Pay Inequity Is Inexcusable

October 13, 2014


Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, awkwardly noted that women should “have faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along…that’s good karma.”

The “system” Nadella is referring to is broken. Women earn 78% of what men in comparable positions make not just in tech, but across the board. It is noteworthy that he made the remark addressing women at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference.

Years ago, I was personally ranked within the engineering department at Tandem Computers for my value-add. My boss called me to his office and told me that, based on my ranking, he had to give me an immediate 22% salary increase. I was surprised, delighted and most grateful. I didn’t have to wait months or years for my pay to align with my value-add–it happened instantaneously. Lesson learned: Salary adjustments can happen rapidly if a company is so inclined.

An immediate salary adjustment is what is needed. Why should a woman accept the idea of achieving parity with her male counterparts over a period of multiple years? The reality is a women is not going to achieve parity with their male counterparts relying on the same raise percentages the men receive each year.

Karma isn’t for women to worry about. The karma is to be faced by the men who allow salary inequities to continue one day longer than they know the problem exists.

It’s time that women be able to say, “Thank God It’s Monday. I’m being paid what I should be and I’m no longer being paid inequitably.”

Photo Courtesy of TechEdLive on Flickr

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Thought for the week:

“Most people are paralyzed by fear. Overcome it and you take charge of your life and your world.” – Mark Victor Hansen
What do you think? I welcome your comments!

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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Are You Boxed In?

September 4, 2013

Boxed In

When you or your company becomes known for something, the marketplace draws lines around what you represent to the world effectively boxing you in. Over time, you may grow the size of your box many times as you add new products and services. However, be aware — it is harder for the marketplace to grasp that your box has really grown and evolved, particularly if you have name recognition and are known for being in a particular space or area. Getting the marketplace to understand your company’s new box versus the original box is a pretty steep hill to climb.

For example, one of the things that drives me batty is analysts lamenting the decline in PC and laptop sales at Dell. They suggest that, based on the current metric of declining PC and laptop sales, the future is all doom and gloom for Dell. But, what really confounds me is the analysts failing to recognize that their claims of doom and gloom for Dell could only be true only if all Dell offered the marketplace is PCs and laptops. Their offerings have grown by an order of magnitude. And, of course, these analysts very words negatively impact the stock price and the perception of Dell being able to be relevant to its customers and make money in the future.

Analysts who track Dell seem to be trying to keep Dell in a box — the box of “all they do is manufacturer PCs and laptops.” It is not accurate and does not come close to properly characterizing how Dell has evolved. PCs and laptops represent but one dimension for Dell. The conclusion ignores their growing strengths in enterprise software, services, health care, government, education, small and medium businesses and large enterprises. Dell has grown its box yet the analysts continue to focus on a single metric which is what Dell represented a decade ago.

YouSendIt recently changed it’s name to HighTail as it grows its capability and offerings. The name change is more than a mere name change — it is a recognition that HighTail is offering far more in functionality and capability than YouSendIt did. While it is likely that it is costing a small fortune to make this name change, it is crystal clear that more than the name is different. That just may be of great interest to existing customers and thereby keep them coming back for more. They did not try to grow the box — they actually jumped into a new box that enables them to tell a new and a fresh story.

In my consulting practice, I have always eschewed “the flavor of the month or year.” Why? If I had associated myself with total quality management (TQM) or business process reengineering, I would be considered irrelevant to prospects and clients who are no longer drawn to those programs and/or approaches. I did not want to be boxed in by concepts that would ultimately loose market traction and then be forced to reeducate my marketplace about what I am doing today.

What box are you sitting in? Is it serving your present needs or is it making you appear old and dated? Does the box allow you to continue expanding your future? Or, are you going to have to do what Dell is now having to do — reinventing yourself under the same name? Perhaps it Is time to consider a name change much as what YouSendIt is presently going through? In other words – what is going to best communicate that your box is continuously expanding?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

© 2013 Dave Gardner
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AT&T Business Execution Failure

December 10, 2009

AT&T’s CEO has taken to blaming customers for consuming too much cellular bandwidth and, in effect, hogging capacity.  AT&T’s CEO has nailed it!  It is the customer’s fault.  Thanks for clearing that up.

So, while it’s the “customer’s fault,” is it salient that AT&T’s network has historically been behind actual demand? Why should we be surprised now?

