I've never been in a position to be hiring or firing a lot of people. I come from a background of small teams, although I always knew there was someone above doing the nasty work.
I recently had a discussion with the owner of a small business that wasn't going too well. He explained to me that to save money he had put off his highest paid staff, the good staff. Even though I'm not up to date on the latest corporate thinking and trends, I thought this was odd.
During the good times it was these staff that moved the company forward. Outstripping the competition. Setting the pace. Always pushing for, and making, better gains.
And when things got tough, it was these same staff members who put their heads down, bums up, and worked to hold the company together. They waited patiently for things to bounce back when conditions picked up again - which they knew would happen.