OK, this may be a hard swallow for those of you not in the newspaper business, but for those who are, you must read this Ron Rosenbaum piece on the incursion of evil management consultants into our business:
To me, the pi�ce de r�sistance of the Raines essay�the anecdote that captures the true texture of management-guru culture�is his description of the elite management retreat in which a management-consultant guru painstakingly explains to Times executives the management-guru-approved method for firing people. …At this particular retreat, Mr. Raines tells us, the “coach and facilitator” announced the lesson for the day: “how to fire people.” The poor Times execs were coerced into dividing up into groups to role-play firing scenarios Or, as Mr. Raines puts it, the groups “practiced termination interviews.”
Note: “termination interviews.” Don�tcha love it? It�s hard to decide which is more absurd, the invention and use of that Orwellian euphemism, or the attempt to foist it on people whose business is supposed to be the honest use of words.
Anyway, Mr. Raines tells us, the “main precepts” communicated by the “termination” guru were “to sit directly facing the employee in a posture that indicated openness, receptivity�legs uncrossed, arms resting loosely on the arms of the chair. After saying to the person in a calm tone that he or she was being dismissed, and giving a brief, neutral explanation of the reason, we were to listen patiently while the employee vented freely. If he or she became angry, we were to say we understood the anger. At every turn we were to express personal sympathy but to offer no concessions. Once the soon-to-be-exiled worker realized the hopelessness of his or her situation, we were to collect the person�s identification card, if that could be accomplished without a wrestling match.” In other words: break them down, treat them like children and kick them out while disguising your contempt for them.