• John Pletz On Technology
  • John Pletz On Technology

    CEOs gain credibility when they take responsibility

    Godard Abel and Amanda Lannert blamed themselves for bad news. Why don't more CEOs do that?

    79彩票注册网址Amanda Lannert and Godard Abel


    79彩票注册网址CEOs talk plenty about accountability. Too often that means pointing fingers. But two Chicago tech CEOs recently pointed the finger of blame squarely at themselves.

    When Amanda Lannert cut 15 percent of the staff at Jellyvision, she said unflinchingly: "We had to take some difficult steps to undo the corporate complexity I allowed to build over the last few years of 100+ new hires. I am ashamed of this. I am not proud of this. I am sorry for this." Then she personally led the effort to help them find new jobs.
    Godard Abel was equally forthright when G2 Crowd cut 10 percent of its staff just before the holidays. In an internal memo announcing the cutbacks, he wrote: “We’re significantly behind our revenue goals for this year. In hindsight, we planned too aggressively and didn’t align and execute well on all of our efforts across teams. It’s my fault that we haven’t maintained a healthier (productivity) ratio, and I’m sorry for not acting more decisively sooner to fix it.”

    79彩票注册网址I’ve covered plenty of layoffs over the years, and I can’t remember a CEO saying what Lannert and Abel did. Apparently, neither can you, judging by the reactions I saw on social media.

    79彩票注册网址Most CEOs describe layoffs as the worst day of their lives because they feel responsible for the employees they lead. But few of them own up to it in the way Abel and Lannert did. Each has received plenty of accolades over the years in Chicago tech circles. They showed they deserved them by stepping up when times got tough.

    Too many CEOs crave the spotlight when times are good, only to take a step back during the darkest hours. But that’s when employees, customers and, yes, even competitors are really paying attention.
    79彩票注册网址 Taking ownership requires guts, but it's the right move. Just ask Oscar Munoz, who is about to take a victory lap on his farewell tour as United’s CEO. He was the boss when the infamous Dr. Dao incident happened at O’Hare. His reputation started to improve immediately after he said, "This is on me. I have to fix that.”

    Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg waited too long, for him or the company.
    79彩票注册网址 Based on what we’ve seen in the past few months, there will be more layoffs ahead in tech and elsewhere. CEOs would do well to take note—and take responsibility.

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