thinking outside the box

by eug
December 19, 2005 5:15 AM
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twclogo.jpgApologies in advance to anyone at The Weinstein Company who may not like this, but a recent email chain that has been making the rounds among various companies is just too funny to ignore...

Cheers to the folks at TWC for launching a new program aimed at cutting waste and saving money; the Weinsteins are offering a monthly cash bonus to employees who find ways to save money. First up, according to an email sent by company CFO Larry Madden to TWC employees last week (published below) is a bonus to Emily Feingold for finding a way to save $15k at the recent "Transamerica" premiere. Seriously, other companies should develop similar programs aimed at ending waste.

Probably not expected though were the initial responses generated. One top exec responded, to the entire company (email published below), with a request to fix the apparently problematic TWC phone system (names have been redacted to prevent too much embarrassment):

install a phone system that works!!!! by doing this, i feel confident that we would (a) increase the likelihood that potential sellers and business partners will take us seriously as a company, (b) increase our ability to actually close deals for the company, as phone communication has, in the past several decades, become a near-essential part of doing business and (c) decrease (or eliminate) the equipment replacement costs that we incur every time REDACTED throws his phone out the window...

Another top TWC exec sent a follow-up email (published below), proposing an "employee of the month" photo at the company entrance, but joked that the price of the image would be deducted from the employee's "modest bonus".

Read the entire email messages below...

From: Madden, Larry Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 2:16 PM To: #TWC All Cc: REDACTED Subject: Think Outside the Box Employee Incentive Program To All Employees: Sometimes great ideas go unnoticed, or even worse, unsaid. Have you ever noticed something in the workplace that just seemed completely unnecessary or wasteful? Have you ever thought about how you would do something differently had the decision been up to you? Well, I am sure the answer to both of these questions is a resounding YES. It is with that in mind that the Company would like to introduce a new incentive program to encourage all employees to "think outside the box". So what does all of this mean? Well here are the basic ground rules of the new program: 1. What type of suggestions are the Company looking for? We are looking for ideas that will either save the Company money or generate incremental revenues that are otherwise unplanned or unexpected. Let me give you a very concrete example. Emily Feingold, our fearless Director of Corporate Communications & Publicity, recently recommended to Bob & Harvey that we move the red carpet for the Transamerica premiere inside, thereby eliminating the need for permits, increased security, tents, etc. This straightforward and practical idea saved the Company approximately $15,000 on the Transamerica premiere alone. Emily's idea, while relatively simple, is one that identifies hard savings without any real sacrifice in the value realized from the premiere. In fact, we are now planning on rolling out this same idea for future premieres, which could save the Company $200-300k per year. To recognize Emily for this idea, and to kickoff the new Think Outside the Box Employee Incentive Program, Emily will receive a modest bonus for her smart idea. 2. How can I become eligible for future incentives? Email suggestions to Kathie Malinowski at REDACTED in order to be considered for future incentives. Email as many suggestions as you have (sorry Kathie), but please be sure to describe what you think the Company should do differently, and how you think your idea will either save the Company money or generate incremental revenue. 3. How does the "best" idea get chosen? A shortlist of the best suggestions will be submitted to Bob & Harvey each month, and quality permitting, a winner or winners will be selected and announced each month. Consideration will be given to factors such as: How practical is the idea to implement? How significant is the net benefit to the Company? How creative or unique (i.e., outside the box) is the idea? 4. What do I receive if my idea is chosen? You will receive a modest monetary reward (yes MONEY), that takes into consideration the benefits to the Company of implementing your idea. The next winner will be announced at the end of January. The intent here is to create an environment where we, as employees, can make a difference for the Company as a whole. We are looking to encourage and celebrate innovation and creativity, while at the same time promoting fiscal responsibility within the organization. We look forward to your insights. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- From: REDACTED Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 3:03 PM To: REDACTED; #TWC All Cc: REDACTED Subject: RE: Think Outside the Box Employee Incentive Program i hope i'm the first one in with this suggestion (drum roll, please): install a phone system that works!!!! by doing this, i feel confident that we would (a) increase the likelihood that potential sellers and business partners will take us seriously as a company, (b) increase our ability to actually close deals for the company, as phone communication has, in the past several decades, become a near-essential part of doing business and (c) decrease (or eliminate) the equipment replacement costs that we incur every time REDACTED throws his phone out the window, (d) decrease the medical bills that employees in the l.a. office have been running up due to treatment for banging our heads against the wall every time our calls get cut off or we get emails telling us that our phones don't work (and for poor REDACTED, who has now become so morbid about the phone problems that she's become a cutter) and, most importantly, (e) decrease the amount of time that REDACTED has to spend listening to me, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED and dassorted other bitter l.a. employees bitch and moan about the problem (and how can you really place a price on that???). now, as to the calculation of my modest monetary reward (yes MODEST) - given that the implementation of this idea is very practical, that it will no doubt increase our productivity and decrease our general level of anxiety and that it seems to fall pretty far outside the box (i mean, it's not like it's second nature to just say "hey, our phone system sucks, let's get a better one"), i think that this idea qualifies for the highest monetary figure that the company intends to reward - please make my check for $25 out to "REDACTED" and send to me at the l.a. office. if you have any questions, please call me through my office....five or six times..... ----------------------------------------------------------- From: REDACTED Re: Think Outside the Box Employee Incentive Program To: REDACTRED; <> #TWC LA; <> #TWC NY; <> #TWC UK Can we get a picture of the "employee of the month" in the entryway? That would really be fantastic for everybody to be motivated. What do you think? (of course whoever get the picture will have to pay it out of its "modest bonus
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