Shrinking the Power Gap

My response to recent layoffs

Does the unjust use of power hit you in the gut? Me too. This realization comes with news of Twitter’s new CEO and his decision to “part ways” with 336 employees. Maybe you’re not a Twitter fan, but you’ve been effected by these kinds of leadership decisions.


Let me start by saying I’ve been a Twitter user since 2009. Admittedly, I only recently realized what an enjoyable tool it can be. I made the mistake many people make. “Let’s tell the world all about ME”, instead of joining the conversation and helping others. O.K, I confess. Can we move on?

But it’s more than just the possibility of an enjoyable form of social media losing some of it’s quality. I’m not saying we should all pull the plug for a day, though some may do that. I’m just mostly bummed for 336 people who had a job last Tuesday and don’t have one today. If that’s hard to process, just imagine how you’d feel if you lost your job today. Right now you no longer have income. Why? Just because.

The because in this case is “we feel strongly that Engineering will move much faster with a smaller and nimbler team, while remaining the biggest percentage of our workforce.” So ultimately, it’s all about being a faster company at the expense of the people who created it. It’s not because it’s what’s best for everyone. We just want to be able to move faster. Toward what? Becoming a company who fosters insecurity in its employees?

But it gets better. CEO, Jack Dorsey shared: “Twitter’s product and engineering teams would endure the “most significant structural changes, with the rest of the organization to be streamlined in parallel.”  Which means “if you work for us today, there’s a good chance you won’t next week.” This is the kind of thinking wearying the work force around the globe. Why invest your time, talent and energies in something bigger than yourself, if what you pour yourself into will possibly swallow you whole? But Boa Constrictor companies and organizations continue these types of practices at the utter expense of small guys like you and me.  Seemingly.

So what can you do? Great question! I’m wondering myself.

Here are some of my initial thoughts.

Number one: Be a leader worthy of trust.

Leadership is a special endowment. As leaders we are to protect, nurture and pour into those we invest in. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to do anything that will make the ones who work with me wonder how secure their future is. I want to do whatever’s in my power to make sure the team I lead is going somewhere, together.  I want them to know there’s a family portrait awaiting all of us in the Promised Land. How about you?

Number two: Time spent encouraging the disenfranchised is always time well spent.

My heart seriously goes out to the 336 people effected by this decision. I want you to know someone has taken notice and really cares. Thank you for your contribution!  We all rise up and bless you. Because of your labors and dedication we’re all able to experience one of the coolest platforms on the planet.  Your work matters!  We affirm you!

Number 3: I find it fascinating someone who heads up an organization fueled by collaboration and teamwork would go through the trouble of making such a monumental move after only 8 days behind his Mahogany desk.

I wonder what went through his mind. The loss of just one or a handful of computer programmers and engineers seems unthinkable, let alone 336! I remember losing my Grandfather and walking around wondering where to find everything on the family farm. Before I could just ask him and he’d show me. When you lose 336 employees, you can be sure things are going to be a number of challenges and setbacks. It doesn’t seem like a sound way to propel yourself forward as a business. What do you think?  

Number 4: The world is changing.

Companies want dedicated employees.  But whatever happened to companies and organizations who intentionally better the lives of their employees?  Is the age of job security so far gone she can’t be resurrected? Maybe this is all part of a trend where the disenfranchised and the dead rise up and industry is at our mercy. Why work for someone else, when you can work for yourself? Not saying you should quit your day job. But it might not help to move in the direction of independence.

Number 5: Don’t give up!

Never let the actions of a handful of people make you lose hope in the masses. Some of the people at the top are there because they excelled at putting themselves first. Not all, but some. Most people are decent human beings who enjoy helping and encouraging one another. Truth be told, that’s why some of them are “poor”. They give wholeheartedly to others and sacrifice their own comfort in the process. Hard to believe? Yes.  But true. They are amazingly beautiful people without a voice. If you don’t believe me, do a little research on the web and find out how God is using “ordinary” people. I’m especially excited about what is happening in Nigeria! I recently posted a quote by author Sam Adeyemi and made some wonderful connections with people in Nigeria. In some cases I was the first to follow some of them, despite the fact they had pages with great content. Why? The power gap. Let’s shrink it with every last bit of energy we have.

Imagine how you’d feel if you were posting spectacular content to social media forums and you had NO followers. Nada. Zero! Meanwhile, the ‘big names’ just keep getting bigger and richer. Funny how that works. Now imagine how you’d feel if you went on a site and saw you had 1 follower! I had the pleasure of being the first follower in two different instances this week. I admit, it felt pretty good.  Seems to me the company is small and nimble enough as long as that’s happening.

How about you? Does the power gap make you sick to your stomach or are you o.k with it? By power gap I mean instances where people use their own personal power at the expense of those who have none. I’m learning service is all about others, not myself. Everything doesn’t move faster when we look at people as dispensable cogs in a machine, but human beings who have dreams of their own. Let’s face it, most people dream of succeeding, not worrying how they’re going to feed their children.

Go out today and look for diamonds in the rough. Every one wants a sparkling diamond, but few want to invest in the ones who need work. How do we shrink the power gap? One person at a time. Small is the new big. You don’t just invest in individuals so that your organization will grow. You do it because it’s the right thing to do.  What are you doing to shrink the power gap?

Was there a time when you felt like someone used their power at your expense? How did it make you feel?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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