Now, for the conclusion of my letter to Successor. My straight talk concludes with a focus on his “good guy” leadership style, especially in regards to family members working in the business…

On the subject of a culture of tolerance versus teamwork, I am concerned about your “good guy” compulsion to expand the list of family member employees who are effectively, non fire-able employees. You may argue that you could fire anyone, but understand the definition of a non fire-able employee: someone, including but not limited to a family member employee, who will not be held accountable to the point of termination barring significant brain damage that impairs the attitude of the leader, harmony of employees, harmony of the family and/or a combination thereof.

I strongly believe that in the current absence of clearly expressed and practiced performance expectations, every non fire-able employee with over a year on the job understands their privileged standing. Subsequently, the implied or demonstrated lack of genuine accountability creates a disease that handicaps synergy, morale and productivity. Your reluctance to set policies regarding the hiring and accountability of family member employees is demoralizing. While a few may think you are a “good-guy”, the majority, who are those outside the protected group of non fire-able employees, resent both you and those you are enabling for the actual or perceived handicap you are placing on their own effort to achieve your favor and recognition through honest, hard work. Furthermore, any manager who allows you to protect your “pets” by hiring your son right out of college or the service, paying non fire-able employees more than they are worth, not establishing and enforcing accountability, etc. is demonstrating their pleasure with the existing culture of mediocrity that is hiding their underperformance or over compensation.

You do not seem to recognize that family member employees set the standard for attitude and performance for all other employees. Anytime a fire-able employee is put under pressure for not fulfilling your expectations, the presence of an undisciplined family member or non fire-able employee gives them a silver bullet. They are just waiting and hoping you will hold them accountable so they can finally get a whack back at you for making their work environment so confounding. To add to this mess, behind your back, the non fire-able employees are best known for gloating, boasting and coasting. The assumption of these organizational terrorists is that if you don’t stand for something then maybe you will fall for anything, so why don’t we just go ahead and tell everyone “we are running this place.” The translation as I expressed in our meeting last week is that the inmates are running the asylum.

Again, I regret my perceived need for straight talk.  Please assume that I would not be challenging your ways and means if I did not care. However, I appreciate that you are growing weary of my rebuff. As such, I fully anticipate that if you don’t begin to appreciate that which I offer and begin to see the business more from the perspective of myself and the fellow board members, you will dispense with us beyond our commitment.

Thanks for allowing me to vent my frustration and share with you a common issue that happens when successors aren’t prepared properly prior to the succession. Now, bring on the next Board!

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