After a management meeting with line workers at Cypress Semiconductor, CEO T.J. Rodgers fired off an angry memo to remind managers of some basic principles:

"[An] employee asks for the obvious. She asks whether or not we could put together a small book of policies that relate to direct-labor employees. The book would include policies on attendance, warnings, etc. It is an embarrassingly simple and obvious idea....Sensing a chance to demonstrate to the employees that we do care, I ask the vice president of Human Resources (remember, he's the one who is supposed to care about people) to get the book out ASAP. His answer is that he can 'get something out sometime in the middle of the first quarter.' He might as well have said, 'I'm real busy, and helping these direct-labor people understand the rules that could cause them to be fired really isn't too important."

"Fran Stuart, a valued employee who has been with us for almost seven years, then asks about her safety glasses. The company has directed that all employees have safety prescription glasses. She wants to know if her glasses have arrived yet, since she ordered them over a month ago....Too bad her glasses are not something important -- like spare parts for a down piece of...[production] equipment. In that case, we would have been hammering on the source for late delivery...."

"People, our employees are smart -- they can see right through our platitudes and can study our hollow actions. If Cypress is ever to become a great company, we on the management team must change the way we treat them."

-- From No-Excuses Management , by T.J. Rodgers, William Taylor, and Rick Foreman (Doubleday/Currency, 1992, $35)

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