be long term effects of liposuction that can’t be seen yet but the long term effects of layoffs are a little better studied. Layoffs can lead to :

-the organization moves towards less risk-taking and innovation
-destructive conflict tends to increase
-internal competition for resources increases
-individual staff members devote less effort to working together and more attention to doing things that will protect themselves.
-general listlessness and lethargy
-decreases service levels and increased public hostility

Focus on the root cause problems and learn to see waste and value. Next time you are on your work floor look for things that are wasteful and how you can change them. Little change now can make a big difference down the road. How do you see waste?

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