Layoffs at Thomas Nelson

I hesitated about blogging on this. But it’s kind of the “elephant” in the room. I think I owe it to you, my readers, to blog about the good things as well as the difficult.

Change Meter

As you may have read in Publishers Weekly or the Tennessean, yesterday we laid off slightly less than 10% of our workforce. This was not an easy decision. It fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say this was one of the most difficult decisions of my tenure Thomas Nelson.

Of course, layoffs are not that notable, especially in the current economy. You can’t open the paper without reading about companies laying off thousands and—in some cases—tens of thousands of employees. Sadly, it’s now become routine. Until it happens to you. Or someone you care about.

But, honestly, our layoffs weren’t the result of the economy. They didn’t happen because we had a bad year. (Our fiscal year ended March 31.) To be sure, it wasn’t a great year. But it was decent. We saw modest growth on the top line (about 4%) and really good growth on the bottom line (about 14%).

So then, if it wasn’t the economy, why did we feel the need to layoff these good people? Because we have changed our business strategy:

  • As I have previously announced, we are cutting our new title introductions in half for this year.
  • This change is designed to align us with a shift in the marketplace toward fewer titles generating more of the sales. It will also enable us to invest most of our resources where we can generate the biggest returns.
  • Since we cutting the number of titles we are publishing, we are also adjusting our overall business model and reducing our overhead.
  • Therefore, we have made a modest reduction in the size of our workforce.

Albeit difficult, we believe these changes will put us in a better position to deliver on our promise to inspire the world with inspiring products. With a 50% cut in our new title output and a slight reduction in our workforce, we believe we will be able to allocate even more resources to each title. This is our goal.

Honestly, I hate layoffs. The people affected are our friends. I know this is painful for them. As a result, we are doing everything we can to ease their transition. We believe we have offered fair severance packages (with a one-month minimum) and excellent outplacement services.

Most of the employees affected will be at the company until Friday. During this time, I want to make them feel loved and appreciated. These are good people, who performed well—they have much yet to offer.

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  • http://asianchocolate.typepad.com Laura

    Thanks for speaking about this Mike.

  • http://www.wmarkwhitlock.com W. Mark Whitlock

    I’m praying for those who were laid off. I was laid off last March. Peace, friends. Peace.

  • http://www.kylechowning.com Kyle Chowning

    Thanks for being a company full of integrity and generosity. To strive, from the top down, to make people feel appreciated and loved in the midst of difficult decisions and transition is admirable. Most companies/leaders would move on.

  • Tyler

    Thank you for posting about this instead of pushing it under the carpet.

    I was laid off from another Nashville-based media company a few weeks ago, and I believe that the best thing that you can do for the laid-off employees (other than good severance, etc.) is to make sure that their sacrifices are not made in vain. I understand the unfortunate necessity of layoffs, but I would hate to know my former employer is the same pickle post-layoffs that that they were in pre-layoffs. (Not saying they are. Just saying it hypothetically.)

    Out of respect to your employees, work diligently to make sure that these changes actually do move the company forward. I’m sure you will do so, but I wanted to make sure it was said.
    Thanks.

  • http://www.colleencoble.com Colleen Coble

    That’s one thing I love about you, Mike. You are a straight shooter. and don’t ignore the elephant. I was sad to read about this though and I’ll be praying the hard-working employees find another job soon. I’ve not met a single Nelson employee that I didn’t think was doing a great job.

  • Someone

    I know things happen for a reason. An there is always a bigger picture then what any of us can see. So I pray for all to have patience, strength and peace during this time.

  • http://www.rachelhauck.com Rachel Hauck

    Thanks for the straight talk, Mike. It’s always best to hear about the elephant in the room from the man in the know.

    Blessings to you and all of Thomas Nelson.

    Rachel

  • Anonymous

    Pass out the kool-aid. I can’t believe that the actions that you have been doing can possibly point to being anyone’s will but your own. How horrible this is that you would so readily dismiss those with decades of devoted service and newborn families.

  • http://www.theliterati.net Ang DePriest

    This isn’t about kool-aid. I don’t even like Mike Hyatt, personally. But business is business. It’s his job to run the company. Every publisher in the world is going to hurt from our poor economy and disappearing dollar. There is no way publishers can keep operating the way they have been; fat advances to feed lazy agents and books that never pay out. It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. But publishers, as a corporate whole, are the only ones with the power and ability to do anything to change book publishing for the better. In about 10 years, keeping the course we’re on, book publishing will be what it used to be, a fair and equitable enterprise. Maybe even a little more ethical. Until then, there will be more layoffs and more list reductions. It’s all about the bottom line, and that’s the way it is.

