By Michael Pochan

It is January 2012. Not only are your sales down, fuel prices are still up… and your people’s morale is suffering  (we have been in tough times since Septemeber 2008 with little good news).  If your reality is like that of General Carbide Corp. of Hempfield Township in Western PA , you need to cut operating costs, but you do not want to lay people off if you can avoid it. But it is a tough call. You cannot ignore the situation, so you act.

See their story here

Hempfield plant workers get $250,000

by Joe Napsha, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW  Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Here are the key takeaways from what company president Mona Pappafava-Ray did:

1) She tried to avoid any layoffs; that would disrupt production; everyone took a pay cut INCLUDING she and management; everyone shared the pain to save the business; she was compassionate and led by example.

Here is what not to do: “Heinz celebrates biggest profit jump ever with… mass layoffs” – May 31 2011…AND the CEO is back to taking huge compensation; would you want to kick in and help him if he asked for cuts from everyone?

2) She understood the operating numbers of her business and was able to take action with a clear path to recovery; great leadership requires a plan.

3) Pappafava-Ray was open and honest with everyone; maintain your ethics always!

4) She kept her promise to the people.

Not only did the company survive and recover, it is growing in a poor economy. And each worker got their lost wages plus more. Want to guess how the morale is ?

This is an example of great leadership.

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