Robert Cacace is founder of RobertC Consulting. They provide strategic direction to companies struggling with the intricacies of merging business goals with technology solutions. Services include strategic planning, project management, interim technology leadership, system implementation, technology and business process auditing.
They aim to guide enterprises struggling with the need for advanced leadership on a short-term basis. Its principal has served as CIO of a national non-profit organization, and several major publishing and media companies. More information about Robert’s background can be found at http://www.robertcacace.com.
Times are tough, times are almost always tough for someone. You may be inclined to read the news and think that there is a limitless talent pool available to staff your enterprise, each potential employee just waiting for you to call them into service. How hard can it be to find talent, when unemployment rates are high? If an employee terminates, they can be rapidly replaced with a newer, cheaper model. You can do this as many times as you like, and never lose a moment’s sleep.
Welcome to dumbsizing, the new path to failure. While you keep up appearances, and even show your CFO how adept you are at cutting costs, you are cutting your own throat. It’s looked at like a simple math problem, and we treat it like a management coup:
Which equation provides a more desirable impact on an enterprise’s bottom line?
Equation 1 – EMPLOYEE VALUE = SALARY / SKILLSET
Equation 2 – EMPLOYEE VALUE = SALARY / (SKILLSET x SKILL LEVEL + COMMITMENT)
Clearly, management benefits in both equations benefit as salary decreases. Equation 2, however, recognizes that skillset is only one component of employee value. I only list COMMITMENT, but there are an almost endless list of values that can be added to this portion of the equation.
It’s a trick question. Employee management is not math, it’s a combination of almost unquantifiable components that we spend years learning (or not learning) as managers and executives. Ask almost any manager what their most valuable asset is, and almost all will reply with an enthusiastic “My people!” Look deeper, at practice and behavior, and you will find that few managers connect with their staff in any meaningful way, and many look at them as a necessary evil.
That is how dumbsizing is born. One employee leaves, only to be replaced by another whose chief qualification is that they are less costly from a salary perspective than the person they are replacing. Life goes on, everything still works, and you’re a hero! Why not do it again, and again? Now you’re a rockstar! Your department is operational, and your salary budget has decreased significantly. Fast forward to the inevitable crisis, or fabled “growth spurt”, and your plan falls apart. You have no talent, only employees who only care about their paycheck. Remember that paycheck, the one you were so happy was so diminutive? Well you get what you pay for, and you’re paying for the “C” team.
- When you pay for the “C” team, you get low-skilled, low-interest staff
- When you get low-interest staff, they make mistakes and don’t care
- When staff make mistakes and don’t care, your operation falls apart
- When you operation falls apart, somebody may decide to DUMBSIZE YOU!
Go ahead, try it and see.