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The Grossman Group CEO and communications expert David Grossman shares his insights on the importance of meaningful leadership communication in today’s business climate. With high level tips on engagement and connection, insights into employee motivations and behavior, and firsthand stories from the frontlines of America’s leading companies.

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Goldman Sachs Advisor: “Nobody Puts Customers First”

  
  
  
  
  
  

Goldman SachsIn the latest chapter of the Goldman Sachs saga, last week a senior policy advisor, Arthur Levitt, shared his thoughts with the Wall Street Pit. He said Goldman should stop referring to putting customers first, because “nobody really puts customers first.”

That’s a bold statement to come from the inside of a company working overtime these days to assure the public (including clients) that they have a “client-driven culture.” 

I can name numerous companies, including many of my clients, who have a client-driven culture – not just in words, but in all-important actions.  None are perfect, but have the reputation and credibility with employees and other key stakeholders that they mean what they say, and make good on their promises every day.  As importantly, when they make a mistake, they admit it, fix what’s broken and work to make things right.  It’s all about integrity and dignity.

Also last week a former Goldman Sachs partner, Jacki Zehner who left the firm in 2002, spoke to CBS MoneyWatch and surprisingly, didn’t defend or condone the actions of her former employer, who she says she still supports. 

Rather, she said she recognizes the accusations from an op-ed by ex-Goldman executive Greg Smith might hold some truth.  Zeher said she thinks Goldman needs to be brave enough to answer media’s tough questions, participate in the lessons learned from this situation, and hopes this serves as a wake-up call for  the management committee and board of directors.

If Goldman leaders want to be able to say with integrity “we’re a client-driven organization,” extinguish the bad behaviors, hold employees—and each other—accountable for what they say and do, and improve their brand reputation, they need to acknowledge what’s broken as the first and most critical step, then fix it.

If they’re not putting customers first, who is Goldman putting first?  And what does that say about their organization?

What can we learn here and apply to our team or organization?

-David Grossman

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Comments

I'm not sure we're learning much new - in this age it's well known that companies that want to appear to be acting transparently, but aren't will get called out. Businesses with vested interests in not being transparent, i.e. businesses with something to hide, will eventually have guilty secrets outed into general knowledge - communication is becoming too pervasive for that not to happen, and with Sachs the secret - company culture, is too big and too widespread to stay concealed. The differences for the future will be whether the general public cares to take notice of disclosures like this.  
 
Thought provoking stuff, thanks for sharing.  
 
Posted @ Monday, April 02, 2012 3:55 PM by Luke W
Thanks for your thoughts Luke, great point about the importance of the public taking interest in this type of corporate news. There’s a lot that can be learned from others’ mistakes.
Posted @ Wednesday, April 04, 2012 5:26 PM by David Grossman
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