Should a company wait until the situation is dramatic before it starts laying off people? Or should it act preemptively? It's a big question in management.
There is no free ride. If you act preemptively too much in advance, you're going to demoralize your people. There is no way you're going to motivate them. And if you don't motivate them, you are going to lose a lot of strengths in your company. People don't believe you. They don't trust you. They think it's only about money, and it's not about people.
The reality is, money is the scorecard. It's not the objective. The people are the objectives. But you cannot do good management of people if you refuse this scorecard.
You always have to keep your eye on your people, because they are your main asset and they are going to make the results of the company. If they are motivated they will bring you good results.
The scorecard has very simple terms. It's net income. It's return on invested capital. That's the law. Unfortunately, human society still has not figured out a better system than this one to create value.
By acting too much in advance, you're going to weaken your corporate culture and weaken your people's motivation. But if you wait too long, saying 'I'm people-oriented. I'm not going to do what the job requires me to do,' well, that is the Nissan story before 1999.
I arrived at a company where decisions should have been taken many years ago. And if they would have been taken many years earlier, it would not have been as bitter as what we had to do in 1999.