  • Tim Grable

    Tough decisions are never easy to make and more difficult to communicate. Hats off to you for being open and honest. Your new strategy should be an inspiration for everyone to stop making more books and start making better books.

  • http://davidatodd.blogspot.com David Todd

    Thanks for posting this, Mike.

    We had a corporate downsizing the 14th of this month. I survived–the sixth time in my 34 year career to do so–but was given a 10 percent pay cut. With this announcement by TN, I think I am finally ready to say we are in a recession.

  • Anonymous

    I am an avid reader of this blog because I do find Mike’s candid looks at publishing industry trends rather informative. However, I grimace at some of the applause coming from the comments section of this entry.

    Perhaps it is the cynic in me, but why are we giving electronic pats on the back for this? I agree that layoffs are an inevitable fact of life in a “free market” economy; however, I do not believe that writing a blog about it is heroic leadership.

    Rather than writing a blog entry that could be seen as a casual PR release (reference: the detailed points of the generous benefits given to those laid off), I would have been more impressed if Mike announced he has taken a $40,000 pay cut and saved one of these jobs. I would have been more impressed if he said “This is a tough industry and a changing one, but we are not going to act like all the others and put net income above people. We will ride this out for a while and see if we can’t save these jobs.” I would have been more impressed if he candidly said “I have let my team down. Yes, things are changing and some of it is beyond my control, but the buck stops with me, and I failed some people who were solidly in my corner and trusted my leadership.” In my humble opinion, that is straight shooting and leadership. To me, leadership means more than grappling with a hard decision and then proclaiming it to the public as a hard decision. Leadership is doing something extraordinary that may put you personally in an uncomfortable position (financially or with your superiors) for the sake of your team.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Thanks for your comments—positive and negative. I have read and will continue to read every one. I don’t take any of these lightly.

  • Ken Gass

    Hey Mike, I enjoy reading your blog from time
    to time. I am sorry for everyone who lost their job. This must be difficult for you.
    Having gone through losing my job after 11
    years of service, my prayer is that those
    terminated would not be bitter.

  • http://www.walkingalongside.typepad.com Dan Z

    This dialogue is about perspective.

    If you are leading an organization you have the perspective that you are called to be a steward of the company, its people and its resources. Stewardship is all about making tough decisions, and by the way if you have led an organizaton you have made both good and bad decisions.

    If you were just laid off your perspective would be disagrement, sadness, dissapointment, scared and perhaps angry. If you have a family, its all magnified.

    I am working on this, sometimes, I just need to not have an opinion. Thats it, see I dont know Mike or the people affected by this situation. Now I do feel for those affected, absoloutely. The key for me is to not allow my feelings turn into an opinion that ultimately turns into judgement.

    My prayer is first for those that have been let go and that God’s love and blessing would become more real in their lives. For Mike that he would be Spirit lead in his decisions both big and small and for Thomsan Nelson that this company would illuminate a dark world of commerce.

  • Jim Thomason

    If I may give a quick update, the HR team met with the vast majority of those affected yesterday afternoon to carefully go through their packages, answer questions, provide one-on-one counseling as needed, and to provide notary services for those wanting to accept their packages on the spot. Outplacement services are beginning for some, and will start Monday for everyone else. I’ve appointed a staff member to serve as Transition Coordinator for this group, and we’ve pledged to stay with each individual until they find another job or otherwise make a successful transition (some may retire, go back to school, etc…). We’ve discovered three who were either pregnant, or had pregnant spouses, and we extended their benefits until 60 days after their due date so that any company wishing to hire them would not have to pay for those deliveries. In HR, we’re using this list of people as the first place to which we’ll turn when new openings occur, and I’ve cancelled about $15,000 in job board subscriptions to force hiring managers first to this list. Most attitudes so far are positive, and gracious, and I find less negativity among the people let go than on some of the comments above. There’s no kool aid here; just hard work and genuine concern.

  • Anonymous

    There is a lot truth in most of these postings. I know that the management at TN truly agonized over the decisions made, and that friends of friends were touched in ways yet to be realized.

    That said, I also believe that one of the earlier reader responses was right on…all of the VP’s, Executive VP’s, Senior Executive VP’s and elite members of the Executive Board should take “at least” a 10% cut in salaries…and bonuses.

