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« Nothing can be Bigger than My Well. | Main | "I Need More Resources" »

June 23, 2016


California Guy

The Dog ate my homework. The Church says so. The System did it.

Truth really can be stranger than fiction.

If the Company is blaming The System, then Andy is the lucky person here. No longer susceptible to the artificial intelligence of The System and those that create its programming and push the button within the Company. With newly discovered liberation, Andy can now transform from a human resource back to a Human Being.


Our company similar situation. President admit we screw up. Employees still not happy.

Made it through this round

in our department meeting VP told us that he and staff were not aware of termination criteria for recent layoffs until HR surprised them. During PR process they were given some instructions. Little that they knew that would be used to axe our good colleagues later.


I know what is meant by the article. My boss did not fight for me against HR but just delivered me the decision on..... Anyway, there are many folks like me who realized weak leadership will not be able to retain critical people and eventually face business consequence. Very sad, so I do not want to look back.


Brilliantly done.

JN- Ethics and Compliance

To Mr Ikeda
Nice of your President to admit he screwed up. Looks very bold and honest to admit mistakes at that level.

What are the consequences of screwing up many people's lives, their children's well being with poor decisions?

While lower level guys lose jobs over some issues, your executives still working there?

That is The System; The Culture. The decadent culture of lies, deceit and incompetence. No accountability at the upper level?

Next time you hear any executive open their mouth on the stage, run far from the saliva of lies spraying all over. or you might get infected.

Ethics and Compliance.


well said "The main point of this story is that the leader can't let The System drift where the core (Product, Technology or Service) of business falls at the mercy of people who do not have direct skin in the game."


Perfect! You have nailed it for sure.

I love it.. thanks for sharing!

Take care


Deep message through superb Humor.

Lonnie Hurst

I have had to fire and/or and close facilities for three companies I worked for and it resulted in around 1500 people losing their jobs. In 10%* of the cases the employee needed to go because of documented performance problems.. In another 20%* of cases they were let go because of the project died, the contracts ended, etc.. Another 5% were bad leaders Including four vice presidents who were above me in the org. The other 65% were let go because of poor management decision making. At the lat company I worked for we estimated that 70% of the employees voluntarily leaving jobs were because of bad managers and/or management styles that cause it to be an unhealthy work place.

The bottom line is three things related to the article above: 1) today, never get too comfortable; 2) many bosses are bad and will throw you under the bus to save their job; 3) leave with your head up because it might be a time for a change in your life.

* Numbers are approximations

Splinter Fan

Mike Splinter, a great general manager We worked for, used to say that --if instruction didn't make sense and even if it comes from Superiors, you must not blindly follow but speak up. Your primary obligation is to the company. That is Integrity.

Current managers, and they are plenty, are running around telling employees that they didn't want to do recent actions. Then why did they? Are they telling lies to both employees and also the company from which they take money to execute direction?

Or is this another Good Guy (me) Bad Guy (HR) pre staged scenario?

Recent trends are examples of how good companies go bad with the rise of Rogue managers.

Chris Se.

10 most terrifying words in The Corporate Kingdom

"I am from HR. I am here to Help You."

thought provoking reflection.


I can see what will come next in the story. The weasel Boss gets told that "the system" did it and now he is out on the street. Then, the HR comes to the Boss and says, "I am here to Help You". If the company culture allows such things to happen, what comes around will go around.

But, really. These days, can we expect loyalties from company as much as a company can expect loyalties from employees? Particularly in the Silicon Valley, many companies appear to be replacing many experienced workers with younger and more eager workers.

The "system" will soon gobble up both the Boss and the HR for the short-term profit.


I like the title and the opening of this play. I hope to read it in published form some day.

Once during a visit to see my grandparents in Florida, they took me to a stage performance by a local drama troupe. The play (which name I unfortunately cannot remember) was a simple 2-man show with no elaborate scenery, just a gripping dialogue. It portrayed two friends (imagine a Laurel and Hardy, or The Honeymooners, or Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz...fellow old-timers will be familiar at least?), of which one was the smart/dominant one, while the other was the weak/dependent one. Yet, as the show progressed, the weaker character begins to develop and mature until eventually he finds a new opportunity and musters his courage, deciding leave his relationship behind and strike out on his own. At that moment the tables are turned, and all of a sudden it becomes apparent that the dominant one is actually the one who was dependent on his "weaker" friend. When his friend leaves, he is emotionally shattered.
The story impressed me and has stuck with me, for whatever reason.

Years later, I read about the theory of the "Karpman drama triangle" in psychology, which explains the chronic unhappiness of relationships in terms of a role-playing analysis, in which there is a Victim, a Persecutor, and a Rescuer. Interestingly, none of these roles are happy or fulfilled, because the entire relationship scenario (the drama triangle) is itself destructive and all of the roles are self-serving. For me, this is the core of what was depicted in the show I saw in Florida.

I think it is an excellent depiction of how we all naturally and unconsciously seek to proliferate negative relationships and thus sow our own seeds of unhappiness. I can attest that I am not immune.

The good news is that there are various theories about how to break out of such a relationship structure, by a basic attitude change (you can read about the "Winner's triangle" or the "Power of TED").

So, when faced with a grave injustice that seems to be perpetrated by men who apparently will take no responsibility for the decisions being made (reminscent of the Nuremberg defense "I vas only following orders" (Befehl ist Befehl), we have a choice to accept the role of the victim and vilify the managers or leaders, or we can reject the Karpman triangle, and seek to move forward, rather than dwell on this inhumane treatment.

