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D-I-A
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-29-2013
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Little Known Secrets

Barnes and Noble CEO, William Lynch, gets paid the big bucks (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/william-lynch-barnes-noble-ceo-pay_n_1698316.html) while his workers' hours are cut and their benefits are taken away, all the while they are being hounded to do the impossible. In my experience as a bookseller, attempts to help customers, going above and beyond, were met with disdain. See the little-known live journal dedicated for booksellers to communicate their experiences: http://bn-booksellers.livejournal.com/

 

Their Glassdoor entry isn't particularly encouraging of best practices either: http://www.glassdoor.com/Overview/Working-at-Barnes-and-Noble-EI_IE2439.11,27.htm

 

Attempts at unionizing are always met with swift tyrannous action: http://booksellersunion.org/

 

The company, under William Lynch, outright stole the original Nook design from another company, and ended up quietly settling the matter: http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/03/spring-design-vs-barnes-and-noble-all-the-nooks-and-crannies/

 

If you really want to support your local Barnes and Noble, give a bookseller a well deserved compliment and encourage them to leave this sinking company.

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Schwa
Posts: 972
Registered: ‎11-18-2010

Re: Little Known Secrets

[ Edited ]

None of what you mentiones is "little known" and the William Lynch "news" was discussed quite a bit on these very forums.  While there is a valid argument against such earnings (see Occupy Wall Street et al), Mr Lynch is hardly unique.  The Spring Design settlement was also well known and discussed as well.

 

Glass door attracts, well, detractors.  I have found very little useful info there about any company, just disgruntled emplyees.

 

Livejournal employee blogs, lol.

 

If you are/were an unhappy B&N employee I hope you find something better.  I recommend something not retail, because I don't think it's much different in most retail careers.

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roustabout
Posts: 3,609
Registered: ‎03-31-2011
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Re: Little Known Secrets

Actually, the spring design device was new to me.

 

On looking at it, it looks like a sort of interesting device.  It looks like the sort of interesting device I saw at Barnes and Noble and decided was not something I wanted to buy.  I'd have been far less likely to buy it from a design shop I'd never heard of being sold through a pure consumer electronics play.  

 

There are plenty of reasons to be annoyed with BN, and the OP has not actually identified the actionable behavior I personally find to be the most persuasive reason not to mind so much if BN winds up in deep trouble due to some other outfit's Pinky and the Brain scheming.  

"no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.
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keriflur
Posts: 6,552
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Little Known Secrets

So a bunch of things that have have been publicly written about on major sites around the internet are little known secrets?

 

Hey, you guys, I've go a little known secret too.  The Brooklyn Bridge is in New York City! :smileysurprised:

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5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011
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Re: Little Known Secrets

[ Edited ]

1) CEO Pay is definitely out of touch these days with normal employee pay.

 

Truth is that a CEO's decisions have HUGE impact and might be the difference between a company doing super well or doing badly.

 

So companies have to find some way to incentivize and get the best people.

 

The actual problem, in my opinion, is the opposite - companies are seeing so much competition they can't pay workers fairly.

 

CEO is impossible to get by without and there's a very limited pool. So they have to pay well.

 

*****

 

2) Think of it as two separate things (not interlinked)

 

To survive and prosper a company needs exceptional executive level people - so they MUST be paid very well.

 

Often, companies get caught in the competition cycle and have to lower costs. So most other people in the company suffer.

 

It's not that the CEO is getting paid money that should go to normal people. It's that there isn't enough money to pay everyone well.

 

*******

 

3) Companies have to compete with everyone across the world.

 

The only companies that can pay EVERYONE well are companies that are doing super well.

 

And even those companies often don't. Contrast pay of

 

Apple CEO

 

Apple store worker

 

Apple devices assembler.

 

It's the same thing everywhere.

 

*****

 

4) I don't really see any option. You should quit and find some place that has the ideal fit for you or you should work as a freelancer.