    This would make a statement that out of Christian love, the upper management is willing to take at least a little bit of the hit as well.

    And please, let’s all hope that this isn’t another “Y2K” alarm…

  • Les Dietzman

    Let me applaud you for addressing this difficult situation. I have been on both sides of losing a job, and it is difficult on both sides of the fence. I know how sincere you are in the feelings of sorrow you have expressed. We have done the same thing recently and it is always gut wrenching. Many of our friends here that were affected have already found new, and in some cases, better jobs. Blessings to you in the coming year.

  • John Young

    Most company’s that have reduced their head count by 10% (GE, etc) have adjusted quite well because it became obvious they had had become “fatter than necessary” during the good times.
    All the sales figures have pointed to this day coming with no Harry Potter on the ABA side and no big titles coming on the CBA side this year. We live in an overpublished world and all one has to do is line up the catalogs of all the publishers to see we are in a period of being challenged to find something new, interesting, and necessary. Customers are voting with their dollars saying “I don’t NEED this book this week (unless it’s Kingsbury or Beth Moore).
    A few hits will fix this. Everybody has continued to release too many titles that sell 6000 copies and don’t cover all the costs. That worked in the 80s but in an industry pushing “more” we need more quality not quantity.
    The customer will reveal what they want and I’m positive we’ll be there to fill that need.

  • http://www.teawithtiffany.blogspot.com Tiffany Stuart

    This is an honest and heartfelt post. I’m sad for all who’ve been affected.

  • Anonymous

    I guess I feel maybe this would have been better addressed, personally, first to the ones who lost their jobs… I know I would have never seen this info if it hadn’t been for a connection I still have at Thomas Nelson. We look to our leader in good times and bad and I really expected more. Also I have read other articles saying this was due to economic conditions… so not sure on that one. I still care for Thomas Nelson and it’s people deeply but don’t agree with the way some things are done.

  • windyrdg

    I’m sure you’ve heard the joke about the consultant who advised a publishing company they could make a lot more money if they only published bestsellers. Your new strategy sounds a lot like that to me. If your people were half as smart as you seem to think they are, they’d have already been doing that.

    This type of thinking leads to a “Give me more of what I’ve already got” kind of thinking. Somewhere I recall you saying that a small number of books generated a large proportion of your income. By cutting the new relases in half, you’re doubling your reliance on those few winners. I think you’ll also be much less likely to take a chance on a book that doesn’t seem to fit any established niche. The very one that could be a trend starter and runaway bestseller.

  • Neon Java

    The American word “layoff” is as bad as the English term “redundancy” — as in “Yoikes! I’ve been made redundant!”

    Brooding over a coffee one afternoon, back in the days when I was an employe and subject to things like pink slips and “get your cards and go,” I realised I felt liberated, not redundant. Just changing the vocabulary gave me new perspective and new strength.

    ULTIMATELY, those of us who’ve been liberated find our way to the path leading to God’s next life-stage. ULTIMATELY, those of us who’ve made the excruciating decision to liberate people find the way to our next path, too. Yet, for neither party does the “road less taken” appear without hours of prayer, moments of confusion, and interminable days of trial and error.

    With prayers for the bright future ahead for you, your employes, and your community.

  • Neon Java

    Speaking of TN’s changes in business strategy:

    (1) A few months ago, you wrote an eloquent post on the fallacies of “multi-tasking” and its favoured use in job descriptions. Checking the job postings by TN that same day, only two of the several job openings described by your HR department didn’t refer to multi-tasking; all the others made liberal use of the term. Food for thought.

    (2) I am also a frequent reader of Jeff Jarvis’ Buzzmachine.com. JJ, a former print journalist, offers his thoughts on the deep impact internet technology is having — both the pleasant and the uncomfortable — on publishing generally, newspapers, and business. In some future post of yours to this blog, I’d be interested in your thoughts on this issue, its relevancy to TN, and how internet-impact will shape TN’s business strategies going forward.

    Thanks for the update, too. Good to know you’re able to flex on the manner in which you perform this painful decision.

    To all: hold onto the Jeremiah 29:11 liferaft!

  • http://www.withoutwax.tv Pete Wilson

    Thanks for the authenticity. I will be praying for you guys during this difficult time.

