Gould and Lamb responds

After my post earlier this week re PMSI naming Pat Sullivan to lead their Ancillary Services DIvision, I was contacted by Gould and Lamb (currently the leading MSA vendor) who took exception to my characterization of their recent history, to wit:
“I didn’t include Gould & Lamb in that list [of companies likely to ‘push ahead’ of their competitors], as I’ve heard several times they’ve had challenges on the technical side that may have contributed to the management shakeup last fall. We’ll have to wait and see if the issues are resolved.”
Not exactly a full-fledged assault on the company, their capabilities, or prospects for the future. At least I didn’t think so. I read it a couple more times, and thought it was actually pretty mild.
G&L’s reaction was…not exactly nuanced. After multiple emails to and fro and after a call from their corporate counsel to which I took exception (Tip – if you want to get along with media, do NOT have your attorney call the writer), I asked G&L to address the specific quote from the original piece.
Here’s the relevant parts of their response, with my observations.
G&L – “We have made a substantial investment in technology and talent and as such have developed the most successful reporting technology in the industry and we have not had any technical problems on the G&L side… It is important to note that G&L not only offers an excellent reporting solution, but we have been actively working with CMS in the development of a reporting solution for the industry as whole.”
Paduda – As I noted in the original post, I heard from several sources that one of the reasons for the ‘management shakeup’ was delays and higher than expected costs associated with development of their reporting application. G&L clearly states they had no technical problems. I leave it to the reader to make their own decision; I’m not expert enough in this issue to make a definitive statement one way or the other.
2) “As we have experienced no technology issues, it stands to reason that “technology” was not part of the decision to make a change in the executive leadership at G&L. It was necessary to make changes at the executive level for reasons other than G&L products/ services or technology.”
Paduda – In an earlier message, G&L had noted issues with vision, strategy, and direction led to the replacement of staff last year; turnover in the sales staff was also noted. Again, G&L’s response differs from what I’ve been told by other sources.
G&L – “Clearly, your sources are not “credible” as the information you have regarding G&L represents rumor and is grossly inaccurate. I would also like to add that Lloyd’s [a recent deal where G&L will handle reporting for Lloyd’s syndicate members) isn’t ” just any deal” and the fact that they vetted G&L competitors speaks to the lack of technical problems they identified in our program.”
Paduda – With all due respect to G&L, I’ll continue to assess the credibility of sources on my own. Undoubtedly I’ll make mistakes from time to time – mistakes which I will disclose (and be reminded of each time I see Rob Gelb). In a case such as this where there’s no definitive ‘answer’ (unlike the Gelb situation) I’ll put out what information I deem appropriate and trust the reader to use her/his judgment.
G&L – “As a reporter of information you are also aware that the most reliable source of information is directly from “the source”.”
Paduda – In some instances that’s undoubtedly true, but in many others that hasn’t been my experience, nor the experience of ‘real’ reporters.
(I don’t consider myself a ‘real’ reporter, but more an observer and commenter).
For example, Woodward and Bernstein didn’t take Nixon’s word at face value. Sports Illustrated’s reporters aren’t taking Lance Armstrong’s word at face value. Companies, politicians, individuals, heck even consultants ‘spin’ the story to suit them, or perhaps more kindly, to fit their perspective.
I don’t mean to imply G&L is in any way similar to those examples, but rather to use those examples to make the point that the ‘source’ is often not the most reliable source of information. I’m hoping to continue the dialogue with G&L as time permits.
What does this mean for you?
A couple things.
First, media relations are best handled cordially and gently. Veiled threats are rarely productive. (he said with careful understatement)
Second, Don’t take anyone’s word – unless you know and completely trust the individual – as truth. That includes mine. I will continue to report and opine here, and I sincerely hope I am always right. I also know that I won’t be – and I’m sure you’ll let me know when I’m not.

One thought on “Gould and Lamb responds

  1. Joe:
    You are perceived as a very credible individual throughout the industry and you have earned that credibility! Politically you may be a little suspect, but never in industry matters.