June 29; Is Employee Theft Management’s Fault?
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Six: Correction; 29 June

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?

When will you get up from your sleep?

Proverbs 6:9

Is Employee Theft Management’s Fault?

Got Sloth?

“Let’s fire the whole lot of them,” I say to the CEO. He sits back, frustrated.

The five-person team was given a number of projects but failed to meet critical milestones.

“Well,” he says, “They have not delivered…”

This is the challenge of every manager. Great plans were made (what should get done) and organizing (who does the work). However, the ‘lead’ and ‘control’ parts of management were not working.

“I know there are some politics involved.” This is my attempt at diplomacy. The team in question had relatives in high places. It felt like we were running an adult day-care center where board members’ dull nephews were dumped. Like union members, they could not easily be terminated.

The CEO didn’t have the energy to fight multiple political-personnel problems.

Some re-org-ing was going to happen to attempt to find a fit when we could not fire.


General Matthew Ridgway, hero of the Korean War, was not concerned about incompetent nepotism. He was looking for the best leaders. He said,

Try to find good men to fill key spots. Give them full authority for individual actions, but check them relentlessly to see they speed the main job. And if they don’t produce, fire them.

Ridgway was primarily talking about the officer corps, but they wouldn’t all be “fired” as we know in the common understanding. Where there was not a fit, the man might comfortably retire from the service or was reassigned.  But this would require pushing.

A fit would nearly always have to be found in the military lower ranks even for the mis-fits. Even the laziest in the Army could not easily be terminated.


On the civilian side, union members are nearly impossible to fire. Organized labor has often been accused of feather bedding and bargaining for less demanding work. This is a management challenge. Employees, even if unionized, must be led and motivated because unhappy workers will retaliate.

Decades ago the now defunct Eastern Airlines had trouble with lethargic, foot dragging baggage handlers.

It was not that the employees were lazy. No, they kept themselves quite busy by breaking into passengers’ luggage and stealing valuables. A disgruntled union employee may or may not file a grievance with the shop steward. It is more likely he will take out his unhappiness on customers.

The one word that can describe management is ‘relationship.’ Academics and journalists love to hate Jack Welch as CEO of GE. But Welch never had a union problem. He didn’t have a strike in 21 years. He knew how to manage.

Maybe the union thugs were not the lazy ones at Eastern Airlines. Maybe it was lazy management.

Proverbs 6:9 is telling us that sloth, not doing our duty in our business, is a burden on others. It is like a public sin that embarrasses the church, How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?



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