Saturday, January 12, 2013

Johnny's Wife Had a Baby and His Incompetent Boss


Johnny's wife was pregnant. She was due any day. Johnny worked hard taking care of his other kids while the wife went through a tough labor. Still with all of that, Johnny also kept doing a great job at work.


The office where Johnny works has had lots of changes recently but the boss caught Johnny in the hallway one day. He said,

"Johnny! Let's get together with the gang and have a beer and talk about how to make the company better!" Johnny was very pleased.

Johnny had been talking about the pregnancy and the baby everyday at work for two months. The day the baby was born, Johnny diligently stayed up at night with his wife until the child was born, yet was still promptly at work the next day. 

Johnny is, after all, a professional.


The day of the birth, congratulatory wishes were given to Johnny from everybody.... That is, excepting from his boss at work. The bosses said nothing.

The next thing the boss did say, coincidentally on the day the baby came home from the hospital, was that Johnny's job was terminated.


Johnny went ballistic and walked out. 

Later, Johnny's boss asked me where Johnny was. I told him that he was sick. The boss got angry. 

I explained about what had happened and how Johnny was hurt (probably a most typical human emotion especially after a difficult and extremely stressful time)... I also told him about how Johnny's other boss had said something about going out to have a drink and talking about work but not following through and how that reeks of insincerity (I mentioned about incompetent management - that includes, but is not limited too - keeping up on business trends. It especially has to do with caring for your workers. That is basic business management 101).

The boss had excuses. He said that he didn't know about either events. He didn't know about the baby. 

I asked him why his staff knew about it, but he didn't? Both Johnny and he work in the same place five days a week and Johnny has announced it publicly dozens upon dozens of time at the office yet the boss didn't know? Hmmm? Is this the same boss that didn't know about critical business news that was announced publicly 4 years ago? Am I seeing a trend here? 

I suppose that this boss not knowing these things points to one of two things, or both:

Either he is incompetent (I believe this) or his own staff don't respect him enough to pass along the information (I believe this too!). One or the other or both. If you have another possibility, please send it along in the comment section.

I asked this guy if he was the boss. He confirmed. I told him that as boss it was his business to know what was going on with his people. I told him it was his business to motivate people and get them to do their best. Wishing a guy congrats on a new baby costs nothing but a moment in time and it is important to make people feel respected. Johnny didn't get that.

The boss protested, "But my job is to make money!"

I asked him how much money he can make if the employees are not happy.

Like I said, some people can't even use their heads enough for basic common courtesies and niceties to others... How can they possibly run well a company? Not knowing that one of your main employees' wife just had a baby when they had been talking about it at work for two months and then not saying congratulations to that employee is, what? You tell me: is this good management or incompetence? Please decide. 

This is, actually, not about being nice to people per se. It is about management and being smart enough to treat people right so that one can make more money. Sun Tsu wrote about it in The Art of War. Another book I highly recommend for Johnny's bosses... Of whom, I'm sure do not read books.

By the way, even after our talk, do you think the boss has the smarts to contact Johnny and at least say "Sorry" or "Congrats" on the baby? Nope. They won't. That's one example of a symptom on the problem. The cause of the problem is that they are incompetent. Please tell me if I am wrong here.

I now expect some anonymous to write to me and tell me I am incompetent too. Like I said, maybe so... But I'm not THAT incompetent. And, I'm smart enough to take criticism and can say, "Sorry. I was wrong." 

Many people would do well to lower their pride and do the same...

I like to ask my dear friends and business partners like Jeff Bernier, Managing Director of Delta Airlines Asia or Tim Williams founder of Value Commerce or Roger Marshall Executive Director of Odgers Berndstein or Paul Takaki founder of Warner Japan, Universal Studios Japan and UIP or Koji Kamibayashi founder of TXBB (people who created multi-million dollars companies that I work with now and have for years) to write to me and tell me if you think I'm wrong or right? 

Everyone else's opinion is welcomed too...But if you can't name specifics and resort to ad hominem, then not necessary. There is no ad hominem here from me or on any other of my blog posts or comments that I wrote (pardon my thin skin!)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Canine Wolfy says: I've been following these last few posts and all I can say is "Wow!" If that's all true then you work with some really poor management not to mention truly lousy human beings.That's got to be some sort of comedy show going on at that office.

Anonymous said...

The Hawthorne Effect (or lack thereof) at its finest. Did "Johnny" not get any sort of parental leave? - Peter Dyloco

Anonymous said...

MJ asked: "You tell me: is this good management or incompetence?"

Seems like bad manners,... and it's world-wide.
In the Interpersonal world that could spell di$aster, especially in tight times. [What are those? Right? Tight times, psft.]

Another way of saying, 'Interpersonal world' is, Industrial Psychology.
... Some things that are lost on many People.

MJ asked: "The cause of the problem is that they are incompetent. Please tell me if I am wrong here."

Sociopaths? Perhaps?

I'd recommend the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People... but like you wrote, no one reads books. ... And I'm just, 'Everyone else', so. ... wHAt do I know?

- IndividualAudienceMember