In a post from last fall I promised I would return to the hilarious letter we saw from one of America’s largest envelope companies. The company filed for bankruptcy protection and was purchased by a private equity company and has been downsizing ever since. Their most recent layoff and office closing (sorry, “restructuring”) was announced in the form of a press release/public letter in October of 2011.
I mentioned at the time that while big corporations serve a need in the economy, I’ve always preferred to work for small companies. Elite Envelope has grown considerably since our humble origins in 2003, but we have managed to keep in daily contact with all of our staff and many of our customers. This has been a big part of our success. Another factor that helps small businesses maintain a proper perspective is that losing one customer or one employee is a big deal. The paradox of big companies is they get big by providing value to many but then they value the many less as a result.
When speaking to a big audience rather than small groups or individuals, I guess the feeling is you can spin things anyway you want. After all; you’re a massive corporation! (Or government bureaucracy – don’t get me started there) So, here are a few more chestnuts from the aforementioned letter as promised. (Helpful translation and/or snarky comments in parenthesis mine).
“These efforts(i.e.the layoffs and office closings) will allow us to build a stronger product, service, and quality value proposition for our customers.” (Corporations love to talk about “value propositions”; sounds so “MBA”)
“The next step in the evolution of our…strategy is to build on our value proposition (there they go again) to customers by maximizing customer focus, responsiveness, and value.” (Are they saying they are going to make their customers more focused, responsive and valuable? Sign me up!)
“The consolidation allows us to…leverage technology to enhance the customer experience, and align with key Business Unit requirements (jargon alert!). This will enable cross-training to ensure capability and knowledge share of customers, markets, and other important information.” (yes, but will key Business Unit requirements be knowledge-shared as well? Discuss amongst yourselves. )
“Although this is the right thing to do for our customers and our company, it doesn’t come without change for some of our dedicated employees. (ya’ think?).
“The migration of select roles from current locations into our future-state design will take place over several months”. (Migrating to the future-state? Did they get Ray Bradbury to write this?)
“More information will be shared as we move through this next phase of improving our (wait, let’s all say it together) customer value proposition and transforming (sic) to the leader of our industry."
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the next letter!