By David Haggith, the Great Recession Blog.
I’m working on a new Linked-in profile and wanted to get your thoughts on it. I’m sure others have similar experience in the decline of corporate culture. If I wanted to stay employed in the current corporate culture, I think I’d update my profile as follows to make it fit what corporations are really looking for:
Summary: David has twenty-five years of experience working for assholes who couldn’t care less about their employees and has earned the monicker “Proctologist of Political Dysfunction.” David is currently seeking employment with another severely dysfunctional corporation.
Most recent employment: Mismanagement Trainer. Two years direct experience as general manager, most recently serving under a delusional board of pompous idiots. During that time, David administered sensitivity training on behalf of the board by helping staff become less sensitive to hostile working environments. Aided the board in boosting staff morale by convincing all staff they really aren’t worth much anyway so no reason to feel bad about being underpaid. Counseled the board on restructuring as it sought to fire highly qualified people who were near retirement in order to replace them with complete morons. This work directly saved the company thousands of dollars by eliminating the high cost of skilled human resources who had a broad knowledge of the company’s unique facility operations, thus allowing new employees to creatively guess at how things worked, thereby expanding employee creativity.
Benefits in hiring David: David brings broad experience in observing how companies can successfully lie to their shareholders. Convince shareholders that the meat lost by cutting fat out of the corporation was riddled with parasites anyway. While your company becomes less robust, shareholders will appreciate the dividends from cost savings that accrue immediately to their pocketbooks before they sell off. Anorexically streamlined companies will find themselves better adapted to an environment where owners who are fatigued from the high costs of quality investment can reap a savings windfall from downgraded expectations.
Well, that’s what I was tasked with doing by a new micro-managing, highly dysfunctional board that replaced a semi-dysfunctional board in a hostile takeover. Fortunately, I was ready for semi-retirement anyway, so I refused to cooperate as their henchman, which would have been to live to my own human disgrace. Instead, I moved on to lesser-paying things, including spending more time on this blog, becoming one of the Great Uncounted that refused to stay in the game under those terms.
The new management has seen almost 100% turnover in two years and has seen the maintenance of its facilities stagnate as its board makes excuses to its members as to why it is no longer able to get the job done on budget … or done at all. It turned out that losing all of their best help due to micromanagement and penny-pinching didn’t save them a dime in the long run. Many of their best employees fled, which left them severely disabled and bickering among themselves.
Productivity decline due to dysfunctional corporate culture is one of America’s worst problems
Former Fed chair, Alan Greenspan, worries that productivity decline is America’s most threatening problem. Is it any surprise, however, that productivity throughout the US economy is significantly down when most corporations have maintained earnings through years of penny-pinching, rather than by empowering their human resources with capital improvements? Board members sought to stuff their own pockets by milking their companies dry and diminishing the middle-class workers who ultimately constitute the market for their products.
This is just one small personal glimpse inside of a greedy mindset that is endemic right now. When most companies in the nation are rewarding their board members and other stockholders with dividends by cutting labor and taking out corporate loans to pad their own pockets with stock buybacks, you can only expect productivity to drop. From there, you can expect to see the nation dwindle over time into economic decline as its companies become less robust and fail to build a future for themselves.
Stockholders and their elected boards are doing what makes the most money for stockholders for the short-term by sucking the life energy out of the company. Loans should only be taken out to develop new markets or improve the equipment employees have to work with or make other improvements that boots how much employees can accomplish, but never to benefit stockholders with dividends or share buybacks. When they are used for stock buybacks, the major stockholders can just move their money to another company on the company dime while the getting is still good and start sucking the next company dry.
This kind of short-term greed has come to dominate in part because investors no longer care about whether a company’s profile is looking better suited for a good future, and the reason they don’t have to care about that is that central bank money-printing and continued rock-bottom interest is putting so much money into the stock market that prices are driven by speculation on what the central bank will do next. It is now the banks that move the markets, so the old-fashion look at capital improvements, market innovation, productivity gains, etc., has become less relevant.
Central banks foment this economic dysfunction by creating cheap and easy money looking for a place to invest — money that plans to use the company’s line of credit in order to buy itself out and move on to deplete the next company.
Sapping all the company’s energy to richly pay board members and CEOs who don’t deserve anything based on company market growth or productivity gains is ultimately not a form a sustainable economics. It’s a form of gradual economic collapse. Corporations are essentially cannibalizing themselves.
Feel free to leave record of your own experiences with the decline of corporate culture in the comments section.