  • http://www.pjmcbooks.com Patrick McLaughlin

    I noted the layoffs in Publisher’s Weekly. More disturbing and perhaps pointing to even more layoffs is that TN will reduce it’s new books by approximately 1/2. So how do you produce 50% what you used to and keep the workforce which was reduced by 10%? This was reported with a 14% increase in bottom line and a 4% increase in top line from FY ending March 31…so scale back? Interesting indeed but perhaps competing with the huge publishing houses who are subsidiaries of massive companies and even smaller houses who are merely imprints of the larger has caught up with the Christian market. Never a dull moment and some interesting math to consider as the publishing world evolves. As a TN author I watch with a discerning eye and wonder.

  • http://www.larryshallenberger.com Larry Shallenberger

    God’s peace and wisdom to you, Michael.

    I think we “spectators” should be slow to evaluate this decision at all, but to watch, observe,learn, and pray. I’m a pastor and author– I need to watch for the leadership lessons as a pastor. And as an author understand the market place better.

    And for goodness sake, if you must play arm-chair QB, be authentic and sign your real name.

  • Tony Jacobs

    AMEN LARRY!

    Windbag, Windrdg, or who ever the name belongs to (see above post) should be hired so that all of Thomas Nelsons trobles, trials, and challenges could come to an abrupt end.

  • Joel

    Mike,
    The publishing industry (ABA and CBA) isn’t the only one re-examining it’s strategy. The financial services (banking and wealth management institutions)industry is also reeling from the types of strategic initiatives that may have contributed to systemic risk. Most often change is resisted rather than embraced. For me, change from the passion of a Christian publishing career at TN resulted in a new, rewarding profession.

    There is life after a lay-off. This is one more life event that will hopefully lead those affected to place more trust in God (not that they don’t have any) and re-discover that our God does have “a plan to prosper us and not to harm us (Jer.29:11)… for in the day of trouble God will keep me safe in His dwelling (Ps 27:5).

    I’m glad you decided to write about the white elephant. I’m also glad you chose to responded to your employees affected by your new strategic plan with severance packages and continued health insurance coverage(not just the COBRA offer) for those who are pregnant. I hope the rest don’t have dependents with chronic illnesses and do not have to face the additional hardship of paying for COBRA.

    TN is a model for the industry. May your new strategic initiative make TN more competitive in the marketplace and contribute to making TN a most admired company in the CBA industry. Going the extra mile with your former employees does help propel TN in that direction.

  • http://www.writingontheedge.blogspot.com Laurie Wood

    I find it strange that a publisher would cut their list in half, with a bottom line increase of 14%. If all Christian publishers do this, all we’ll have to read/buy will be the heavy-hitters like Karen Kingsbury, Beth Moore, and Charles Swindoll. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of beginning authors out there who have just as much talent to give. It feels to me as though Christian publishing is becoming less about leading the world in getting out our Christian faith and worldview, and more about the almighty dollar.
    Putting more resources behind *half* of your publishing list? Now, that really is an elephant in the room. What you seem to be saying is that the heavy-hitters are going to get the support and marketing backing that was spread out over “mid-list” authors. And this benefits who? Not the authors, not the readers, not the unchurched. It benefits TN’s bottom line (and other Christian publishers who’re going the same way), and nothing else.
    I truly hope those severance packages for your employees reflect the biblical principle that “a workman is worthy of his hire”, and that they’ll be able to go on to job places that appreciate them and their efforts.
    And yes, I’d love to read about *any* CEO who’d take a 50% pay-cut (or any paycut)to save a couple of jobs, or save a publishing imprint from folding. Whatever happened to the Golden Rule?

  • A Soldiers Loved One

    Folks seem to forget that even though this company is “Christian” and serves a Christian market, it’s still a business. I learned this the hard way when I temped for this company. Within three month’s God had allowed me to make the best use of my talents, and bring in nearly 20,000 dollars in brand new accounts for the division I worked in, which was huge considering it was a niche market (a handful of special products to a limited market), and I was the only representative/sales person, and point of contact. During my temp time I even found ways of using other Thomas Nelson’s products and tailoring and presenting these to the clients, suggesting ways it could benefit their company, which had not been done before. Was it enough for them to offer me a full time position? No.

    The company would rather have the security of hiring temps and let them go at will. No strings attached. Yet they have this Christian aura around them. The prayer meetings, the hug brigade in the morning as you walk to your desk, the whole nine yards that make it look and feel as wonderful as one could imagine a Christian Company should be. But underneath it was all, still just business.

