Soundview Executive Book Summaries

It Can Happen to Anyone

One of the more interesting stories to result from the financial fallout of the last several years is the way in which the American work force has experienced the downturn. Traditionally, times of recession bring about an inverted pyramid of impact in relation to the structure of any company. The workers who constitute the broad base of the pyramid are generally the hardest hit. Their jobs are first to disappear, as roles that were important during times of boom are deemed to have too much weight on the bottom line to be retained. Mid-level managers constitute the middle of the pyramid and experience layoffs in the areas that commonly get hit hard during times of economic uncertainty.

This leaves executives at the top of the pyramid. This is a group that forms a key component of our audience here at Soundview, one that usually is tasked with returning a company to its previous highs. However, in the same way that so little of this economic climate is predictable, executives have been facing the challenges that traditionally applies to the ground-level: layoffs and the search for comparable employment.

This article from a recent edition of USA Today discusses the difficulty facing executives whose once solid positions have given way beneath the weight of the economic crisis (and its subsequent recovery process). As companies try to recover lost profits and restore shareholder confidence, the large salaries commanded by many executives are viewed as an expense may firms are as yet unable to handle. Executives are also hurting from the struggling housing market, since many unemployed executives are unable to adequately downsize due to their current homes losing value. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the crisis discussed in the article is the unspoken hiring bias for “overqualified” executives. The impression is that once the economy rights itself, the top execs will leave lower-paying jobs to return to their formerly verdant pastures. Some companies aren’t willing to take the risk and hire someone who is on the clock to depart.

Any executives looking for an extra lifeline during these difficult times may want to consult Soundview’s Survive and Thrive Collection. This set of 15 summaries contains some great information from leading authors on how to navigate the unpredictable nature of our current economy.


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