The other day I imagined myself to be an executive for Hostess. This was, in fact, a meditation I made during a shower. In this scenario, I invited the head of the Teamsters local to a private meeting in which I would disclose the future strategy of the management team. The trick was about how to make the offer significant enough to demonstrate that it was of utmost importance that he attend without giving up any pertinent information. This is something that I presume attorneys do all the time, and so I paid that nuance no further mind.
At this meeting I would reveal to the labor leader that our best minds have seen no strategic way forward for the company. That ultimately we were second rate, that our competitors were better funded, better managed and really just cared about these stupid cupcakes more than we did. It was a come to Jesus meeting showing that we are not deluded about the future of Twinkies in an America obsessed with fitness and terrified of obesity. We would tell the labor leader that we're basically going to run this puppy into the ground, or become a successful pariah organization rather like those in the tobacco industry.
So Mr. Labor Leader, should we give ourselves a raise and hasten our own inevitable demise, or should we continue to put on a false face and whistle while we work for nothing?
We understand that a corporation is the creature that can be abandoned and so executives and labor can move on to ride the next beastie to fame, or not. It is not a singular reflection of executive or labor skill. It's an indicator, but you need a bigger sample size than one. But when you are convinced that decline is inevitable, what then?
There must be a definite name for this dilemma. The 'classic' American pop culture reference is to Ra's al Ghul, the mentor of the Dark Knight, whose aim is to cleanse the world's corruption by fire. Is accellerating the death of the weak virtuous or cruel? Must one be cruel to be kind? Is there such a thing as creative destruction?
I believe that there is such a thing as creative destruction, but should one profit from the accelleration of decline? I am not sure. But I do know that I find subversion to be immoral. It is the duplicity that I am averse to. I cannot stand the idea that based on insider knowledge one is publically commited to the preservation of something one is privately determined to destroy.
Do you see that pattern anywhere? How do you manage it?