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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Leadership – The Ossi Gruebel Approach


Back then, when Ossi was the CEO of Credit Suisse Private Banking we (Relationship and Portfolio Management Units Zurich) were invited for a presentation held by Ossi Gruebel himself.

In the essence the wording of Ossi's speech was the following:
  1. “Markets went down continuously and there is no sign that there will be a strong recovery in the nearer future. Our clients lost money. Because of the weaker markets assets under management decreased and as a result Credit Suisse income of fees declined”
  2. “We need to ensure that our clients can make money also during this volatile market period. We will launch the following product in order to achieve this. As a result we will meet with the targeted cost income ratio.”
  3. “Please identify the clients who could be interested, contact them, and if interested offer them this product”
  4. “If you are not able to achieve the mentioned goal we have to take some actions on the cost side and you might need to plan your future a bid differently”

The majority of the audience was a bid shocked about Ossi Gruebel's statements, which is understandable. For myself I liked these straight forward and maybe even a bid brutal statements. Why?

  1. Ossi Gruebel showed a clear picture about the current situation and problems
  2. He proposed a solution. That means he gave his subordinates a chance to react. He did not present us with a fait accompli
  3. He made crystal clear what we were to do
  4. He pointed out what the consequences would be if we were not to proceed according to his proposal

I found Ossi's aproach and the clear message by far fairer than other leadership approaches I have been experiencing during my career. Of course this example taught me as well, that such a messages should be transmitted in a bid a smother way in order get optimal results.

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