CEO Returns After Terminating 900 Employees on Zoom

Vishal Garg is the CEO and founder of the startup better.com, an online mortgage company. Just before the holidays in 2021, Vishal terminated 900 employees on a zoom call.  You can watch it here.

After giving the ax to 900 employees, he took ‘time off.’ The NY Times reports that he recently returned to the company after spending time with a coach.

Image of the words "You're fired," on a chalk board.

Dolphins:

CNN reports that Vishal on another occasion sent an email to staff with the following language. “You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS… SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”

Dolphins often top the list of most intelligent sea creatures.

Vishal might be smart, but smart people do dumb things. 

Zoom termination:

What’s wrong with using Zoom to terminate people? It’s more personal than email.

Don’t be aghast that 900 people were on the call. They were in their own homes. It may feel impersonal, but an individual call from the CEO would have taken approximately 6 weeks to make. (Allowing for 15/20 minutes for each employee.)

Zoom isn’t the problem; lack of empathy and compassion is. (Watch the video if you doubt that.)

Second chances:

People screw up. Second chances are necessary in a world populated by humans. Responsible failure deserves a second chance.

Second chances give us courage to take risks. On the other hand, leaders are responsible for their actions.

I wonder if Vishal deserves a second chance.

Vishal’s actions were a colossal mistake. Does he deserve a second chance? Remember he’s the founder of the company.

If you gave Vishal a second chance, what would you require from him?

You’re invited to the Smart Leadership virtual launch party:

Join me on zoom for a live conversation with Mark Miller, VP of High Performance Leadership at Chic-fil-a. I’ll ask some questions. Join in the open Q&A. There will be prizes.

We’re celebrating the launch of Mark’s tenth book, “Smart Leadership.”

Register here: https://bit.ly/3yMLpxY