    The layoff’s were no different. I am sure the reason’s Mike gave are valid. They want to trim down their product offerings, and streamline their workforce.

    But couldn’t some of the people laid off be moved to fill in spots reserved for the temps at end of year crunch time, or during tough quarters when they are trying to make their numbers/budget? Or the niche market I temped for?

    Part of Thomas Nelson’s success is from branding. Many people throughout Thomas Nelson’s existence have come to know the name/brand by way of memorial Bibles, Family Bibles. The layoffs in ministry services alone could have been used to rebuild this forgotten part of Thomas Nelson. Everyone is talking about books to be published, but the greatest book of all is the Bible. How many families out there are now separated by divorce, adoptions, etc…. What about Family Bibles with Family Tree’s and memorial pages to document all members? What about bringing back picture Bibles? What about the specialty Bibles for our men and women in service? What about the memorial bibles for the family of soldiers left behind? Yes it’s a niche market, but I proved that even products such as God’s Promises for Your Every Need could even be used in nursing homes to bring comfort to residences. There are only two publishing companies left that make these types of Bibles, and only two companies that offer memorial box and Bible sets. And instead of re-developing this part of the company, they allow one person, usually a temp, to keep it afloat. I can’t imagine what would happen if all the talents of the person’s laid off were combined and directed to making this part of Thomas Nelson Grow. I can’t imagine how many people would be blessed. I can’t imagine how many seeds it would plant that would keep the name of Thomas Nelson alive for another hundred years. So when people are doing genealogy research in 2040 they still say …. Let me go get my “Thomas Nelson” a.k.a Family Bible and see who my great great grand mother married. Or a child is passed down a memorial Bible given to their mom when their Dad was called home to Glory. Or a Bible passed down through the years, to a family of a soldier. So many things…..

    It’s business as usual over there at Thomas Nelson, Christian company or not, I pray that they really consider and remember who Thomas Nelson was and has been to a lot of people.

    They are not simply The people that publish so and so’s books. They are much much more. May God continue to allow them to be prosperous and not forgetting the little people who’s backs and prayers the success of the company is built upon.

    Sometimes God allows us to have what we want to prove to us, it’s not what we need.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Personally, I don’t think we need more Bibles as much as we need people who read Bibles. Last year, for example, we sold more than 11 million Bibles. That’s about one-third of all the Bibles sold commercially in this country. The average American family already has five Bibles. We don’t need more niche Bibles. We need a few really good, helpful Bibles. And, we need to find readers for those Bibles.

    And, yes, Thomas Nelson is a business. We have a ministry purpose, but it still a business. I don’t think those two things are incongruent. Whether you are a business or a ministry, if you don’t take in more than you spend, you won’t last long.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Laurie,

    I don’t think your conclusions follow from my thesis. Regardless, I have elaborated in a new post here. See if that helps.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  • Tony Jacobs

    Ok…. I’ll chime in again.

    In response to ” A Soldiers Loved One”, heart warming name isn’t it? (a large portion of our nation could call ourselves by that term) As an employee of Thomas Nelson, who unlike the nameless post I refer to, you will find my full name at the end of this response.

    I take offense at how “the phantom”
    portrays our company.

    Here’s a thought

    (1) Find out who you are……

    (2) Grab you one of those Bibles you spoke of and see what it has to say about being judgemental of those who care enough to give you a hug in the morning on your arrival here, or better yet, want to reach out enough to pray for you or others who are in need of prayer.

    Allow me to offer a Simon C. parting thought; your thoughts on restructuring this company and dealing with the current market trends, not to mention your cynicism are why you are not the CEO.

  • http://www.orbisco.com Ash Majumdar

    Hi Mike:
    I have always valued your thoughts but will like to get your take on the following questions:

    1) Layoffs and the gospel. Layoffs are purely a business decision, yet our conscience make us feel guilty. If our conscience is the gatekeeper of morality, is laying off people wrong?

    2) Are layoffs a result of management mistakes or just unprecedented business circumstances? why did the business not stay right sized? what are the gates to measure this?

    3) Instead of laying off, can the people be retained to support increase in sales in new growth markets? Are new growth markets being pursued

    Ash
    (P.S. I am not being critical here, I probably would have done the same in your shoes. I think laying off people is easier when you take your emotions off the people or you don’t know them. I just wanted to ask you the same questions I am asking myself )

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Ash,

    Thanks for your questions.

