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April 19, 2012

Goldman Sachs: “Congrats, You’re Promoted…Here’s a 30-Day Vacation”

I continue to be fascinated with what’s going on at Goldman Sachs these days.  In the past weeks, I’ve been commenting on the saga that all began with Greg Smith’s NYT op-ed tell all. And now, The Huffington Post has released a piece stating that Goldman has plans to give associates a one-month holiday when they’re promoted to a senior level. Why?  To “boost morale.”

There’s no doubt morale is at stake in the organization that is making headlines regularly (for all the wrong reasons). Once again, from an outsider’s perspective, Goldman leaders are missing the mark.

One of the most common challenges I see in my consulting work is that high performing individual contributors get promoted to managers without the training and support needed to best manage a team.

One day…star individual contributor.  Next day…congrats…you’re promoted and are now managing people.

It probably comes as no surprise then that I’m baffled by Goldman’s move to promote associates and then give them 30 days off.

How about concentrated training and leadership development every week for those 30 days to get new bosses off to the best start on behalf of their staff and the organization?  I’m not begrudging them the vacation, just not at such a critical time of transition for a team.

And in other baffling news from Goldman:  the “muppet hunt” is done.  

On the heels of Greg Smith’s op-ed, Goldman leaders reportedly conducted a review of internal emails for the word “muppet” and other ways in which employees referred to clients in a less-than-positive fashion.

Turns out, Goldman now claims—as mentioned in the Dealbreaker blog—Greg Smith’s allegations were wrong and Goldman execs were actually talking about the recent Muppet Movie.  Goldman execs weren’t calling their clients muppets, they were talking about the movie.

Of course they were.

Looks like Goldman is trying to sweep their ill-advised email witch-hunt under the rug by “turning up” light-hearted and sugar-coated results.  Chalk up another trust buster.

How about a better solution: Goldman leaders acknowledge there might be issues and fix them. 

Or maybe as Jack Nicholson said best in A Few Good Men, they “can’t handle the truth.”

-David Grossman

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