Monday, December 05, 2011


The Latest Management Trend - Brightsizing

Why it is Dangerous to Your Organization

By F. John Reh, Guide

Management trends come and go. They are good or bad depending on many variables: industry; company culture; education level of workers; existing contracts and laws; etc. Mostly, however, they are good or bad depending on how well they are applied.

You know the names of the most recent batch. We have all been impacted, in one way or another, by downsizing, re-engineering, restructuring, delayering and so on.

Re-engineering is a solid business management tool, but applied incorrectly it can cause more harm than good. Downsizing, when done improperly, is appropriately called dumbsizing.

The latest management buzzword isn't really a trend. It is more a reaction to the last few trends. The new buzzword is brightsizing. While it provides more opportunity for comic relief, courtesy of Dilbert, it is no laughing matter.

Brightsizing is downright dangerous and you need to protect your organization from it.

Brightsizing is defined, by Paul McFedries' Word Spy, as "corporate downsizing in which the brightest workers are let go. This happens when a company lays off those workers with the least seniority, but its those young workers who are often the best trained and educated."

Sometimes brightsizing is blamed on union contracts, which enforce seniority-based hiring/firing practices. It is, unfortunately, just as common in non-union companies.

Many companies have policy statements in their employee handbooks that state that in layoff decisions "among equally qualified candidates preference will be given to the employee with the greatest seniority."

When faced with decisions that will result in a reduction in staff, make sure you first evaluate the value of the employee to the organization and THEN look at other mitigating factors, such as length of time with the company.

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