    1. Laying people off doesn’t make me feel guilty. It makes me sad, because I care for the people. However, I also believe that if it is the right decision for us, it is the right decision for them—difficult as that may be.

    2. Layoffs can be the result of many things. In our case, they are the result of a changing market. For a business to stay viable it must change with the environment. If it doesn’t, then it puts at risk the jobs that remain. In many cases, companies are too slow to respond to changing conditions. As a result, they end up cutting more jobs that they would have had they acted earlier.

    3. We certainly retained as many people as possible, and certainly we are pursuing growth in new markets. Hundreds of considerations went into every decision. But in the end, we are stewards of the business. We have staff it to accomplish our business purpose.

    I hope that helps,

    Mike

  • asoldierslovedone

    In response……
    Ok…. I’ll chime in again.

    Was posted by Laurie…..
    I take offense at how “the phantom”
    portrays our company.

    My reply:

    Really??? Then you should really take offense at how the temp company portrayed the “job” opportunity. They lead people on to believing the temp positions will turn into full time employment, it’s a way to get your foot in the door etc… How do you think temp’s feel coming into a position and realizing that using temps at end of year and end of quarter is the norm and no second thought is given, that they are ultimately disposable workforce?

    How do you think a temp felt, taking ownership of their position (with the exception of management they were the only one responsible for carrying the niche market division) seeking counseling from Godly sources and receiving a Godly vision on how to best utilize their skills to GROW aforementioned “niche market” to find out after they poured their heart and soul into it, that it was ONLY a temp job and had been from the start and would never be nothing more? To watch the powers that be at Thomas Nelson turning up their nose simply because this person was a temp, and would have rather have this “niche market” to sit unmanned personally and site idle instead of growing than hire a temp who believed and proved that it could grow? AND after leaving Thomas Nelson, still feeling as if the job was not completed, that their was so much more work to be done, people to reach, products to get into their waiting hands…..
    Yea feels lovely……

    Again by Laurie;
    Here’s a thought
    (1) Find out who you are……
    My reply:
    Thank you, I know who I am…. I am the righteousness of God, I am seated in heavenly places at the right hand of my creator…..etc…. AND I still plug Thomas Nelson products shamelessly, because I saw first hand how they can comfort, bring knowledge, peace, all sorts of things to people in need.

    I have seen countless times how God’s Promise for your every need TOUCHES and COMFORTS soldiers during deployments… How they use it to stay focused and even as a witness tool.

    Over the past few years I personaly have bought MANY of these, and personally made sure soldier’s didn’t leave without one.

    I have taken them to nursing homes to comfort new residences….etc………..

    Laurie, again…
    (2) Grab you one of those Bibles you spoke of and see what it has to say about being judgmental of those who care enough to give you a hug in the morning on your arrival here, or better yet, want to reach out enough to pray for you or others who are in need of prayer.

    My reply:
    Are you serious? It’s those people that even after leaving Thomas Nelson that I absolutely LOVE and have been blessed to watch the friendships develop that will last a lifetime. It’s those same people I have spent many nights in prayer for, with and over…. It’s those same people, who some were effected by the layoff, that I was posting about.

    I really believe some of them could have been re-trained and offered the opportunity to move into different positions. Whatever positions and vision that Hyatt is currently moving the company towards.

    Layoff’s weren’t necessarily the solution….. And Mike is right, more Bibles is not necessarily the answer. Neither is publishing thousand of books simply because they are Christian.

    ALL I was simply stating was that even if Thomas Nelson never publishes anything other than the Bible, they would still be successful. Maybe not in terms of the “World” standards, but do we as Christians live in the “World”??? no we don’t …. God and only God is our ultimate authority. And I am confident that Mike has a personal relationship with God and that when he decides to move the company into a different direction that it is because of Godly vision/counsel.

    Just because you give x amount of dollars to charity or whatever doesn’t necessarily mean that is where God would have you spend that money….. We have to make sure what we are doing line’s up with God’s will for our lives and those we are responsible for. Maybe that is a bad example, my point is…………

    That Mike believes this new direction is where God wants to take the company and that’s great. I just wish he could have found ways’ to keep the people who gave their heart and soul to the company as “little “ people. Find a spot for them, and one of those spots that is still WIDE OPEN and in NEED of people…is the Niche Market I temped in…. Those people could have been moved there if no where else and it would have blossomed and grown and reached a lot of people…. The job that I had to leave undone……That’s all I was saying… Not being judgmental or anything like that……

  • Micha

    A Soldier’s Loved One comes across to me as someone who really loved their position with Thomas Nelson and was trying to bring to light a few key points. Most of which I am familiar with.

