Thank you for asking me to complete a Leadership Evaluation of your CEO, S.Claus. I have completed this using a personal observation technique, an appreciative enquiry, a battery of psychometrics, a 360 degree TLQ appraisal, a leadership effectiveness evaluation, a Hogan Dark side, the MBTI (with Bridge), three structured interviews, a two-day assessment centre, a stakeholder and customer review and finally my unique “hold finger in the wind” test (to see which way the wind blows). To date I have spent 42 consulting days justifying my existence at a cost of Â£86,240. I have provided entirely free of all fees (unlike my competitors) a ten minute telephone conversation with the Chair.
The news is disturbing and as a board you have important decisions to make. Fortunately, I am there to help you, to be your partner and to be alongside you at a fee, of course, and based on my re-engineering of your vision, your strategic review, your structural realignment, and your people evaluation techniques, a further 120 Consulting days should suffice. If any more is required after stage 42 then we can hold a stage review. In addition, I shall be happy to facilitate a three-day away day at Champney’s for the board and my partner. Below is a summary report based on my observations. I shall pad this out with endless appendices and place it in a ring-binder with acetate cover in due course and furnish you and the board with personal copies to store away gathering dust in your garages at home.
The core problem with S. Claus is lack of leadership visibility, poor succession planning and talent management, ill-conceived objective settings, inability to tackle issues of conflict and poor communication. As a CEO, he fails to “deliver on the promise” and the gap between expectation and reality is greater than the ice-flow off Lapland.
On the “Best Places to Work” matrix, his scores are all sub-optimal and in terms of Investors in People, your deposit was returned to you, minus an administration fee.
Leadership visibility – Claus fails to appear for large periods of time, only appearing for set-piece stage events near or on the annual conference date. No-one has a clue what he does for the rest of the year. He fails to answer e-mails, memos, text messages, social networking connections, Facebook, Twitter, or letters. On stage he disappears before any questions. His delivery style is jovial but inane. It is insufficient in this day and age to merely smile, wave, and chuckle. He is neither an engaging nor a visible leader and relies purely on charisma to escape closer scrutiny.
Poor succession planning – Mother Claus is bereft of ability and despite the board’s wish to promote more women to leadership roles she fails to inspire any confidence. None of the reindeer have the slightest ability and the elves have been starved of training and development. Claus has made himself seemingly indispensable.
Talent management has been weak – Patting elves on the head, as well as being a somewhat suspicious activity, bearing in mind our policy on disability in the workplace, and offering carrots once a year to the Reindeer does not constitute a talent management strategy. There has been no spend on training and development, coaching, no talent mapping despite our constant stream of e-mails to Claus inviting him to our CEO Workshop Forums.
Objective setting is inconsistent and does not follow best SMART practice – Simply saying “get on with it” to the elves, and “go, Blitzer, go” to the reindeer is not enough. This lacks specificity, measurability, accountability. The workload cannot be achieved. On my observed walk-around of the industrial production site, I noted a lack of systems and processes. Think about my rigorous Six Sigma training programme, or my Kaizen for all training intervention.
Inability to tackle issues of conflict – I noted a particularly disturbing conflict between the reindeer, notably Blitzer and Rudolf but others were involved. This involved a number of remarks which could be construed as being in contravention of your equal opportunities and respect policies. “Listen, you red-nosed toadyâ€¦” is not a term which would even be allowed at a Chelsea football match. It was poorly handled by Claus. He should have nipped the problem in the bud, instead he escalated the issue, inflamed a difficult situation, and managed only a partial resolution through what I call the “bion flight-fight” method – running away from the situation through a snow storm and high into the clouds to bump into the “walking in the air” Snowman is inherently flawed as a leadership strategy.
Poor Communication was rife – Claus is woefully behind the times. Sticking letters up the chimney and waiting for the smoke to waft to Claus HQ is a waste of effort. Communication is a two-way street, as we like to talk in clichÃ©s, and I saw no evidence that Claus responded to any messages sent to him. I noted that post-Christmas your complaints department was unseasonably busy. There seems to be no refunds or return goods policy and customers using the helpline are routed to a self-perpetuating “jingle bells” music loop.
In short, Claus is a disaster. Claus must go. Should you need to seek a replacement look no further than our executive recruitment service where for a fee of three-times salary plus expenses we can source a whole range of wannabes and hopefuls.