 

Companies are unlikely to be in a position to pay you super well. And even if they are, most won't.

 

*****

 

5) If the CEO isn't good then the company fails to do well and it dies. That means all the jobs are gone.

 

So, if anything, you should hope your company hires a really good CEO and pays him/her well so there's incentive to do well.

 

*****

 

6) As the article says, a lot of the salary is in stock options. So look on the bright side. Now your CEO has a very strong incentive to make sure your company does well and that increases the chances you'll have a job.

 

*****

 

7) I really do understand your point. However, it's easy to underestimate the impact a CEO has on a company. Just read a bit about Jack Welch to see what difference it can make.

 

Jack Welch: He was chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. During his tenure at GE, the company's value rose 4000%

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keriflur
Posts: 6,552
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Little Known Secrets

There is not a limited pool of potential CEOs.

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deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012

Re: Little Known Secrets

Some organizations succeed in spite of a CEO rather than because of a CEO.  Some (many?) CEOs are grossly incompetent and grossly overpaid.  I have worked for a couple of organizations that no longer exist because of incompetence at the top.  Their CEOs, however, retired as very wealthy men. 

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patgolfneb
Posts: 1,757
Registered: ‎09-10-2011
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Re: Little Known Secrets

CEO pay has to a large extent become disconnected from performance. Since the impact of a CEO's decisions are often reflected 2-3 years or more in the future they are often being compensated for a predecessors actions or the general state of the economy. Since compensation is determined by board members normally drawn from other firms they tend to take care of each other, including a shared vision of their own worth and entitlement.
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MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,173
Registered: ‎07-25-2011

Re: Little Known Secrets


keriflur wrote:

There is not a limited pool of potential CEOs.


Many companies seem to feel that hiring an experienced CEO is essential, even if his last position was a disaster (Robert Nardelli) and his previous employer (Home Depot) paid him hundreds of millions to go away.  It is the same logic which causes sports teams (Red Sox) to hire experienced managers with, at best, mediocre records (Bobby Valentine) rather than giving the job to someone one rung down who is ready for promotion.

The CEO who is actually hundreds of millions of dollars more valuable than an alternative candidate is rare (if there is one at all), and most of the alleged examples are those who took charge of a company just before a huge growth period that might well have occurred under any competent leadership..

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keriflur
Posts: 6,552
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
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Re: Little Known Secrets

That makes those companies downright stupid, no?
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patgolfneb
Posts: 1,757
Registered: ‎09-10-2011

Re: Little Known Secrets

I would attribute the kind of hirings Mac describes as failures of vision, courage. Hiring from the small number of known canidates with established reputations is easy to justify, eslpecially in a crisis enviroment. The herd takes over. 

 

 

Hiring from the hot company in a different field is another frequent strategy. Apple hiring from Pepsi, that worked well didn't it. The hire from a hot competitor in the same industry has a decent track record. There is no substitutee for a board with a clear vision of where they want a company to go. Unfortunately active involved boards have almost dissapeared.

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keriflur
Posts: 6,552
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Little Known Secrets


patgolfneb wrote:

Hiring from the small number of known canidates with established reputations is easy to justify, eslpecially in a crisis enviroment. The herd takes over. 



Not if the established reputation is poor.

 

If I'm looking to hire someone to tie my shoes, and you have experience as a professional shoe-tier, but your last client tripped on a shoelace, fell down an elevator shaft and died, I'd be stupid to hire you.  But this happens all the time for CEOs.

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5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011
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Re: Little Known Secrets

This:

 

Many companies seem to feel that hiring an experienced CEO is essential, even if his last position was a disaster (Robert Nardelli) and his previous employer (Home Depot) paid him hundreds of millions to go away.  It is the same logic which causes sports teams (Red Sox) to hire experienced managers with, at best, mediocre records (Bobby Valentine) rather than giving the job to someone one rung down who is ready for promotion.

 

*****

 

That's the EXACT reason.

