Monday, November 5, 2012

Self Criticsm and Getting Canned

Dallas  Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was livid Sunday night, and not just because his team had just lost to the Atlanta Falcons on national television. Jones was locked out of the Cowboys' locker room following his team's 19-13 loss in Atlanta on Sunday Night Football. Earlier that night, Bob Costas interviewed Jerry Jones, who stated that he would have fired himself as general manager if he could have but he couldn't because it's impossible to fire yourself because you can't separate yourself from yourself so you just have to learn to live with yourself ... or something like that.

"I've always worked for myself and you can't do that," Jones said of firing himself as general manager. "You basically have to straighten that guy out in the mirror when you work for yourself. But certainly, if I'd had the discretion, I've done it with coaches and certainly I would have changed a general manager."

How funny is that? Sorry, but I just don’t buy it. It’s not the same thing. Sure successful owner/entrepreneurs often put a lot of pressure on themselves but it ain’t the same as fear of being canned. The irony is the double standard that exists here.

A few of highlights from my career journey:

Fred Kummer at HBE once opened a sales meeting with the declaration, “Someone in this room should be fired.” And after s brief pause delivered the punch line. “That person is me…but since that isn’t gonna happen…” He went on to make that group of sales people sweat-out the rest of the meeting.  

Steve Rose who was President of a newly merged advertising agency. AC&R/DHB & Bates in New York offered a similarly awkward assurance to the employees of the newly merged agency. “The view only changes for the lead dog,” he said to a movie theater full of merged employees.

More often than not, employees gather for town hall meetings or company-wide announcements to get a sense of how the leadership feels about the company’s progress only to leave with only a hint of how secure their positions in the organization might be.
So, boss, go ahead and fire yourself. We might be able to get something done around here.

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