Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What kind of manager do you have?: Jung or Nardelli?

Cut Costs like Avon--Not Home Depot is from the Harvard Business Publishing blog. The post describes the difference between the admired CEO of Avon, Andrea Jung, and the non-so-esteemed former-CEO of Home Depot, (though he has moved on to Chrysler) Bob Nardelli. And in a time of cutbacks--though not a reduced need for library services--it might be a good idea to find out who you are working for: Nardelli or Jung?

Oddly, these companies do have something in common with libraries: they have similar customer base (women), they depend on knowledge networks to spread the word, and their customers use their products to improve their lives. But look at what happened when Nardelli cut back:
"The original Home Depot strategy depended on extremely knowledgeable service staff who would go that extra mile for customers and who could really help them understand how to accomplish their own goals. In the name of efficiency, Nardelli cut coverage, replaced quite a number of the experienced old-timers with part-timers, and put the whole organization on a tight, numbers-driven, almost military program. Again, many of his changes were for the better - yet the cultural, network, and experience losses eventually caught up with the company and Nardelli was replaced."
Libraries, like Home Depot, depend on their community connections (we call them "patrons" not "contractors") and undermining the core service, such as reducing the number of workers that have "know-how" is just bad for business.

So who do you work for? Nardelli or Jung?

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