Daring leadership is what makes or breaks organizations. Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen, which is why I’m bringing my whole self into this meeting. Let me put down my shield and reveal my truth before we dive into today’s Brené Brown lunch-and-learn.
By the end of this presentation, I will fire twelve of you.
Yes, it’s not ideal timing. And I’m not happy to do it. But as Dr. Brown says, “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.” So, let me be clear. Half of you will no longer have a job by day’s end.
Let me first address what you all are probably worried about. Our revenue is fine. Healthy even. We’re actually making more money than ever, and by “we,” I mean the company. Unfortunately, the reason for the cuts is far more threatening than financial concerns; it’s organizational efficiency.
Before you spend company time trying to show me data to the contrary, I want to share a poignant quote from Professor Brown on vulnerability: “The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing; it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.” I want to thank you all for showing up, specifically for showing up to this all-hands meeting, because firing you all at the same time is a testament to our enhanced organizational efficiency.
You’re showing great courage in the face of your mortgage, heating bill, childcare, student loan payments, and I’m sure even more expenses that you are shouldering the burden of alone. I’m proud of you. You are okay. You will be okay. I’ll be okay, too, because I still have a job.
What else do I have? A hunch. A hunch that the thousands of hours of specialized work you do could be done by fewer, cheaper people. That’s why I paid a consulting firm $1.2 million to generate an operational audit that proved my hunch correct. This streamlined phase will be new and different, but as Brené Brown says, “We can choose courage, or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” It just so happens, in this instance, that choosing courage is also choosing profit. Vulnerability is so powerful in that way.
You might be saying, “Enough with the vulnerability crap. Do I have a job or not?” Well, in the words of Brené, who I can refer to by first name alone because I believe she would be my friend, “The middle is messy, but it is also where the magic happens.” So, relax. And know that life will give you the knowledge you seek soon enough.
If you’re one of the ones cut—and if you’re on the marketing team, then you probably are—I want you to be brave. While you might feel a sense of shame being fired in such a public way, I encourage you to go deeper. As my pal BB says, “If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three ingredients to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment.” That means, in this instance, you really can’t feel shame, because I don’t judge you for getting fired by me.
At this point, I’d like everyone who thinks they’re getting fired to stand up.
That’s it. Don’t be scared. Great. That’s seven so far. Three more of you might find you feel called to stand as well. I encourage you to follow that instinct.
Perfect. I commend you for being vulnerable.
Now, stay standing. Ted, would I be able to get you to stand up as well?
Amazing. Congratulations are in order. You are now free to own your story. Just to clarify, yes, you are fired, and this is the end of your time with this company, but even more than that, you now have the opportunity to write your own “brave new ending.”
While it’s difficult to lead with my heart, I know it is best for the organization, and thus all of you, whether or not you continue to remain employed here. I have one final quote from Bebs that I’ve prepared for you: “Dig deep—get deliberate, inspired, and going.” Specifically, go to HR for your items.
Now, I’m taking a half-day to go see BreBro speak downtown. Can you believe I’ve never actually listened to a full talk from her? So grateful to work at a company that prioritizes my professional development and would pay for my six-hundred-dollar conference ticket as long as I ran this silly little lunch-and-learn.
Anyway, if you have any questions about all this, write them down and reflect on them. I know you have the answers within you.