Vital Speeches obtained an all-employee "Thanksgiving message" email from Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. He wrote the memo, he told employees, "directly to you, without the typical checking that's regularly done before a CEO sends a message to all of his employees."
Typical checking, we should note, that would regularly identify redundancies within sentences. But it gets worse. Far worse:
Claure is tearing up the troubled wireless company from top to bottom in order to make it competitive. And also, it appears, to turn it into a place where platitudes come true.
Sprint is on "a special journey," Claure told employees, "to make Sprint that special place where employees feel proud to work and where customers recommend us over and over because we provide them great service without them having to worry about anything" and "where we delight our customers at every interaction."
Claure concludes with a story. And not just any story.
I want to share a special story with all of you. Last weekend while I was in L.A., I met a very special person—an up and coming artist called Prince Royce. He shared with me that only a couple of years ago he was a Sprint employee working at one of our stores in the Bronx and he was laid off. He was paid a few dollars in severance and he used that money to make a demo tape and send it out to several radio stations. Now he is one of the hottest selling artists—check him out. The moral of the story: I asked him if he was mad because we laid him off and he told me no. He told me he was grateful that we laid him off and paid him severance because it was that money that he used to launch his singing career.
So based on that story, I want to thank all of you for all you do for Sprint every day, and I ask you to continue to give us your best on this new journey.
Had a communicator done the typical checking, he or she (or it, for that matter, because Lassie would have smelled trouble here) would have politely pointed out that this "special story" is either a drunken nonsequitur, or the most passive-aggressive layoff announcement of all time.
The lesson here is for Marcelo Claure and CEOs everywhere: Run your messages, even the "special ones"—especially the special ones!—by a speechwriter, who can review it: for common sense, and communication sanity. —DM