July 19, 2018

Chief of Staff

Stephen Chipman Wants You To Share Grant Thornton’s New Strategy with Your Loved Ones

On Friday we gave you the review of the recent video conference that featured Stephen Chipman discussing Grant Thornton’s new strategy “Unleashing Our Potential” in an accent that may or may not be fake.

Over the weekend we were fortunate enough to have another source at GT send us the following hand-written note that was sent to all employees prior/in coordination with the video:


This more personal form of communication shouldn’t come as a total surprise. Back in the spring, Chip-to-my-Lou sent a message to Grant Thornton partners encouraging to scribble down some warm thoughts for all those nights and weekends in busy season. An email is so cold and sterile and since SC knows what’s good for the goose is good for a British Gentleman, here you have his own very words and thoughts to serve as a reminder that his blog is no substitute for his elegant penmanship.

After being mesmerized by the prose, the next thing that caught us off guard was Steve-o’s call for you to be unleashing your potential hours before you even plop down in the cube farm. This means you should be unleashing your potential while you lie in bed, in the shower and during your god-awful commute. Likewise, you are still unleashing that potential on the god-awful commute back home after your 12-15 hour day or at the local pub (but don’t unleash and drive).

What’s also strange about this note is the plea that you share “Unleashing Your Potential” with your friends and family. Maybe there are a lot of people out there that like discussing innate corporate strategy (and what it really means) with their loved ones but our source was not impressed, “why would my family and friends care about GT’s strategy?”

Forget our source’s sour attitude for a moment. We want to hear from those of you that immediately sat down your significant other to share this news with them. How did they take it? We’re they completely enamored with this new path in GT’s quest to bring back the “Big 5”? Or did they interrupt you saying, “Honey, I want you to listen to what Stephen wrote to me. To us,” to tell you that this letter was the last straw and that your relationship was over?

What about your buddies at the upcoming Fantasy Football draft? Will you be telling them about the new strategy, possibly risking your expulsion from the league? Or at your next girls night? Will this English gentleman (fake accent or not) get you all swooning over purple hues and roses?

Let us know how it goes.

UPDATE: Naturally, a reader noted a misspelled word in Stephen’s letter that we overlooked. As you might suspect we don’t get too hung up on things but the Chief of Staff really should have caught this.

More Than A Few People at Grant Thornton Aren’t Buying Stephen Chipman’s Accent

Earlier in the week, Grant Thornton CEO Stephen Chipman gave team GT a taste of experienceAugust which was supposed to be a rousing battle cry as SC leads the U.S. firm into second half of 2010 and beyond.

Because we didn’t really have anything better to do, we asked around to see how things went and it sounds like if you bothered to sniff some glue prior to the 90 minute presentation, you probably enjoyed it. For the rest, not so much. A source attests:

Really, really horrible.

They had it set up in what they tried to make look like a TV studio – but may have just been a cleared out a staff area with some curtains and mood lighting. It was 90 minutes long.

GT’s new internal battle cry is now “Unleashing our Potential” and the market focus is going to be “Dynamic companies”. It’s the same crap that gets spouted each year for the last decade, just dressed up in a different package.

First, they had Chipman’s Chief of Staff, some Senior Manager ask Chipman a handful of scripted questions with scripted responses – and the 4 different teleprompters you could see on occasion would back up that claim.

We’re going to chime in here for a second – “Chief of Staff”? Is this a typical position in most large accounting firms? What does this guy make? How did he get the job? It’s doubtful that he’s anything like Rahm Emanuel. If you have any insight on any or all of these, please enlighten us.

Back to the review:

After that, they had Chipman run a roundtable with different members of senior leadership – again, mostly scripted. They also allowed 3 senior managers ask – again – scripted questions that resulted in canned responses from Chipman.

In essence – they wasted 90 minutes of everyone’s time, obviously laid out some cash for the production (4 different camera angles, a few teleprompters etc.) and told us nothing – the production came of as small-time…actually, the production came off as middle-market quality – or maybe it was a dynamic production that was unleashed on GT personnel.

The general consensus is that no one likes Chipman as the face of the firm – he is bland, uninteresting and some of us think the accent is fake.

We checked with one additional source on the bogus accent theory and they had this to say, “No I think it’s real I just think he has a hard time reading from a telepromter, he has to speak slower.”

So who knows!?

Bottom line is that GT employees got treated toa low-budget set, softball questions that addressed the firm’s vague strategy of “unleashing potential” on “dynamic clients” and a “bland” CEO whose British-ness is being called into question (at least by some). FOR 90 MINUTES. Are we missing anything?