Posts Tagged ‘Best Buy’
Termination Tuesday Is A Loser for Everyone
Monday’s StarTribune story by Thomas Lee on Termination Tuesdays at Best Buy contained this jewel of a quote by a survivor:
“Whenever someone leaves their desk, we think that person just got laid off, when he or she might just be going to the bathroom,” said one surviving employee who requested anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak to the news media.
I worked like at a place like that for a time. With astonishing regularity we would be in a meeting, the door would open and the director of sales would pop his head in long enough to say,
“John Smith is no longer with the company.”
Any question (“Where is John Smith?” / “Where did John Smith go?” / “What happened?”) was met with the same phrase repeated:
“John Smith is no longer with the company.”
And sure enough, post-meeting, John Smith’s desk was cleared and his car was gone from the parking lot. In my year and a half with the company, this happened at least a dozen times.
It was unnerving.
I understand the confidentiality issues, but some sort of communication would have been helpful. Of course, among the survivors, there was all sorts of whispered communication, rumors, speculation and “Who’s next?” The regularity of employee disposal caused everyone to freshen their Plans B, C and D. With no explanation, loyalty to the firm was tenuous at best. When I finally left the firm, I asked the director of HR what it was like to fire so many people. She rolled her eyes and said it was the worst thing she ever had to do. There was a whimsy to the job destruction that had nothing to do with industry consolidation.
I’ve seen consolidating industries as well. It’s just as unnerving, though the communication is dour though more straightforward. I started with Honeywell just before the axe started swinging and many thousands lost their jobs—but at least we all saw the axe swinging closer and closer.
Whether job destruction happens through managerial whimsy or industry consolidation, employees walk on thin ice for so long that work, relationships, craft and loyalty all submerge.
Unfortunately, that is the guiding business ethos of the day: employees are another capital expense. And when things get tight, well….
My only plea would be for as much open communication and dialogue in a company as possible. And it doesn’t hurt for employees to continually sharpen their craft as they ask, “What next?”
It’s Counter-Intuitive, but Listening May Actually Clinch a Sale
Hubert Joly, I know you are trying hard to be more than Amazon’s showroom and believe me, we’re behind you! I can’t speak for everyone (hey—why let that stop me?), but all of St.MinneapolisPaul wants the Blue Shirts to win! We like you! (except, ahem, for those who don’t, of course).
Would you entertain a suggestion? I spoke to a kindly Blue Shirt yesterday about another obscure, jury-rigged set of applications that keep my Microsoft products talking together. I’m just looking for ways to get away from the fussing that enshrouds my mobile use of Microsoft. I asked open-ended questions seeking new solutions. Mr. Blue Shirt started his spiel about features and benefits—a reasonable place to begin. I drilled down with explanation and more questions. I could tell he was not catching my drift, so I searched for the key words that would help him see why his banter did not fit. The recently abandoned “activesync” turned out to be the word that unlocked introductions to the Microsoft rep hanging around 100 yards away. This gentleman ran with “activesync” and provided answers that seemed to fit my situation, but still with enough unanswered blank spaces that I knew I needed more research.
I May Be A Tough Customer
I may want more detail than other people because of my quixotic quest to make Microsoft work across my devices. I may have had too much experience with sales people saying whatever they must to make the sale (AT&T, take note). It is also possible that I need to read things to believe them. Granted.
Here’s My Point
What I need is help with complicated products. Or solid advice to give up my foolish Microsoft quest. Is that the kind of thing of I could expect from a quick conversation on the Best Buy floor? Maybe not. But if you had someone who listened, who knew what was available and who could step away from features/benefit sales script—that would be worth something to me. I’d make an appointment with that person—like I did at the Microsoft store (I’m not optimistic).
I know my cult-of-Apple friends are punching their faces now and saying “hopeless.” I’m not quite ready for the Apple tattoo on my…wallet. Ok?
Minnesota Public Radio’s Martin Moylan reported Wednesday on Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn’s use of his blog to respond to media coverage of Best Buy’s business model. Moylan cited a recent critical commentary in Forbes magazine which received 2.3 million page views. In his blog Dunn responded to the critics but also tempted fate by leaving his blog open for comments.
A quick glance through the comments shows all manner of agreement, disagreement, and vehement disagreement. Just like real people talking. It’s a messy mess of messages that point every direction all at the same time. And everyone can read it.
This, friends, is the future of conversation at an institutional level. Once people are given their voices back, they speak what they feel and sometimes what they know. But the act of listening is a huge hurdle and Mr. Dunn and his team did the commendable, credible thing by leaving it out in public for all to see.
We have a long, venerable history of jumping on market leaders, big notable institutions and authorities. There is something exhilarating about finding fault with those who seem to run the world, whether it’s Best Buy, Comcast, AT&T, Microsoft. Or the city council or the board of elders at church. Or elderly mom and dad. Or God. Sometimes they deserve it. Sometimes not. But the conversation is useful for lots of different purposes, including hinting at what is going on inside us.
Brian Dunn: thank you for your courage in letting people talk back. My estimation of Best Buy rose as I read the comments.