This week, ninety year-old ex-furniture retailer Michael Greene connects his woman-watching experience, to furniture store corporate downsizing.
Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90)
Lately, the 113-pound, geriatric hulk here has been making a close survey of America's Number One Project: Personal Downsizing. It's been a thrilling escapade.
Forever, I've always delighted passing and meeting pretty women, especially the natural, real, week-day ones. And today it's no difference, having passed the ninety-year age marker of admiring the gift of in-depth beauty. Ask my Bubbila.
The reason I've been taking an extra good look is because recently when I had to register for some physical therapy sessions, I also got the side benefit of getting a good view of the pool and aerobics exercise participants.
What did I see? I saw size 10 women zipping and sweating down to size 4. And I also saw size 4 women in another glass-encased gym maintaining that size. Around the corner, I saw 42-inch waist guys muscling their way down to 36 inches as they ran on treadmills that go nowhere, and lifting barbells that weigh more than I do.
I admire such dedication and say: More power, kids! As for me, if I ever gain 10 pounds, I'm sure my doctor will put me in the hospital for observation.
All of which brings me to a similar case of downsizing: Corporate downsizing; which if mandated, requires the maintenance of a wise percentage. The percentage should be modest enough so that when the "Go" light turns green, the corporation doesn't fall on its corporate posterior for the lack of necessary brain power and trade acumen.
So, you ask, how are we going to "save" the company and still make a buck?
- By using a scalpel instead of an ax. By using ingenuity and sensitivity on all corporate levels.
- By offering part-time plans for a one-third slice in salary and hours that are palatable for the down-sizer and down sizee.
- A-n-d if you do have an important employee position open, make sure that you aren’t being too picky or too cheap. I recently listened in on an interview with David Wessel, economics editor at The Wall Street Journal. He said that many corporations are so focused on finding exactly the right person at the lowest price, that they keep positions open to long. Way too long. Yes, there are lots of unemployed people out there, but paying too little often gets you what you pay for -- or nothing! Being too picky can lead to understaffing on those occasional high volume days. Plus, important work may never get done. Downsizing can also result in workload being shifted to other workers in your store, causing overwork and mistakes.
You're NUTS! Grandpa, you cry. What will our number crunchers, the accountants say?
They'll scream until they realize that instead of "saving" $100,000,000 in brutal, risky downsizing, they'll save $33,000,000 and still keep the standby brain-power to handle sudden hot-spot surges and voluntary departures.
Or, instead of just looking at the easy-to-look-at cost-side -- if they also look at the hidden-costs of downsizing that show up on the revenue and efficiency side -- will they get a shock!
Getting back to my original people-watching observation from the Physical Therapy department, I think it is safe to say, that although you can make yourself more attractive by slimming down, it can be unhealthy to starve yourself or your business.
Has the ol’ geezer here blown his business gasket? Don't ask me, I'm prejudiced.
Thanks, again, for listening.
Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90
Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS. See the new YouTube music video staring me, Grandpa Mike-e-e! with my granddaughter Becca in a supporting role at http://bitly.com/qALkrX
About Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e!)
Retailer, author, columnist, lecturer, composer and lyricist.
Came to US with immigrant parents in 1924 at the age of three.
Graduated high school at 16.
Managed a small bedding retail and manufacturing company at 18 in 1939.
Hired as Assistant to the VP of Purchasing (Sweets Corp. of America... approximately 500 employees) in 1940 at 19.
Drafted into US Army Signal Corp - Communications Personnel Div., Fort Monmouth.Tested and selected for Army Specialized Training Program, Rutgers University. Qualified for O.C.S. - Officer Candidate School and graduated as Second Lieutenant, Inventory/ Personnel Division in 1944 at 23.
Married his sweetheart, Anita, and he gives thanks to the Almighty that they are still sweethearts... after 73 years.
Rejoined Sweets Corp as Director of Personnel in 1945 at 24.
Joined his suddenly widowed sister as President of a small retail/ manufacturing company in 1946. Stayed on for 46 years managing the custom designing of over 20,000 childrens rooms and master bedroom beds.
Attended Hofstra University (evening program), and graduated in 1968 at age 47. Two of his kids followed right along at two other college campuses.
Applied for 30 day temporary columnist opening offered by the Reed Business Newspapers in NC and stayed on for 27 years. His retail columns were distributed everywhere from Brooklyn to Bangladesh, to Belgium to Beijing.
Traveled the US and visited with 3rd/ 4th generation retail owners.
He was admitted to the Writers Hall of Fame for, "Conspicuous Excellence In reports and appraisals of the furniture industry."
Retired from retail management at age 70.
BOOKS: (1) At age 72: published first book "Where's The Green Pea?" vegetable character stories including his original music and CD.
Designed programs for primary and pre-K schools and presented them with his Anita. (2) At age 76: Gee! I Wish I Had A Bedroom All My Own," lectured in middle schools (teenage), with tech info for parents, teachers and students in Home
Science. (3) At age 80: Tzedakah - Caring And Sharing classic book with original music CD and illustrations for high school chorales and drama groups.
At 89 -- published Retail Life: How To Get In, Stay Alive a-n-d Love It! in online and printed version for business schools, industry, and entrepreneurs. Includes how-to educational section for "Wise Women Who Love A Challenge" and "Oldtimer Retailers Who've Missed Some Basic Goodies In Business Promotion. Also provides business professors and career students seeking everyday practical trade experiences and business thinking.
Invited to address Levitz Furniture retail salespersons, Furniture Designer Associate members,
IHFRA sales associations, High Point University students and F.I.T. retailer evening sessions. Also accepted as an ASID associate member.
At 90 plus... is a musical playwright, composer and lyricist with original music and thinking for very young and very old America.
Furniture World Magazine-Business solutions for furniture retailers