April 9, 2009

A Fox in the personnel department

Filed under: Stuff I worry about

I’ve got a pretty wacky sense of humor, but I can’t get my hands around this one. I’d like to serve a wood pie to Mike Darnell, chief of alternative programming at Fox network, the twisto development guy who came up with Somebody’s Gotta Go.

The concept is simple and akin to Russian Roulette: A company can’t decide who to let go, so this reality show hands the salary list to all the company’s employees and they decide who’s gotta go… Darnell claims companies are standing in line to participate. Can’t wait to see how well they do at recruiting once the economy turns back up…

9 Comments on “A Fox in the personnel department”
By Jason
April 10, 2009 at 10:29 am

Wow, this is horrible. Of course its Fox, I remember the Geico add for the “Tiny House”. Everytime it came on, even after I’d seen it before, I couldn’t help but think Fox was _really_ going to do that show.

Hopefully the 15 minutes of fame effect will be able to help out the poor folks who lose their job. Who knows, many of those fired from “The Apprentice” have done very well for themselves.

By Another Steve
April 10, 2009 at 11:02 am

Given how poorly run most companies are, I’m a little surprised that the show has “absolutely no trouble” finding interested test subjects. Does management really want to display all the company’s warts on national television? Or are those reservations being overridden by hubris and/or desperation and/or I-wanna-be-on-Tee-Vee-even-if-it-makes-me-a-laughingstock?

By Another Steve
April 10, 2009 at 11:14 am

Wait. One more.

It’s probably just another example of one Nick’s most frequent complaints: too many managers don’t understand how employees contribute to the bottom line.

In a well-run company, the choice of who to fire would be an easy one, and the manager would have to answer a few basic questions. Who is the least profitable employee on the payroll? Whose absence would most harm productivity/profitability? Whose efforts would we miss the least?

Management for a few of the companies eager to appear on this show can answer that question, but they’re too chickenshit to do it. The overwhelming majority, however, are probably just as clueless as Nick claims they are.

By Nick Corcodilos
April 10, 2009 at 11:50 am

Another Steve:

Bingo. Who is the problem? Start at the top: the manager. I cover this for another purpose in “Talent Shortage, Or Poor Management?” but the idea/problem is the same. And in the end, this all goes back to “The Peter Principle” — people rise to their level of incompetence and remain there.

http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/hatalentshortage1.htm

By Another Steve
April 10, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Yeah, in my current situation, the Peter Principle is in full effect. The guy in charge at my location is a sales guy who knows very little about operations. He was a good sales manager, but he meddles too much in operational issues he doesn’t comprehend.

Our operations manager appears to have been chosen because she’s compliant. She also has no experience in operations, coming instead from a support background. None of the department managers below her ever were full-time employees in our specific operations. They’ve come from the military and other businesses.

Surprise! The only one whose proven to be close to worth a damn is the retired military officer. Another manager is clueless – I get the distinct vibe he’d be better suited as a middle-school principal. The third is simply overwhelmed, and may drown in the responsibility. Their experience is peripheral and their understanding of what we do is intellectual.

Putting them in management roles is a little like saying I can manage a moderate-sized IT department because I built the PC I’m using to type this post.

By Ray
April 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Company XXX had a salesman who consistently beat his sales quota. Every year they raised it and every year he filled it by mid-year. They promoted him to Regional Sales manager and he was lousy at it. He volunteered to be ‘demoted’ back to something he was good at – selling to customers. It stuck in my mind because it’s the only time in 45+ years I’ve seen that happen.
It’s called Integrity – and it’s rare.

By Brad
April 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I don’t know that it was really integrity, but rather a really smart move on his part. Far better to work at something you are good at than consistently fail at a higher level.

My father was a sales rep for years and one thing I noticed was that companies seemed almost hostile to successful reps. They would keep cranking up the quota, rearranging the territory, etc. Some of that is reasonable, assuming it was to respond to changing priorities, but it seems stupid to push out those who make “too much” money.

Brad

By scottthekyhrguy
April 13, 2009 at 10:36 am

Wow — can’t wait to see who belongs to the department to be downsized. If more than one of them is over 40, disabled, female, or a member of a racial minority group I may try to sit for the bar when it goes into pre-production. That’s a disparate impact bonanza!

By Another Steve
April 14, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Scott, that’s a great point. I wonder what kind of waiver would the employees will have to sign before appearing on the show?

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