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  1. Brad Jones
    Aug 28 - 5:21 pm

    The fact is that prior to impact none of the CEO’s did anything to actually make the changes required to evolve.

    The culture or shared values of high performing organizations are owned and proactively managed by the human resources function. Unfortunately for the shareholders and employees, the various HR leads refused to embrace the changes required to compete in the fast moving digital environment. In fact they did everything in their power to maintain the culture of entitlement that protected the workforce from accountability.

    In 1997, I was an HR Director in the newly formed Digital and Applied Imaging business unit. We had created a process for continuous positive change to build our competitive capabilities. A core element of the target culture was accountabilty for business results. We decided that our annual rewards for managers needed to be based on business results rather than just showing up. Two of our product lines had very poor results that year, and we gave zero stock options and zero bonuses to those managers. The two impacted managers complained to Mike Morley, the corporate HR VP, and we were ordered to give these losers the options and bonuses that they were entitled to receive. Shortly thereafter, having concluded that Kodak leadership was not committed to long term success, I took an early retirement to work on things that would make a difference.

    A few weeks after George Fisher started as CEO at Kodak he visited the Research Labs and pledged to his fellow scientists there that he would never have a lay off in R&D. This meant that the company could not begin to divert its R&D spending from silver halide to digital (chemists don’t write code). The company continued to spend $800M on film and paper while investing only $50M in digital. That was the day that George Fisher killed Eastman Kodak. Had all $850M been invested in digital products and technology each year (and the company brought in the marketing talent needed), Eastman Kodak would once again be healthy, vital, and admired.

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