It’s Not You, It’s Us: Communicating Layoffs & Other Internal Crises

Last month, Jerry Yang rounded out his tenure as CEO of Yahoo with a mass memo to employees that announced 1,500 layoffs. It wasn't the first e-mail of its kind to come from Yang, who had already downsized staffs throughout the company's worldwide offices, but it underscored the tough reality for businesses--a reality that has been shaped by widespread layoffs and, in turn, skyrocketing unemployment rates. But Yang's memo, excerpted below, also highlights the fine line that must be walked when communicating difficult decisions to employees. Did Yang succeed?