How not to cut 12,500 jobs: a lesson from Microsoft's Stephen Elop

Axe In Tree Stump

How not to cut 12,500 jobs: send your staff a windy 1,100-word memo that starts "hello there", proceeds to torture its readers with phrases like "appropriate financial envelope" and then finally mentions job cuts about two-thirds of the way through.

Did Stephen Elop, formerly boss of Nokia but now Microsoft's executive vice-president of devices and services, ask anybody to read this stuff before he pressed "send"? One assumes not because a well-intentioned colleague would have told him to cull at least one of the two uses of the phrase "the finest of Microsoft's digital work and digital life experiences" in the first three paragraphs.

The worst of it, of course, is the time it takes Elop to get to the job cuts. When he does, he devotes just two sentences to the subject – 12,500 posts at Nokia will go as the Microsoft takeover is completed and there will be severance benefits. Then he's back to banging on about "iconic" tablets and "new interaction models".

At Nokia, Elop became famous for writing a memo that compared the company's position to that of a man on a burning oil platform. His bosses didn't like it but at least it caught the reader's attention.

This latest dispatch is jargon-heavy management bluster. Apple and Samsung have nothing to fear.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Nils Pratley, for The Guardian on Thursday 17th July 2014 19.07 Europe/London

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