Financial Planning | Leadership / Management | Training & CPE

Layoffs: The recession’s anti-strategy

Pinkslip Wanna hear something interesting?

A recent report from Robert Half International finds that leadership and talent are at the top of CFOs' list of the things that will help their companies earn a competitive edge in the next three years.

"So what?" you ask.

Well, it just strikes me as an interesting paradox that, in an era when financial executives place huge value on leadership and talent, some of the highest-profile things to get the ax in the name of recessionary cost savings are jobs and training.

I'm not alone. Management consultant Frank Ryan told me recently that layoffs are a lousy strategy during an economic downturn. And why? Because the people you lay off today will be working for your competitors when the economy finally recovers.

And training? Get real. We're about to be swamped by a huge wave of baby boomer retirements. These people are going to take their leadership skills and expertise with them as they walk out the door. We need to be training people to take their places now.

Fortunately, most CFOs seem determined to protect what's most important. A recent Financial Executive International survey found that 70 percent of executives are targeting other areas for cuts -- including salary freezes, elimination of bonuses and restructuring -- in an effort to avoid layoffs.

More than anything else, that type of creativity -- making necessary cuts while keeping teams in place -- will position companies for success when the recovery comes.

What are you doing to control costs during the recession?

More at the expo
The MACPA's second Maryland Business and Accounting Expo, set for June 16-17 at the Baltimore Convention Center, will offer lots of management and leadership training, and let's face it: This type of training is more important than ever. Get details and register at


Bill Sheridan