T J Rodgers

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QUESTION 1
How would you describe the management style of T.J. Rodgers? T.J. Rodgers management style is described as aggressive, rigorous and down right in your face. As CEO, Chief Executive of Cypress Semiconductor and author of the book, “No Excuses Management”, Rodgers has developed an almost fear inducing management style. On the wall of his San Jose, California office hangs a plaque that reads, “BE REALISTIC, DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE” which exemplifies exactly what Rodgers expects from his employees, Perfection! At Cypress he disregards anyone who engages in what he considers sloppy thinking and no one is shielded from his wrath. He’s known for what some employees refer to as his “drooling psycho face,” which features bulging veins and narrowed eyes, followed by some fist pounding and a barrage of verbal lashing that leaves no doubt of his displeasure. Surprisingly honest about what he calls his punishment management style, Rodgers describes working at Cypress as “crawling through a muddy battlefield.” It is said that in the past, some employees complained about the long hours. Rodgers got some old army cots and pillows and placed them outside the bathrooms to remind them how easy they had it just working 12 to 14 hour days as compared to when he and other company founders used these cots in the early 1980s when some literally slept in the office. One thing remains certain however, no one has ever accused Rodgers of having a double standard. He holds himself just as accountable as he holds his employees. At one point the CEO fell behind is his own duties and got his pay check cut off. He subsequently had to sell some of his Cypress stock to pay his bills. QUESTION 2

How suitable is Rodgers’ attention to detail for a top level manager?
“If everyone in our company made ordinary business decisions in a commonsense way, we would be unstoppable,” says Rodgers. “It turns out that very few people at our company or anywhere else make ordinary business decisions in a commonsense way. Most companies don’t fail or lack of talent or strategic vision, they fail or lack execution.” This is why Cypress management systems track corporate, departmental and individual performance so regularly and pays so much attention to detail that no manager, including himself can feasibly claim to be in the dark regarding any critical issues. The system that Rodgers and his top level management developed, gives them the capacity to monitor what’s happening at all levels of the organization so to anticipate problems or conflicts and intervene when appropriate as well as to identify the best practices without creating any bureaucratic red tape that impedes decisions and depletes morale.

Cypress practices a no surprises way of life and emulates words such as discipline, accountability and relentless attention to detail at every level of the organization. Top level managers at Cypress disagree vigorously on many things in their management meetings but they disagree over substance and the best possible ways to make the most effective decisions, which are the essence of management. QUESTION 3

How would you like to work directly for T.J. Rodgers? Why?
Working for T.J. Rogers could be seemed as inconducive for some people if they are not self motivated. Working for an employer who accepts nothing less than perfection, pushes his employees to do significantly more than just what is expected of them and would drive them to accept nothing less than perfection from themselves. Another incentive that would motivate me to want to work directly for such an employer is the fact that, at Cypress, profit sharing tied to corporate performance is distributed equally among the employees and Rodgers gets no more than any of the company’s employees. This to me would be a win win situation because it would show me that my employer shares the wealth instead of hoarding it all among the top management and other directors. Rodgers regards is boot...
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