My memory is that cell phone voice mail was created because networks could not support demand…there was no contractual commitment that calls needed to get through on the first dial.  So, as much as we’d like to think cellular voicemail was for our convenience, network capacity drove this feature.

The iPhone has certainly exacerbated the network problem for AT&T.  That and Verizon’s new advertising campaign in the US illustrating the lack of robustness of their network.

AT&T is talking about rate changes for heavy users of the iPhone.  I liken it to drug usage–inexpensive to get started but expensive to keep up now that you are hooked.

But, will paying more get you a better network?  Not in the near term.

AT&T is hoping you will use your iPhone less because of the cost premiums customers want to avoid which will increase their network bandwidth because they have a constrained supply.  It might help, but, it’s not an answer.  And, they’ll be degrading service at the same price, not a good strategy for creating a wonderful customer experience.

AT&T entered into an agreement with Apple that meant AT&T would realize no profit from the iPhone for 17 months after launch.  If Verizon offers the iPhone with a better service plan, AT&T customers will move in droves overnight.

As a devout Verizon customer, will that be a good thing for me?  Too early to tell.

What do you think?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

PowWeb Enters Business Execution Hall of Shame

September 26, 2009

I received disturbing news this morning from a top Internet marketer and entrepreneur, Nerrisa Oden (also known as The Video Queen):

On Thursday,,  was shut down without warning. I saw the situation this morning and began working with my webhost of 6 years to get it back up. But they refused citing it had exceeded its’ unlimited bandwidth amount.  (I’m not making this up!)

“Just upgrade me,” I said.

“No. We don’t offer upgrades,” said.

So I immediately changed to another web host company. During this process was offline. Currently it’s new servers are being propogated across the Internet. It’s happening fast so everyone should have full access by the end of the day Saturday.

I am also moving these websites: and

Again, the interruption in service should be minimal and well worth the move. I am just sorry that it happened suddenly and without warning.

It takes about 48 hours under the best of circumstances to migrate web hosting to a new Internet service provider if you have time to plan for it.

To cut off a customer of 6 years with no notice who is operating within the published parameters of “UNLIMITED Data Transfer” and “UNLIMITED Disk Space” is absolutely unforgivable.

By the way, if your Internet business is dependent on PowWeb, caveat emptor–let the buyer beware!

For this action, “PowWeb, The Perfect Hosting Solution,” is hereby entered in our Business Execution Hall of Shame!  Congratulations, PowWeb.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

WSJ Article Claim about GM is ludicrous

June 8, 2009

As the world has watched GM fall into bankruptcy, I’ve awaited the folks on the sidelines offering their pithy insights into the whole debacle. The most ludicrous claim I’ve seen yet comes from a June 2, 2009, Wall Street Journal article titled “A Saga of Decline and Denial:”

GM set the standard of how a company should be run, how utilitarian products could be made cool and how they should be sold.  It helped win a world war, driver American prosperity and reinvigorate business-school curricula.

In the end, GM was a victim of it’s own success–its path to bankruptcy paved with the very management, marketing and labor practices that made it the world’s largest and most profitable company for much of the 20th century.  Strategies that had once been deemed innovative “became a millstone on the whole company,” said Mr. (Gerald) Meyers (former chief executive of American Motors Corp.).

A victim of its own success?  How about a victim of its own blindness to seeing that for almost 30 years, GM senior management and the board had bought into what was an unsustainable business model bleeding red ink.

Recently, my father asked me to help a restaurant owner look at her business.  She claimed that the dip in the economy was making her business unprofitable and that she was waiting for the economy to rebound so her business would return to its prior level (of mediocrity).   I showed her how there were real systemic issues in her business that indicated that she might not benefit from a rebound in the economy unless she took action to correct the deficiencies.

Unlike the restaurant owner, GM has vast quantities of expertise and knowledge at its beckon call.  The GM insiders had to know long ago that what they were pursuing was not sustainable.   For example, the GM automobile market share had declined from over 50% in the mid-70’s to less than 20% in today’s economy.  Hello!  What’s wrong with that picture?  If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

There are many systemic issues facing GM in the months and years ahead.  Can they reinvent themselves?

