“Where did they find these people?” I asked my friend and employee, Steve. “We would have never hired them at Maxim (Integrated Products).”
I was talking to Steve after I’d been at Micrel for a month as General Manager of one of the company’s three divisions. Steve had been at Micrel for two years, and he was a large part of the reason why I decided to join Micrel. We had worked together at Maxim, Micrel’s direct competitor, and I was sharing my thoughts of what I’d observed.
“You must have been pulling your hair out,” I laughed.
“It’s been tough,” Steve said to me in the understatement of the century.
Your success can hide a lot of bad personnel decisions.
Two years earlier, the division was flying high, doing around $100 million in revenue. However, the year before I joined Micrel, the division did around $10 million in revenue.
I was hired to fix the problems, and bring the division back to its previous glory. Many of the problems were easy to identify and easy to fix. There were issues with collateral development, project management, and advertising that were right out of business 101.
The personnel issues would take longer because my plan was to literally fire everyone, with the exception of Steve. He was the only person worth keeping.
As I said to Steve, “They (Micrel’s management) got drunk on their own success. No one looked deep to see they had a bunch of people that didn’t know what they were doing.”
“What are you going to do about (the Michelin Man)?” Steve asked me.
You’re going to get mediocre results with a mediocre team.
The Michelin Man (so named because he used to fold his arms around himself, making him look like the Michelin Man) ran engineering, and he was a big part of the problem. “I would love to fire him,” I said. “But it’s not my decision because he reports to ‘Bob’ (the CEO). For now, I’m going to focus on products within their (the engineering team’s) capabilities.”
Steve nodded his head. Then I continued. “Part of the problem is (the Michelin Man) had them trying to develop…