Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

When Getting Tough Is Not the Answer

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

When Getting Tough Is Not the Answer

Article excerpt

When the going gets tough, the tough gel going.

Although the saying rings true--and has lots of value in tough economic times--sometimes those who are tough can be a bit too tough when they get going and their efforts can become counterproductive.

For example, Robert was hired as a vice-president to resuscitate a failing division. Since he knows his job depends on whether and how Fast he can succeed, he decides he's going to be the toughest of the tough, and that's where he commits error no. 1. Since the division is on the skids, he concludes that the real problem is not the economy--something he cannot control--but the staff--which he thinks he can control. He concludes that employees are incompetent, lazy or both. So off he runs at full speed to correct the problem. But instead of investing time to examine his premise or look for pockets of competence and experience, he effectively writes off the entire staff and brings in some new people with general business knowledge--but little or no specific experience with the division's operations.

Result: The entire staff, already demoralized by their unit's poor performance, is further demoralized by Robert's assessment of them. …

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