My Biggest Mistake: Joe McNally - I failed to put long-term benefits above short-term pains
Joe McNally, now in his early 50s, went to the meat business FMC Harris, where he became a managing director. He founded Compaq in the UK in 1984
Wednesday 07 April 1999
Because it is such a low- profit business, one of the problems I had was the remuneration method for paying the slaughtermen: it was mainly for overtime and piecework. It was totally out of sync, and at some stage we just wouldn't be making any money at all. Somebody had to change the pay policy for most of the factory work but, although I recognised that quite early on, I did nothing about it. I was so terrified that I would disrupt the business in the short term that I failed to understand the importance in the longer term. I didn't follow my instincts and make changes, which would have caused the unions to pull the workers out on strike and meant I would lose two weeks of production, rather than stop the basic fabric being undermined by methods and procedures which had been running for 25 years. About two or three years from the time I should have taken the decision, the business was in such a desperate state that we were subject to a hostile takeover because profits were so weak.
I was in an environment that was quite alien - a bureaucratic, autocratic environment - with people on the old boys' network. I was about 34 at the time, and my nearest colleague on the board was 62. Unfortunately, I was swayed by the consensus and attitude of the board at that time. The lesson I learnt was never to get confused by the age of people. At Compaq, if we have young people who demonstrate a competency, we say, `Give them the opportunity to prove that. Delegate where you feel comfortable in doing so, irrespective of whether the person is young or even inexperienced'. One of Compaq's hallmarks is to have an open management style so that we listen to each other. It's a young company, and we allow people to make decisions. The message is to do it if you think it's right, irrespective of whether in the short term it may have an adverse effect, provided you are absolutely convinced there is a long-term benefit to the corporation.
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 1 Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 2 Hells of residence: Inside Macedonia's horrifying student accommodation - where the walls are green and the food is black
- 3 First Kiss video: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 Rampaging elephant smashes up house but then 'saves crying baby trapped under debris'
iJobs Money & Business
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: One of the i...
£57000 - £77000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Top 10 Specialist...
£350 - £450 per day: Harrington Starr: Harrington Starr are currently working ...
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support - FIX protoco...