J, a peer Manager in a partner/subsidiary office, threw my team under the bus today.
J and I both manage sales and delivery teams in the same city for the same company, but in different arms of that company. He asked my delivery team last week to take a look at one of their projects – I said we’d take a look at it (and we did) but in no way committed to delivering on *his* project. Still, today he sent a note to our VP that he was at risk because *my* team wasn’t delivering. (I don’t think he realized our VP would reach out to me about it, but to our VP’s credit, he asked me quietly about it.) There are rumors of consolidations of offices, and J lost a major account last year – clearly he is trying to save himself at my expense.
Needless to say, I was pissed. I told my VP about what really happened, said I found it interesting that J would throw me under the bus like that since I’d never do that to him (true). Later, I told J publicly on a call that my team was not in a position to deliver on his overcommitted projects but that we’d do the best we could to help. My VP, thankfully, noted on that call that I was managing a fully extended team and that he hoped J would reach out to me directly with any communication/concerns that he had. I appreciated that very much.
Still, it is disheartening how adults will turn into tattletales and gossips to protect their own interests. Basically, J lost a major account so is going to put my family’s financial security at risk to cover his own arse/mistakes. So, I’ve learned not to trust J – good to know, but discouraging none the less, especially since I had high hopes that our partnership was above that.
As a whole, our company is struggling. Revenue has dropped, and market share is down. People are panicking, and I’m finding a lot of other Sales Managers moving into our area, trying to engage my delivery team to support their sales efforts. It’s a dangerous time of musical chairs. I’ve seen it before, although for whatever reason its pretty bad at all levels in this company.
For a Sales Guy, I’ve always been pretty self-sufficient in Sales and Delivery. I find my own opps, qualify them, coordinate the POCs, write the proposal, negotiate the contract and even manage the delivery. I don’t ask other offices for much, and other than a laptop and Administrative support don’t ask for anything. But my company — like the last two companies I’ve worked for — most Sales Managers aren’t like that. They expect things, fight for things, even steal things — not externally, but internally. I’ve seen it time and again, and reminds me of what is worst about human nature.