Large corporations tend to impose their cultural will on the managers, and accordingly on all employees, not only through salaries and bonuses, but through this psychological trick of apparent dependence. But employees can and should protect both their personal lives and their career skills, so that the dependency becomes a more organic kind of interdependence. Employees can and should stay empowered, so that one day, when you are shown the door unexpectedly, you can walk out with pride and watch the organization suffer their loss and regret their decisions. The ultimate revenge is living a happy and satisfied life. Persecutors will find that unbearable. They hate it when you refuse to play the victim. They can fall apart perfectly well on their own, without our cooperation.

As Sholem Aleichem famously wrote, "Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor."


A bad manager can take a good staff and destroy it, causing best employees to flee and the remainder to lose all motivation.

FR Fan

Even though there is pain and suffering for an employee, but I have seen smart people take this as a challenge and drive their career higher in other places.


Would u write this if you were not retired and still employed by a company?

From Moscow with love

Thanks for sharing these thoughts.
I was always puzzled how do we define what is ethical in business.
Since jack Welsh introduced his definition of main business goal as producing value for its shareholders, many things changed. The companies did not owe any loyalty to their employees , if this jeopardized the newly defined Ethics principle for a corporation. Andy,s Boss was absolutely ethical in dealing with Andy , because he acted as a guardian of company move to presumably create greater value for shareholders thru layoffs. I remember the multiple choice quiz test in my MBA course . Your coworker asked your advice whether she should take a mortgage for the new house. You happened to know her job is being eliminated soon. Would you tell this to her? The answer "yes" was the wrong choice.


To Curious
Yes I would but just for internal distribution for the following reason.
As I mentioned in the FR (I have never worked for someone a day in my life) a few weeks ago, I have considered any job as my own business and an opportunity to provide value to customers, investors and team members/eco system partners. So once I agree to work for some business, I have an obligation to follow certain expectations and guidelines. If I see an issue with a customer/client, my obligation professionalism is to make the person/entity aware of the issue and resolve it or help resolve it.

And even if the issue is not related to the clients/customers but because of my current assignment/association with them, extreme care should be taken in any external communication that can create wrong perception about the clients/customers.

This FR chapter is about some behaviors and practices that happens with people and work places.
Since I am retired and have no associations/obligations I have much wider scope and subjects to cover more thought provoking subjects. All are intended in good spirit for continuous improvement in personal and business practices.
Hope this satisfies your curiosity.



Each person approaches a story from the perspective of past and present experiences, just as you approached this past FR from your own set of experiences. That is the beauty of allowing people to publish their comments to your FRs, seeing the richness of the diverse responses. In addition to your original key points, your FR also touched many people's hearts and minds in many additional different ways.


Dear Moscow with Love
The story is not about layoffs but more about how it is handled and Hypocrisy behind some things. As I said in many FRs including one a few weeks ago, I have always believed that I am in business for myself and the companies who are my customers do not owe me anything in future except the what is in the terms of the current contract upon completion. I continuously need to deliver value and they too need to see/have further value in my services to keep me.

This article is about
1.Andy's supervisor who does not want to take responsibility. "I didn't do it. The system did. "
Eventhough he is taking pay from the company to execute the agenda he is not owning upto it. In the process he is dishonest with both an employee and the company. (even if there is a well designed strategy to make managers look like good guys and HR look like bad guys; with a belief that the remaining employees will not be angry at the managers.)

The second message is that companies need to be careful about making bold statements about: we care for people, emotional intelligence, trust and then when time gets bad, walk out long term loyal employees in an hour. No trust, no respect for loyalty despite 30 years of association?. Imagine how the rest of the employees will feel walking in to work everyday.
Putting up bold statements and values and not following them is dishonest and lack of Integrity.

We are in the times when there is continuous innovation in the technologies, products and services. We have created amazing breakthroughs in technologies. How about similar breakthrough innovations in human practices; including how to end business relationships with long term employees? There has to be better ways.

The third thing is letting control of your business operations go in the hands of support groups. Any good business manager must be aware of needs for resources and associated development needs, needs to know his/her business costs also must be very careful in spending company/client's money that has been entrusted to him/her and must fully understand customer expectations.

Then he/she needs to tell support groups what is needed from them for the success of business goals and hold them accountable for delivery, not allowing them to dictate their agenda. If business managers are asked to reduce their costs and people by ancillary groups, he/she does not know how to run the business.

And Finally : "I am from HR and here to help you (can be said about management and other group as well)"is hypocrisy too. Any one who wants to do well in ranks understands whose interests come first. Most of programs, systems, practices are in the context of meeting company goals not my personal goals. And that is understandable from business point of view. Only You and You are responsible for your well being and future. But many employees do not understand this and believe that company, management, HR will take care of them.

So in a nutshell, this FR is to provoke thought and create dialogue about some practices, about Integrity, Honesty, and Accountability, about following "do what I say and say what I do." It is not about layoffs or about any one company.

Hope this helps

From Moscow with love

Thank you very much for your thoughts. Your original story is very multifaceted
and deep, we can find something more related to us in the story, depending on a given moment in our life. , And this is on the top of your main message. Actually ithink it would not be a bad idea if you decide to share with the wider audience what you just took your time to explain for me,

Ex Rable Rouser

My perspective on this has a different twist. Any layoff is a reflection of bad management, most probably the top management. A well run enterprise would have spotted the problems/issues and made neccessary business adjustments along the way to avoid layoff, let alone major layoff.

Once layoff is unavoidable, we should never expected the management to admit they have screwed up and it led to the layoff. If they do, the management would be "laidoff". It is just "natural" and convenient for the management to pass the buck and claim "HR or Finance make me do it". They just want to save their skin and necks. Basic survival instinct! Unfortunately, the management is the "power" and nothing much the peons can do about it. There are a lot of bad management in this cruel world.


Based on the comments I think this was one of the more significant FR stories as it challenges all our thinking around managing our career. Thanks Anand!

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