Unless there is a fresh look at the business model and leadership that believes there are no sacred cows–that everything about the business is up for debate and questioning–my sense is that the thinking that got them to where they are today won’t get them to where they need to be.  If GM were to get a leader like a Jack Welch or Lou Gerstner, they might have a chance.  If they stay with inbred leadership, I don’t think they have a prayer.

What do you think?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

Economy negatively impacts employees and team interactions

February 18, 2009

Working within corporate America is more difficult than ever.  What factors are contributing to this?

Management expectations remain largely unchanged in spite of downsizing, reductions in hours, reduced compensation and bonuses, etc.  People are expected to do more with less and receive less total compensation even though they may be working harder than they ever have in their lives just trying to keep up with demands.

People aren’t getting much if any scope or schedule relief despite these factors.  Somehow, it all needs to get done even when it can’t.

The pressures people are feeling are tremendous.  People across this economy are living with constant uncertainty over whether they will have a job from one week to the next, they know that reorganizations are happening daily and are not sure how they will fare in them, they are seeing what is happening to others who have lost their jobs, and some know they are not in a sound financial position to weather a protracted period of time without having a job.

Add to this stress the fact that many in the high-tech world who are working in the U.S. under H1B work visas could be required to leave the U.S. almost immediately should they lose their jobs and be unable to secure a new one within a few days.  Many of the folks in this situation attended American colleges and universities and have lived in the U.S. for a decade or more.

It’s no wonder we are starting to see unusual behaviors.  I ran into this very situation today.

I’m helping a client with the development and validation of a new capability within an existing business intelligence system.  A meeting scheduled for this afternoon had to be pushed back 48 hours due to a last-minute scheduling problem.  My I.T. counterpart went ballistic over this routine occurrence.

Suddenly, from his perspective, we can’t this project done soon enough (he wants it completed in 2 weeks) and he is citing resource and budget pressures as conspiring against him.  Yet, after 7 months, he delivered a prototype about 3 weeks ago that is giving us wildly incorrect answers.  Does he really think we can go live simply because the clock is ticking and he needs to cross this project off his checklist?  It’s not “good enough” yet.  It’s not even close.

As I thought about this sudden out-of-character behavior of my I.T. counterpart, it dawned on me that this guy may have some bonus tied to this date that he’s never revealed to anyone.  That could certainly contribute to what I see as “bizarre” behavior on his part today.  I know that he and all other employees just missed receiving a mid-year bonus for the first time in many years, so he may be feeling a big financial squeeze–that too could add to the pressure he’s feeling.  It could also be that his boss told him to get this to the finish line now.  Perhaps there is some other issue in his life that I’m not aware of.  It is certainly not comfortable to watch.

What should we do in situation like this?

Take a deep breath and realize that this is an extraordinary time that we live in.   Accept that we often can’t understand what’s causing great upheaval in another person’s life and that this is a good time to reach out to understand how you can be part of this solution. Look for ways to help your colleagues and team be successful and try to be empathetic with each other.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

Business Execution Hall of Fame: VISA Inc.

December 15, 2008

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to research VISA Inc.  for a keynote speech I was giving to a credit card manufacturing user group.  I think it is fair to say that we all tend to take credit cards for granted.  When it comes time to use a credit card or a debit card, we assume that the process is going to work flawlessly time after time.  And, there are very rare exceptions when the system doesn’t work.

VISA Inc. does business on a scale that is hard to comprehend.   As of mid-2008, VISA:

  • Processes 81 billion transactions per year
  • They settle $3.8 trillion per year
  • They connect to over 16,000 financial institutions
  • They have a network of 29 million merchants

But, VISA is hardly in a steady state.  They currently process over 65,000 changes to their I.T. infrastructure annually.

The Chief Information Officer, Mike Dreyer, suggests that VISA is a technology company.  Interesting…I had always viewed VISA as a financial services company.  Mike is right.  Their super high-reliability network globally enables the VISA brand 24/7/365

What role would credit cards play in our global economy if there was a 1 in 10, 1 in 20 or even 1 in 100 chance that a merchant would be unable to process a charge?   We’d still be writing checks and have the burden they create for us as well as the financial institutions.

So, for absolutely superb business execution, VISA Inc. is our first inductee in Gardner & Associates Consulting’s Business Execution Hall of Fame.

What do you think?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting