In 1985, a film company facing financial pressure hired a new president. In an effort to cut costs, the president asked the two leaders of a division, Ed and Alvy, to conduct layoffs. Ed and Alvy resistedâ€”eliminating employees would dilute the companyâ€™s value. The president issued an ultimatum: a list of names was due to him at nine oâ€™clock the next morning.
When the president received the list, it contained two names: Ed and Alvy.
No layoffs were conducted, and a few months later Steve Jobs bought the division from Lucasfilm and started Pixar with Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith.
Employees were grateful that â€œmanagers would put their own jobs on the line for the good of their teams,â€ marvels Stanfordâ€™s Robert Sutton, noting that even a quarter century later, this â€œstill drives and inspires people at Pixar.â€
Source: “Givers Take All: The Hidden Dimension of Corporate Culture” by Adam Grant | The McKinsey Quarterly