    First off… What I think he/she was trying to say was that temps do talk/socialize/network with each other. Temps are viewed a certain way at Thomas Nelson, mostly to blame is the temp companies do not set the temps expectations correctly. When one get’s into a position at this company and fall’s in love with it, and the vision God has for it, and then realizes the truth that they are just a temp and nothing more (if that so happens to be the case, depending on a variety of factor’s), (regardless of the reason) it can be hard. Now if you combine that with the news of the layoff’s it can produce a negative image, and it’s that “image” I think a Soldiers Loved One was trying to protect/address….. His/her message wasn’t necessarily directed at Mike, or any of the other bloggers but for the temps who might be reading it and saying….”Well isn’t that just par for the course”…….. He/she doesn’t want those out there reading to make that connection…

    Part B; there are people God brings into this company as Temps, Janitor’s whatever/however that God has given vision and direct too and their voice should not be silenced simply because they are a temp. Jesus was a carpenter.

    Part C; maybe mike and other’s don’t realize that situations are happening to where Temps are feeling this way.. If so, I think A Soldiers Loved One was hoping to bring it to light, so it could be fixed…

    Secondly,

    I think that a Soldiers Loved One was trying to bring to Mike and anyone else in a position of authority that there are holes within Thomas Nelson, the “niche market” as he/she put it. I too worked as a Temp for one. I too saw the Godly vision God had for my market, and I too was PRIVELEDGE to work on it for a short time. It too frustrates me that it sit’s idle unmanned most times, worked by temps the other times, instead of Growing and fulfilling God’s vision for it. What a Soldiers Loved One was saying is that these “holes” that have proven to be profitable either in a temps hands or not…just maybe those laid off could have been kept by the company and placed in these holes, to grow them…. These “holes” could make money for the company and potentially avoided some of the layoffs, God willing…..

    Lastly;

    Those of you that know me might have heard this story before but for those of you that have not……… At another company ( a Fortune five-hundred Company) the training was grueling, it really put the new hires through the paces. Endless testing, all sorts of things. Finally, the day of the big final exam comes. Everyone knows regardless of their performance up to this point this ONE test decides on whether or not they become officially hired. The test is slowly passed out, face down. We were given the command to turn over our papers and begin. I did as instructed and looked down in amazement at what was on the paper. Our big final test, consisted of ONE question……….
    Name one person that either:
    Cleans the trash can’s/scrubs the toilets
    Escort’s you to your car/security
    Serves/prepares the food in the cafeteria
    or
    Works in the mail/copy room

    What a silly question at first, but then I realized it’s the little people. The people you necessarily won’t give second thought too, but they carry the company’s mission and value statements/objective just the same as some one in authority. Have you spoken to at least one of them? Have you spoken to one of them enough to not only know their name, but how to pray for them?

    That has really hit home and stayed with me over the years….. It’s the little people that a company is built upon. Their dedication, prayers, and commitment to be happy where God has placed them, and it’s the little people usually affected most by Layoff’s.
    I think A soldiers Loved One was championing for them, and reminding all of us not to walk without seeing…. To not speak without hearing…

    Too all those laid off; May the peace of God be with you. God doesn’t close one door without having another wide open. When one door closes take it as a sign that this current season has passed, that all available resources for that season have been used up , and God is now moving you into a new season, with new possibilities, and a new mission and new folks to bless and be a blessing too.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that A Soldiers Loved One was also a temp for the same division I worked in as well, and God shared with him/her his vision for it/Just like he did with me… Could be wrong but it doesn’t matter, Whatever “niche” market you were in A Soldiers Loved One, whatever vision you see that God has for that market you were in, I will join you in prayer that God see’s to it to bring it to fruition.

