When I am outside the U.S., I do my best to stay informed by reading everything I can get my hands on. This often means the International Herald Tribune. The title of this post was the heading of an article on November 17, 2008.
Part of the article referred to “Redesigning the business.” At some level, that is what every family business must do during these economic times.
A client in the building industry with nearly 2,000 employees has faced up to the obvious reality: there must be a reduction in their number of employees. Big surprise! They asked the question, “What is the type of employee we will need when we come out of these economic times?”
They developed their criteria and used it to determine which key employees will remain while simultaneously creating a very supportive program to aid those who will be terminated. Not an easy decision when one considers the human impact but something that must be done if the company is to survive. Two criteria were the ability to be flexible and creative in solving problems. I think every family business can benefit from this example of making a difficult, humane decision.
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