 

Whether we like it or not, it's a position akin to a sports team manager. It takes a very specific skill set and a very specific set of experiences to be able to do a CEO position.

 

There really are a very limited number of people who can manage it.

 

Consider the shift from being an individual contributor to being a manager. It's a whole new set of challenges.

 

Now consider going up and eventually hitting the CEO level.

 

You have to now handle

 

People

Finances

Direction

Vision

Day to Day Execution

The Board

Your Direct Reports

Morale

 

And a lot of other things.

 

Both Vision and Planning and Execution are at a very different level from what you'd need if you had just a team of 2-3 people reporting.

 

Chances of someone who's never done it before being able to do even a passable job of it are ZERO. Companies like GE groom CEO candidates. And only a few make the cut. And GE is perhaps a CEO factory. Most companies don't have programs or CEO skills being trained. So they have no one who can Just Step In and Run the Company.

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keriflur
Posts: 6,552
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Little Known Secrets


5ivedom wrote:

 

It takes a very specific skill set and a very specific set of experiences to be able to do a CEO position.

 

There really are a very limited number of people who can manage it.

 


Specific skill set, yes.  Specific experiences, no.  Limited number of people, no.

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MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,173
Registered: ‎07-25-2011

Re: Little Known Secrets

Considering the performance as CEO of those who are hired just because they have previously been a CEO, even if not a good one, I do not accept the claim that these people have shown special skills that you couldn't get elsewhere. 

 

I'm more inclined to go along with Pat's conclusion that the boards lack vision and courage.  The makeup of the boards is a problem in itself, since these days most were chosen by an earlier CEO, primarily for the ability to rubber stamp his decisions.  When it comes time to choose a new CEO, courageous visionary people to lead that process just aren't there.

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5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011
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Re: Little Known Secrets

It's the same thing.

 

What you wrote:

 

The Board doesn't have visionaries and looks for people like them.

 

Is tied in to what i wrote:

 

A limited number of people.

 

*******

 

It's easy to say - there is no limit on 'available CEOs' until you start trying people.

 

The Board might seem like cowards and not visionary enough. However, it's a lot of people's jobs and the entire company's future. The known devil is better than the unknown one.

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Wulfraed
Posts: 995
Registered: ‎11-24-2012
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Re: Little Known Secrets

You all seem to overlook one factor...

 

The Board of Directors is not there to make customers happy! They are there to make SHAREHOLDERS happy.

 

Yes, in many cases that should include a happy customer base, but if making 25% of the customers angry achieves an increase in per share profits, the profits will win.

Baron Wulfraed
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keriflur
Posts: 6,552
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
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Re: Little Known Secrets


Wulfraed wrote:

You all seem to overlook one factor...

 

The Board of Directors is not there to make customers happy! They are there to make SHAREHOLDERS happy.

 

Yes, in many cases that should include a happy customer base, but if making 25% of the customers angry achieves an increase in per share profits, the profits will win.


Yes.  I'm sure all the shareholders of WAMU and Lehman were very pleased.

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patgolfneb
Posts: 1,757
Registered: ‎09-10-2011

Re: Little Known Secrets


Wulfraed wrote:

You all seem to overlook one factor...

 

The Board of Directors is not there to make customers happy! They are there to make SHAREHOLDERS happy.

 

Yes, in many cases that should include a happy customer base, but if making 25% of the customers angry achieves an increase in per share profits, the profits will win.


In the long run if your customers are unhappy the business will go elsewhere. When that happens the investors lose also. This is the core reason that focus on short term growth and profits is destructive.

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MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,173
Registered: ‎07-25-2011

Re: Little Known Secrets

For quite a while, boards have been appointed by the CEO, who usually also chairs the board.  That board then appoints the next CEO.  The shareholders very rarely revolt, or even assert any control at all, and usually not until it's too late.

 

Yes, the board is supposed to work for the shareholders, but they rarely remember that fact.