imageIf news reports prove accurate, Burger King will ‘whopper’ decisions from Canada to save taxes as Turner Network slashes jobs from increased NBA production costs.

If there’s one key lesson corporate America should learn from Ferguson, MO it’s that we tend not to think of employees as assets. Corporate leaders will profess an undying love for all, but this characterization is devoid of reality. In truth, corporate America will confirm employees cannot be owned, taxed, depreciated, or disposed of as machines or other tangible assets. Thus, employees are disposable.

Evidence of management stupidity has both surrounded and astounded me. Unbeknown to many, much corporate stupidity occurs in dimly lit board rooms by men of little integrity, courage or information.

While waiting patiently to speak to the Board of Directors of a major hospital system on governance controls, a hospital CEO stated he found an ingenious way to reduce payroll expenses. With a sense of arrogance and conceit, he announced:

I had accounting summarize the number of hospital personnel by residential zip-code. I concluded that for every employee residing in a low income area, we can pay them less, for their cost of living is less. Thus, we should not pay them anymore than they need. They shouldn’t get rich off of us

Horrified someone actually thought of this, my repugnancy grew as Board members unanimously confirmed this was a fantastic strategy.

Another moment occurred during a hospital takeover. An ignorant hospital CEO was meeting with his executive staff when he queried the Information Technology Director.

You know,” the CEO stated. “When the buyout is complete, you’ll have two data analysts.
Yes,” the IT Director confirmed.
Well, get rid one.
Now.” the CEO interrupted.. “I want him gone today.
But,” the IT Director countered. “I don’t know what he does yet?
Now!” yelled the CEO.
Yes sir.

The lesson is clear – cut expenses, increase profit. If you don’t, management is likely to find someone who will. What’s strange is we’re willing to blow multimillion dollars on overhyped sports warriors. For instance, NBA players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng signed two-year contracts in what is believed to be an effort to reach free agency just after the new NBA profit sharing deal comes to fruition. Rams management was stupid enough to pay Quarterback Sam Bradford over $60 million in signing bonus during the past four years – for what?

Being one of the thousands receiving pink slips, you’re no longer considered valuable, loved or part of the team. Employee morale parties and team building exercises are show and tell fodder. And should one presume such activities contribute to the moral fiber of work, I dare ask, “In accepting the multimillion dollar contracts, does anyone really believe sports gladiators really gives a spit for the working family of said town?

Having been speared by corporate greed, this Buddhist heart says we spend far more time worrying and fretting about such fears than what’s required to confront and deal with them. To those on the corporate fast track, most of you are heading straight toward major car-wrecks. You may be a master of procedures or technology, but you need to learn the nuances of coverage, liability and valuing things with no price tags, like arms and legs, time and companionship.

All of us must do what leadership cannot – focus on eternal things, the things that matter to God, focus on love. That’s what has lasting value.