Profits are down, sales are down, and the workload is slow. Our prices are competitive, so I'm not sure what's wrong. What I'd like to do is boost our sales. Unfortunately I know nothing about sales! So I've decided to cut operating costs, which will force me to squeeze maximum productivity out of the few employees who remain. But that's not as easy as it sounds! In fact, it's become a rather depressing game of "divide and conquer"!
I began by drawing out a big chart. I wrote down everyone's name and drew lines connecting who was friends with who, who takes lunches together, and who chats around the coffeemaker. I put a red mark by anyone who I think may have been part of last year's failed unionizing effort. I also made notes on the chart about popularity, niceness, and physical attractiveness.
Then I started managing people out of their jobs. I wrote folks up for every single 30-second tardy. I documented every website they visited that wasn't work-related. I monitored their calls, and rummaged through their desks. I even sent a few people in for "random" drug tests. After only three weeks I'd fired one person out of every identified friendship in the building.
The best part was how I avoided an ugly, newsworthy mass-layoff situation. Instead I spread all the firings out over a month of Fridays. This not only helped our company avoid embarrassment, (as well as expensive severence packages) but it also helped develop a sense of self-preservation and paranoia among my remaining staff. Of course everyone is depressed and worried, and I'm the only one who knows that the firing spree is over!
Link to her blog. Warning: the rest of her blog is equally classy.