One day, business school textbooks will be written about the management stylings of Marissa "Evita" Mayer.
When that day comes, she might want to resist the urge to read them.
It's an open secret that morale at Yahoo (YHOO) is hovering somewhere below 'Awful' and pressure on Mayer to sell what's been left unburned by the tire fire of her reign is increasing. To make things even worse, last week, rumors of massive layoffs began to swirl.
So, Marissa called a meeting to calm things down and assure her people that everything is cool.
According to the NY Post, it did not go well.
“She said there are going to be no layoffs ‘this week,’ and many of the employees laughed at her,” said one insider, who, fearing retribution, asked not to be named.
“This is the reason employee morale is so low,” the insider added, noting that most workers took the scary remark as twisted confirmation that Yahoo!’s embattled chief executive is sharpening the ax.
Unintentional nervous laughter is a real red flag response to layoff news. Even in an industry somewhat renowned for bizarre management techniques, Marissa is growing in legend as one of the all-time wackily terrible execs in tech.
Word of the gaffe has been “spreading like wildfire” through Silicon Valley, another insider said, calling it the latest example of a chronically tone-deaf CEO in a crisis.
Indeed, some in the audience laughed precisely because “she wasn’t trying to be funny,” according to the second source. “She was trying to make us believe it.”
Speaking of things Marissa is desperate to make people believe, according to the lexicon of Mayer, no one at Yahoo ever gets laid off...
Mayer’s taste for word games when it comes to firing people — in the past, she has insisted on calling layoffs “remixes” — has been a growing source of exasperation inside the company, according to current and former employees.
See, that's fun! It's like getting fired by C+C Music Factory.
Yahoo people must at least love that, right?
“I don’t think people want to be mollified — they want to be respected and trusted with facts so they can plan their lives — and also help,” one source close to the situation said.
Don't read the textbooks, Marissa.