Shame on You Carrier... And Thank You

Carrier Air Conditioner is moving production to Monterrey, Mexico putting 1,400 Indianapolis Jobs south of the border in 2017.

Fully Story >

Thank you for showing everyone a poor way to lay off 1,400 people.

Sorry, did I say lay off? I meant, "transition".

But every one of your employees knew what you really meant by "transition". This intentional misdirection seemed to be a theme of your speech.

Guess what? Your employees caught on before you delivered the punch line. That's why someone started recording the show after all.

I don't envy the decision you had to make. I get it -- business must go on. We all understand that you cannot put your entire company out of work because you didn't make the hard choices required to stay in business, stay competitive, and stay alive. So what was the problem with your announcement?

Nobody cared.

Nobody cared that you had to make a hard choice. Nobody cared that you felt bad about the news you had to deliver. Nobody cared that the business must go on. Why? Because they are no longer a part of it!

Sure, Carrier employees won't be "transitioned" until 2017, giving them a full year to find new work. But even if they stay on payroll, they are no longer a part of your organization.

They are mentally checked out, angry at their situation, wondering what to say and how to support their families when they get home.

You didn't help them with that... at least not in the presentation I saw. You didn't take personal responsibility and share with them a plan for their future. 

You said how hard it was for "us". How difficult a decision "we" had to make. Like a death squad sitting on high, writing scripts for people's fate, you didn't talk to your employees as people. You treated everyone as though they were a burden -- a cost center for lost profits to be replaced by a shinier, cheaper, better version of themselves (south of the border).

To be fair, it's not easy. I've been there. I've worried and cried and made myself sick (literally) over a layoff. For days I read books, looked up articles, and listened to podcasts on how to lay people off. I rehearsed, and rehearsed, and rehearsed. And I rehearsed again. Perhaps you did too.

What you forgot is that your brand isn't a thing, its a collection of people who can destroy your image. That's what happened today.

What you didn't do is listen to yourself as if you were in your employees shoes. That's why everyone was so angry.

Maybe you took all the best advice about the ideal time to lay people off, how to tell them up front what is happening, etc. But you seemed too eager to share your side of the story instead of telling your employees how you were going to help them after delivering the bad news.

And that's what they needed to hear. 

They needed to hear how, in this tough situation, you were going to make their "transition" as comfortable as possible. They needed to hear how they would be compensated, insured, and assisted in finding a new job. Most importantly, they needed to be heard

Specifically by someone who could say "I made this call," an exec who took responsibility -- Not by a corporate messenger who hid behind "us" and "we" and "our business". 

So thank you, Carrier, for showing us how NOT to lay off real people and for creating 1,400 opportunities for entrepreneurs to follow their dreams. 

Because that's what they'll do.

So for all those hard working employees and their families who have great ideas, who want the freedom to run their own business but aren't sure where to start, we have a message for you:

This is not the end; it's the beginning.

This might be your chance to put your experience to work, help people, and become self-employed. Reach out to Modern da Vinci because we'd love to talk and find a way to get you that head start. 

And for anyone in Carrier's shoes about to make "tough choices" and are worried about making similar mistakes, sometimes it's best to be coached through times like these. Contact Modern da Vinci for leadership coaching that will positively impact all aspects of your organization and avoid a brand-destroying viral YouTube video like the one shown here.