Friday, July 8, 2011

Column V2.5 - Friends in High Places… 5/21/11

Continuing with our tale… the President of DeVilbiss, when DeVilbiss was purchased by Pentair, was let go after the purchase. I wasn’t privy as to why, but looking over the chain of command, there didn’t really seem to be a place for him at the time. So, he went and started his own business in the Jackson area. Here we are a couple of years down the road when the ‘new guy’ and the HR-VP were let go. Pentair decided to re-hire the ex-DeVilbiss President and gave him custody of the Tool Group as “acting President”. I suppose, with consideration as to the sort of results they had NOT achieved, the ex-DeVilbiss guy was as good as any, except that he made one of the most bone-headed decisions we could have ever imagined and we couldn’t see it coming.
In my opinion, a good Manager needs to know his people AND he needs to be able to tell the difference between his ‘friends’ and the person who might best fit a particular position. Mr. X-DP (my shorter name for the ex-DeVilbiss President) had this friend who had worked for him at DeVilbiss for a few years and instantly, this friend (let’s call him ‘NO-CS’) became the Director of Customer Service. He was placed over the Call Center and the Service Branch network. One of his first decisions was to hire HIS friend to manage the Call Center and Tech Service. See a pattern emerging here? These people weren’t getting those positions because of their ability to do the job – only because they were friends. Sad part was, the friend that NO-CS put over the Call Center and Tech Service was the same person who was over the Customer Dept in Feb 2000. This person was removed from that job and transferred elsewhere because, from what I understand, they could not interact with customers and employees in a Professional Manner. Yet, now they are back again, and with even more Authority. Dumb.
So, NO-CS is now over the Product Service Division of the Tool Group because he was friends with X-DP. Nice job. I have a reason for calling him NO-CS, Simply put, it was because he didn’t really seem to care about the Customer. Us Delta and Porter-Cable folks had made our reputation on taking care of our customers – sometimes even to the point of absurdity- we once had a fellow bring a Craftsman Bench Grinder to our Distribution Center in Memphis, in the hopes that we could help him fix it. We didn’t fix it, but he walked out of there with a brand new Delta Bench Grinder in hand. Crazy? Maybe… ‘out of the box’? For sure. But I can assure you, the next time he thought about buying a tool, what brand do you think he looked at first?

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