Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bosses are bastards - discuss

Some companies, eh?

I know a couple of people at Cable & Wireless who were on the receiving end of UK chief John Pluthero's recent missive about not only dropping half the workforce - but getting rid of 90% of the customer base.

Now these guys weren't surprised by the message - C&W has gone through more restructures than Joan Rivers' face, but what they did bridle at was Pluthero's tone.

Instead of looking to take his workforce with him, he seems to have come across as nothing more than a big arrogant bully. Rather than leading C&W through change, he appears to be old-style bossing it. The likely result? The best people will leave, customers will be less willing to do business - and two years down the line we'll have another Chief Executive addressing the analysts at wherever the Head Office has moved to by then.

Leading through autocracy simply doesn't work these days. No-one believes in a job for life and those who can see Pluthero for the dinosaur he is, will look for an environment where they can work without fear. Only those who either love sucking up to the big man or who have nothing to offer another employer will actively look to stay.

And what does the 'big dick' messaging say to customers? From the 90% to be dropped, there will, no doubt be many that are growing and could become part of the 10%. But will they want to do business with C&W if their lines suddenly go dead?

As for the coveted 3,000, will they be prepared to work with a business that really seems to put so little stock in people? Pluthero is naive to believe that those customers will be loyal and engaged when he clearly hasn't a clue what loyalty means.

Funnily enough, C&W's share price has fallen again this morning.

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