January 2016 Leaders & Laggards

Leadership Leader

ADMlogo2We’re going to give a short well-done to Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) for their handling of their internet troll employee who made an ass of himself on Christmas Eve.

Full disclosure: ADM is a client of ours.

ADM quickly concluded that Brad Shultz’s bigotry was eclipsed by his stupidity in linking his views to his employer on social media, and directed Brad to the nearest unemployment line.

ADM said, “…these remarks are unacceptable and do not reflect ADM’s values.” Works for us.

This is a culture issue, and leadership owns the culture. You don’t need toxic influences in your organization; when you discover them, get rid of them… immediately.

Reminds me of a T-shirt I wore a few years ago: “Dads Against Daughters Dating…Shoot the first one; word will spread.”

Nice shootin’, ADM. Word will spread. You’re this month’s Leadership Leader.

Leadership Milquetoast

TwitterIt’s only been a couple of months since Twitter’s SVP of Engineering, Alex Roetter, was our Leadership Milquetoast for his empty rhetoric about diversity and his subsequent non-apology for being a crappy communicator. Not picking on Twitter, but it looks like they’ve missed another opportunity in the diversity department.

The diversity most important to an organization is diversity of thought. You need teams that can strategize, plan and approach problems from different perspectives. You get that from people with diverse backgrounds and experiences, independent of the color of their skin.

Diversity isn’t about affirmative action; it’s about making something great out of an often strange collection of people inspired to make something greater than themselves successful. And that takes leadership.

And so, Twitter missed the opportunity to make a bold statement about diversity when they brought in an old white guy as their new vice president for diversity and inclusion. While Jeffery Siminoff may be qualified for the job – some of us old white guys are actually all for diversity of thought – his hiring did nothing to close the disparity gap between the company and its users.

It shouldn’t matter that almost three quarters of Twitter’s leadership positions are held by whites, but obviously it does to their diversity critics. What should matter to Twitter is that their detractors seem to equate diversity with racial parity, and they seem to think that it would make things better if their employee demographics mirrored that of their users. If Twitter thinks they’re raising the bar on diversity and inclusion, they’re not listening.

Twitter missed a golden opportunity to do more than talk a good game. For that, they get this month’s nod for the Leadership Milquetoast.

Leadership Laggard

McD logo

Something must be amiss in McDonald’s marketing machine. They just spent a pile-o-cash with at least seven ad agencies to update packaging for its “fun and modern brand.” Matt Biespiel, senior director of global marketing described it as “a progressive way to turn our packaging into art.”

As they sat around the McTable brainstorming, didn’t a single person think, “if we made better and more healthy food, would more people would buy it?” If so, why didn’t they bring it up? Even acknowledging the importance of employee loyalty, this is a classic case of group-think, and that’s a leadership failure.

We don’t deny McDonald’s made some good menu choices recently; they needed to – and not just to attract millennials. And hopefully their planned restaurant upgrade means the seats aren’t ergonomically designed to be uncomfortable.

But really… no one cares about the brown bag it comes in. That’s just the lipstick on the pig. The bags end up in the back floorboard of the car or on the side of the road, anyway.

McDonald’s says the new packaging reflects the leadership of new CEO Steve Easterbrook – simple yet bold. Describe it anyway you want, we think Biespiel and his yes-men saw a way to impress his boss, and his boss let them.

Easterbrook is new – and arguably doing a pretty good job. This month’s Leadership Laggard is Matt Biespiel for letting his team waste so much McMoney and McTime on something customers don’t care about in the first place.

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