Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

WSJ: A No-Jerks Rule Can Make Your Business (And Law School) Thrive

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Wall Street Journal, The Benefit of a No-Jerks Rule:

The JerkSoon after Ravi Saligram took charge of the company that makes Sharpie markers and Graco strollers, he offered his new workforce a blunt message: “no assholes,” read a slide shown to about 30,000 employees around the world.

It was 2019, and Newell Brands Inc. was debt-laden, losing sales and struggling through yet another restructuring.

In a town-hall style meeting at the company’s Atlanta headquarters, he laid out his management philosophy. It was typical fare until Mr. Saligram, the former CEO of OfficeMax and Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc., flipped to a bullet-point list of his key tenets—starting with his PG-13 edict.

“I was taken aback,” recalls Lisa McCarthy, an executive who was in attendance. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is a different way of doing things.’ ”

Mr. Saligram, 65 years old, says the mandate is as serious as slashing debt and boosting sales, which have improved dramatically during his tenure. The company’s share price is up about 33% since he became CEO, more than other consumer-products companies over the same period.

Executive infighting and fear among employees that they would be punished for mistakes crippled Newell more than any other issue, from the company’s tangled bureaucracy to its struggling brands to blows from Covid-19

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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