Fighting Vice Presidents


Clarity received a call from a distraught CEO about ongoing fighting between his VP of Sales and his VP of Manufacturing. “Fix their relationship or I will have to terminate one or both of them.” The direct and hidden costs of their fighting were enormous: loss of sales and productivity, down time, distrust among their subordinates, and turn over.


The VP of Sales and the VP of Manufacturing did have differing operating styles (both were unaware). While undoubtedly a factor, at the core of the situation were:

  • the CEO regularly setting them up with each other;
  • slowly, access to the CEO and his approval ( and avoidance of his disapproval) had become the gold standard of performance; and
  • business performance declined as everyone’s attention focused on their relationship and their fighting rather than on the business outcomes.


  1. Testing and training in the understanding of operating styles and behaviors which lead to greater appreciation of personal differences, job demands, and operating styles.
  2. CEO behavior change which clearly, visibly, and consistently returned focus to the delivery of business outcomes on everyone’s part.
  3. Team coaching to defuse and transform growing enmity between the two important areas of the business.

The combination the above Actions had a huge and immediate impact on increased sales, productivity, and retention.