Robert C. Arzbaecher
CEO and Chairman
Actuant and its predecessor, Applied Power, has used Crystal Clear since the late 90's in two areas:
We have used Crystal Clear as a coach for the senior officers of Actuant and their direct reports. In this role, they attend and actively participate in the Senior Leadership Team meetings. Many times Crystal Clear will give me feedback about my style and what is happening around Actuant that my own internal employees wouldn't give me (the emperor with no clothes syndrome).
Because they work with both the CEO and his reports, they in many ways act as intermediary between Corporate and Business unit leaders. This helps the unit leaders get insight to Corporate and CEO needs, as well as vice versa.
Internal conflict resolution between employees or "work-out" situations
On several occasions, we have used Crystal Clear to work with one or two employees who need to work together but for whatever reason are not. The issues can be personality driven, organizational issues, management or priority focus issues, or just an employee who is not cutting it and is in a 6 month "work-out" situation.
Crystal Clear has been successful in working with both the Company and the employee(s) to get all the politics and personalities out of the way so the goals of the Corporation can be met.
Some of the deliverables they have provided us are:
1. Advancing a new corporate culture.
2. Doing an informal 360 review of the senior management team and the business unit leaders.
3. Keeping the CEO focused on the highest priorities, not being afraid to give critical feedback, giving the CEO feedback about what the business unit leaders really feel about Actuant.
4. Working with the business unit leaders to identify and correct issues between Corporate and the operating units. To do this takes a great deal of finesse and confidentiality between sometimes competing or differing views.
5. Interviewing and providing input on key business leaders.
I really don't view Crystal Clear as a consultant; they are part of the Actuant organization. We don't do reviews of deliverables with them, or check how many hours they worked. There are no monthly status reports, etc. The business presidents can use them or not–it's their call.
The evaluation of their performance is much softer, kind of like evaluating your HR department. Do you like how the Culture is going? Are you comfortable with how you're running the company? Who gives you advice on this? Is Actuant moving towards its growth goals? Is the management team being upgraded to be capable of more responsibilities? Crystal Clear is involved directly and indirectly in all these decisions.
Some of the reasons you might want to use Crystal Clear:
1. Personalized service. By being a small shop they give you personalized results.
2. As outside consultants (versus internal coaches), both business presidents and corporate officers open up more. Both Barry and Barb have the proper mix of confidentiality to play an intermediary between Corporate and the business unit presidents.
3. CEO's need coaches. The Board or shareholders are not going to play this role. CEO's need people who are not afraid to give critical advice – employees simply will not do this.
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