    Mike, if you really do read this…. Please grow ABC…. Believe in it as God does. See it as God does.. Even though I was only there a short time, God has such a powerful mission and vision for ABC. I challenge you to seek out God’s vision and let him show you the people that are waiting to be touched by not only the Christian products but by the ministry/company behind them. Even though I no longer work there, it’s only evident by the fact I do not receive compensation for it. I still, as much as God allows me too, carry on with the vision God showed me. I too purchase products from this division and share with soldiers, and others. I am part of DAR and we give out new Thomas Nelson Family Bibles, (nelson’s as they are called in the genealogy circle) and many other products. God has new products in mind, one of which A Soldiers Loved One touched upon….Family Bibles that have genealogy pages that accurately reflect today’s complicated families (w/divorce, adoptions etc…) but there is much much much more that God has planned for ABC……

    May the peace and love of God be with you all. These are just words on a page, you can’t see the person behind them, or what’s in their heart. The postings by A soldiers Loved one, had “heart” all over it…It was especially evident in their last post. Let’s all not be quick to judge. Always remember, Behind every anger is a hurt, and every hurt can only be healed by Love, Godly love. That’s why love one another is the greatest commandment of all, and the hardest sometimes to follow.

    Blessings….
    :)

  • asoldierslovedone

    YES YES YES YES YES,

    Thank you Micha, you said it ten times better than I could. Thank you.

  • Cat

    I wonder if the dissenters in the bunch have any idea how good this company is being to the people it’s laying off. My spouse’s company (industrial sector) was taken over by a multinational last year. Their first dollar-saving strategy was to cut positions beyond what was safe or workable in a dangerous goods environment. Severance packages? Yes. Amount of notice? Till the end of the day. Help repositioning? None. Extra benefits for expecting families? Are you kidding??

    Regardless of whether TN’s strategy will prove effective, they are treating their outgoing people very, very well. In the secular world, there are corporations which look at their human resources the same as their photocopier supplies.

    For those who have commented on management taking salary cuts, the problem there is matching industry par in order to retain high-quality people. Again, this is a problem at my spouse’s workplace, where engineers are not staying because they’re not paid on par with other opportunities. Any position which has specialized training, qualifications or responsibilities has a fairly predictable dollar figure attached. That’s the real world. We’re kidding ourselves if we think that qualified people aren’t going to go where their time reaps the most benefit. If we have to spend it away from our families, we’ll spend it to the best benefit possible. That’s true of us all, from temp workers to CEOs.

  • Tony Jacobs

    Well said Cat!

    I don’t want to have the wrong attitude here, and I realize that in my respone to A Soldiers Loved One ( who I still will call phantom, until they decide they beleive in what they are saying enough to put their name to it, and Hey! it’s a lot less typing!), that I may have been un Christ like in my response. it’s not my intention to do that, but I still have a hard time listening to that sarcastic, better than you attitude (see original post).

    Let me tell you something about working as a temp. I also started that way at Nelson. Phantom, did you work as a temp in the distribution center? Did you work there for almost a year there after? Did you work there during second quarter end and year end? Have you worked ten hour shifts for six days a week and more? Have you spent more Saturday’s away form your wife and baby girl than you can count because of work? Also, let me share a industy secret, our distribution center does not have air conditioning.

    I feel very blessed of the God of Abraham , Issac, and Jacob to work for this company. I don’t work in the warehouse any more, but it was a good place to start and there are still many wonderful people over there.

    So try not to take what happened to you here so personal. The truth is, the same thing could have just as easily happened to me, or any one else here. If God does not promise us tommorow, Thomas Nelson isn’t going to promise us a job. God has his hand on this organization and has richly blessed us in so many ways. You can argue that point until the cows come home, but it won’t change the fact.

    So as I suggested earlier, read again what the Bible has to say about sitting in judgement, and in addition check out what it say’s about those in authority, i.e. how we should respond to them, who they answer to, how we should pray for them etc.

    We are trying our best to do God’s work here. Please pray for us.

    Blesings

  • Peter Paul Banzon

    Dear Mike,

    Who has been a believer in Christ on this planet and has not in one way or another been influenced in their walk with God through bibles and literature produced by Thomas Nelson? Sure I have my gripes with my Nelson bibles falling apart after a few years of service. But man, the amount of Nelson produced literature that has circled the globe certainly puts this company at par with all of those globe changers and shakers. Hearing of the lay offs certainly touched a cord in my being. However, current realities demand actions that seem hurtful on the periphery but will eventually result in the company withstanding the onslaught of the economic slump and the tightening reins of global competition.

    May God guide you as you steer the company through these times and emerge as a more responsive, relevant, and engaging flagship of inspiration and blessing.

  • Anonymous

    Wow…all the post are a great read, and all make valid points. Yet, I still dont understand why it hasn’t been discussed about all those VP’s taking some kind of a salary and/or bonus cut. I mean that is something I think as a leader of a company you should consider greatly. But hey Im still in college and still learning the trick of the trade I guess.