Firing Talent to Save the Brand
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.
What do you do when your star employee becomes embroiled in scandal? Television producers have Charlie Sheen to deal with; the fashion industry now has John Galliano, Christian Dior's creative director known equally for his fashion genius as well as his flamboyant persona. But when it came out that Galliano had allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks in a Parisian restaurant (a crime that could carry jail time in France), Dior decided it had enough, and canned Galliano. Clearly, Dior's decision to deal swiftly and directly with Galliano made sense in order to protect the brand. But it also underscored a broader question for CEOs: when does an employee's personal life endanger the overall health of the company? Earlier in the month, Google announced its support of Wael Ghonim, a leader of the revolution in Egypt, which provoked a wide range of emotions among Google users. By acting quickly, some posture that Dior even improved its brand image by firing Galliano; Ronald Frasch, the president and chief merchandising officer at Saks Fifth Avenue, told The New York Times, 'My initial reaction is they gained respect by dealing with this directly."
The New York Times to offer daily deals. Today's Mashable reports that The Gray Lady is taking a cue from start-ups like Groupon and LivingSocial, launching TimesLimited, a daily deals service for Times subscribers. The deals, according to Mashable, will come courtesy of the paper's advertising partners, and will focus on luxury goods, similar to Gilt City's deals. 'It's our take on the group buying space, with a focus on premium products and experiences offered for a limited time and in limited quantities,' the Times tells Mashable. 'These will be high-end offers curated for The Times audience."
Employee reviews: utterly useless? Samuel A. Culbert, a professor in the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, has studied employee reviews for years. In his research, he says he's found that reviews are pretty much useless for determining how much an employee contributes to overall company results. Rather, he argues, they provide a measure of how comfortable the boss is with his or her employee. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Culbert applies his research to the situation in Wisconsin. "In the raging battle over union rights in Wisconsin, those seeking to curtail collective bargaining for state employees have advanced an argument that seems hard to resist: It will make it easier to reward those workers who perform the best," he writes. "What could be fairer than that? If only that were true. As anybody who has ever worked in any institution — private or public — knows, one of the primary ways employee effectiveness is judged is the performance review. And nothing could be less fair than that."
Businesses go to church. The Wall Street Journal reports that as U.S. churches grow increasingly tech savvy, more small tech firms are reaping the benefits by tapping into the churches' large networks of generous, loyal, and interconnected churchgoers. In fact, several tech companies report that the majority of their business now comes from churches. "Who better to sell your product or service than the man or woman standing in front of [the congregation] on a weekly basis?" says Barbara Kahn, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's someone they have a relationship with, and more importantly, it's someone they trust."
Japanese phone makers use Andriod for U.S. push. Japanese tech to come stateside? The New York Times reports that Sharp, Japan's largest cellphone maker, is adopting Google's Andriod mobile operating system to help build its global business. While Apple's iPhone is the company's leading competitor in the U.S., Andriod phone sales surpassed Apple's by over 20 million units, globally. Sharp's latest smartphones are creating a huge buzz among gadget lovers, and its push to introduce a series of tablets in the U.S., using Google's system, is motivating other Japanese phone makers to get into the game as well.
Would-be entrepreneurs: You don't need to be smart. Ben Lerer, co-founder and CEO of the entertainment and lifestyle blog network Thrillist, says that intelligence is not the key ingredient in the making of a successful entrepreneur. According to his observations of the entrepreneurial landscape over the years, heart, guts, and luck are attributes that far outweigh smarts. He goes on to add that not being an intellectual may actually prove to be an advantage. "Those people can spend way too much time analyzing risks," he says. "And as many of you know, the overall odds of succeeding are rarely going to be in the entrepreneur's favor."
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