Doing What Ya Gotta Do
* Elsewhere in the film, two mechanized units stretching for miles are stalled at a crossroads, when Patton wheels up, jumps out of his jeep and starts directing traffic. The idea of a three-star general doing the work normally performed by a Military Police corporal seems preposterous. If a tank or deuce-and-a-half were stuck in the mud, Patton would get out of his jeep and help push. He did not stand on ceremony. Whatever it took to win the war, Patton would do it.
Doing What You Have to Do: Being an S.O.B.
In my archive of news stories, I have a file titled, “Downsizing,” which contains some 70 stories describing buyouts, layoffs and firings totaling more than 300,000 people in every conceivable industry—auto, media, appliances, retail, electronics, financial services and more. The most recent: the early August announcements that Johnson & Johnson will be axing 4,280 employees and Unilever will get rid of 20,000.
For an executive or manager, downsizing means doing what you have to do, no matter how unpleasant, for the survival of the organization. It takes great courage to do this. Personally, I would rather flip hamburgers or brew coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts than be responsible for the decision to lay off 20,000 employees, turning their careers and lives inside out. Chances are my own mismanagement would have been responsible for the need to fire them.
I am a lousy manager and terrible at delegating. When I was working for a living, if I saw something that needed to be done, I would jump in and do it, rather than spending time coaching the people and helping them grow professionally. I would take the easy way.
Sometimes what you have to do is stand aside to let others do it—and show them how.
About the Exhibit in Williamstown
I found “MAKING IT NEW: The Art and Style of Sara & Gerald Murphy” to be a fascinating experience. For years I have wanted to see Gerald Murphy’s work. The seven extant pictures are on display, along with works by cubist masters that influenced him, plus myriad photographs of the Murphy’s family and life as ex-pats—candid shots of the incredible galaxy of artists, composers and writers who were their friends. Included is a fascinating documentary film and, amazingly, a video of the Gerald Murphy-Cole Porter ballet, “Within the Quota” in its entirety. The exhibit schedule: