Change is something Greg Brown is familiar with. When he took over as Chief Executive Officer of Motorola in 2008, he knew change was what the company needed.
“It was a very troubled company,” he said Sept. 29, 2011, at Thunderbird School of Global Management. “Our biggest division, Mobile Devices, was losing a lot of money. It lost a billion and a half dollars at the low point in 2008, and we had a macroeconomic collapse.”
Within his first year as CEO, Brown said the company had to lay off several thousand people, freeze pensions, suspend 401(k) benefits, freeze salaries, move out two -thirds of the senior executive team to refresh with new talent, and launch and announce the decision to divide the firm.
“Sometimes doing what is right is hard, and when it’s hard, it becomes — often times — less popular,” Brown said. “I think that when you make a decision for the right reason and communicate it in the right way, whether it’s popular or not, people will have a respect, an inherent respect for your ability to do that, your willingness to do it and the candor and the courage by which you follow that decision.”
Brown said there are two types of people: Energy givers and energy takers. “I think that some people find out what’s wrong or make excuses or blame their boss or a bad territory or the product is not good enough,” he said. “It’s the way you see the world. You get what you look for. Energy takers, who see flaws and see why not, get that result. Energy givers who look for the art of the possible, have a figure it our mentality, energize themselves and others around them, they find a way.”
Learn more in this Thunderbird Knowledge Network video on YouTube: