Thinking about John G – a horse’s ass who talked his way to Sr. Director at a large firm :)

Meet John G.  Five years the firm I was working at hired him as the Director of Operations, and put all of delivery and recruiting beneath him.  He had previously been an unemployed Tester before moving into Test Management a few years earlier.  Now, he was in charge of my delivery teams when I had a 7M book of business with several important clients.

From the get-go, he was a horse’s ass.  After two months, we had no clue what he was doing, he made no commitments other than it might take up to a year to see changes, and he was calling in sick at least every two weeks.  Then he started attending our three Partners’s weekly lunches, and everything began to change.

He hired a random consultant to start generating reports.  Suddenly, what used to take a few minutes, took 15 minutes since we had numerous fields we had to complete.  Then he had us go back two years in the system to implement changes. I complained to the owners, stating I was trying to generate revenue, not reports.  We started getting data, but no improvements to delivery.

Then he implemented twice a week meetings, took away my dedicated Sales Engineer, and realigned all of delivery so they had specialties, which made 1 or 2 people happy (the ones with good specialties) but alienated the rest of delivery.  Then he started changing our pricing structure, which impacted my sales efforts.

Then he took away my consultant (one that I hired) and assigned to one of his projects, but in doing so he alienated my clienbt, and this client canceled our project. Then, a month later, after I told this John G point blank not to give pricing to my client he did anyway, and because sales is a finesse game where you have to build credibility over time, he spooked the client by presenting a large price at once and they cancelled the budget.  

I complained to management, but nothing changed. Still, everything might have been okay, I probably could have gotten rid of the guy, except I was diagnosed with lung disease and put on prednisone in the midst of all this.  Now, what I didn’t realize is how much prednisone messes first with your brain, then with your energy, and suddenly I was too foggy headed and exhausted to think clearly although I could see whwat he was up to.  

Frustrated (the entire staff was actually) by his destruction, and probably because I was stoned on prednisone, I quit. THe next week, I’m certain because I’d left, they whacked several members of the delivery team, primarily the ones I’d endorsed.

In the near term, of course, profits skyrocketed.  After all, they were still billing for my clients, but no longer had to pay my compesnation.  But that was temporary, of course, and before long John was in hot water.  But leveraging his trumped up success at this company, he somehow talked himself into a Sr. Dirctor position at a midmarket firm before he could be fired. Two years later, he is still there, in no small part I am sure because he is spending his time keeping his job rather than providing value.

The lesson here is a few fold.  Primarily that good things can happen to bad people, although some day it might catch up to him.  And that in Corporate America, it is not necessarily about working hard or being valuable — it is about positioning.  WHich is part of the reson I am loving my current role working with a specialty and smaller firm — far less politics and backstabbing.

Thinking about John G – a horse’s ass who talked his way to Sr. Director at a large firm :)

Backstabbing and Tattling At The Office

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.

Backstabbing and Tattling At The Office