Saturday, July 21, 2007

Zander's Trying Harder and he's Stopped Predicting the Business

Thursday's Motorola results were as disappointing as they were advertised a week ago in the pre-announcement.

We did learn a few things: (1) Ed Zander said in an interview afterwards that "I'm trying hard guys, I really am" and (2) Ed Zander's stopped trying to predict the business because management hasn't been too good at that lately.

That said, this is still a business in tremendous need of changes. Since I launched my "Plan B" campaign for Motorola almost 2 weeks ago, no one has emailed me or commented that they support Zander. In fact, many of the current 125 "pledgers" according to emails I've received are current Motorola employees.

The morale is extremely low at Motorola. It appears that most employees feel that if Zander and the rest of the Senior Leadership Team had been doing their jobs for the last few years, it wouldn't be necessary to hack 8,000 rank-and-file jobs. However, the anger isn't limited to Zander. When I chat with current or ex-Motorola employees, I ask them who else on the SLT they like and admire. I haven't received back any specific SLT names yet. People seem to respect those in legal and finance - that's it.

Changing Zander at the top is not a panacea, but it is a necessary first step.

And what about the rumors that COO, Greg Brown, is being considered as a candidate for CEO by the board? It's puzzling. Although a strong internal candidate for CEO is always preferable to an external one, aren't the operations of Motorola over the last year plus at the heart of the mess the company is currently in? Doesn't that lie at the feet of the COO, after the CEO? Why would the board reward that lack of performance (or put him on the board - as has also been rumored)?

The external candidates whose names have appeared in the press give some positive hope for changes ahead at Motorola. All look good - at least on paper.

Does anyone at HP now think their board moved too fast to remove Carly? Would they have been better keeping her, because how could they have found anyone else to run the business? This is an absurd argument. And, yet, we have heard some analysts in the last week make this kind of pitch for why it would be better to keep Zander in place, rather than search for.a replacement. Ridiculous. Go ask HPers what they think of their company under Mark Hurd and how Carly ran it.

The fixes for Motorola are more involved than just replacing Zander. But until the board pulls off that one band-aid and makes that change, it can't address the other areas.

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Anonymous said...

I was watching "The Empire Strikes Back" this weekend, and relished the moment when Master Yoda chides Luke for whining about his X-Wing fighter, which had sunk into a swamp on the planet Dagobah.

When Yoda tells Luke to raise the X-Wing fighter from the swamp, Luke responds, "I'll give it a try."

And, in a classic line, Yoda responds, "No. Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try."

Instructive words for everyone, especially those in leadership positions...