My boss’s boss was likely let go today – we received a sudden announcement that he was gone. Everyone on the team is shaken. What does this mean for them? It is like someone died. FOr me, i like and trust my boss, so am staying the course. I will work my plan as approved, check in with him and trust his guidance/feedback. This is why it is so important to have a trustworthy boss – 3 years ago when I did not trust my boss and we went through this, I couldn’t just trust him and keep my head down.
We are on a training call where the Product Manager for a product was presenting to the sales team but was talking a little slowly, so the very impatient VP gradually then blatantly took over the presentation. It was funny to hear. But at the same time, this is bad to do as a leader IMHO – the message he sent to his product manager was that he (the PM) should rely on the VP and/or the VP will not have his back or allow him to falter.
Whether it is a new strategy, new product or whatever, teaching is really important in Corporate AMerica. But so few corporations are good at actual teaching. They barf up information in an hour or a day, then expect us to learn it on our own. There is no reinforcement, check for understanding, etc. When I taught, I gave what I needed to teach in 10 minutes, spent a period of time reinforcing it, then continued to loop back to it. This never happens in Corporate America. How much productivity is lost by this?
One thing I’ve noticed about most (not all) Headhunters, Recruiters and Sales People is that when the going gets tough, they run and hide. I’ve always been a communicator with clients – good news, bad news, whatever, I always stay in touch and am transparent since it builds trust and also shows I am not going away :). I think that is why ultimately I get so many reference clients and grow small clients to large ones, because I noticed that when I managed Sales People that they tended to ignore clients when the news was bad – I always had to watch for that. Now that I am working with headhunters and recruiters, when they don’t want to tell me that I am not a final candidate, they simply stop responding; the truly great headhunters and recruiters are transparent (“the manager wants someone who is already selling into Boeing” or something like that). A pet peeve of mine is when someone takes your time with a meeting or conversation, then doesn’t respond in the follow up. It is really frustrating when a recruiter isn’t professional enough to deliver unpleasant news and instead hides since it means I have to take more of my time tracking them down on top of the time they took to talk in the first place.
The strangest boss I ever had I didn’t think would be that way. He looked polished and professional. But he was odd in so many ways:
- He took his shoes off and walked round the office in his socks. So we’d have a guy in a suit walking around in his stocking feet. Like I wanted his foot oil and odor in my work place (bleh).
- He fell asleep mid-conversation on the short drive back from a client visit.
- He was always late, and we never knew where he was, but was obsessive about where other people were when he was there.
- ALways worked from home, but didn’t like any of us working from home.
- Threatened to fire someone for repeating a mistake in a team meeting. (“You do that again, you’re fired.”).
- Would obsessive about the little things – for example, there were a few small coffee stains on the carpet just outside the kitchen that honestly were difficult to even see, but he was always obsessing about them, asking who was spilling on the carpet, etc.
- Would tell stories about how he’d get up in the middle of the night to clean the kitchen sink because he’d remembered it wasn’t clean.
- He ran a depressing office. It was so quiet in there, and although everyone was nice I don’t think anyone was happy being there.
My most recent boss was also a little strange. He was so friendly and forthright when he recruited me, and we had several wonderful conversations before I joined, but within a couple of months it was painful to have a conversation with him. It was excruciating going to client meetings with him, since he had very little to say on the way there or back, and he was so nice but tended to make passive aggressive comments about people that indicated a deep source of frustration. Ugh. I feel it is very dishonest to portray yourself as one way when courting someone then being another way after the courting is over. Be who you are so there are no unpleasant surprised for anyone later!
I’ve been entertaining the idea of working with Microsoft. But I dread checking their career site more than any other site. Why? It is clunky and their Job Descriptions are excruciatingly long and boring. It is a huge investment in time and energy just to read a rather dull job description, like reading a long drawn out description of what a tire is, how great that tire is, and every single component that is needed to make a tire rather than saying “We need someone who can change a tire with proven experience and refernces to attest as such.”
I’ve always thought that once you showed you can do something, that it is obvious that you can do something. For example, if I am a basketball player who leads the league in scoring, I can obviously score. But for whatever reason, this is not true when interviewing for sales positions.
What I mean is this… 12 years ago I was looking for software sales jobs, but two strikes against me were in my previous role I had not had a quota* and I had not needed to cold call since my company worked with most customers. By some miracle, I talked a company into taking a chance on me, and I not only became the #1 sales person for exceeding my quota but cold called successfully. In other words, I showed I can do it! Never again would I have a problem getting a software sales job!
(An aside… A year later, I was interviewing for a job where the primary customer was Microsoft. I’d never worked with Microsoft before, so although I had a good track record the hiring manager went with another candidate. Again, by some miracle, the next company I worked for gave me Microsoft as an account and I exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations and made quota at Microsoft every year for over 5 years. Once again, I proved I can do it.)
The past few years, I’ve sold services instead of software. But not now that I am trying to get into software again, companies are afraid to hire me – my background recently has shown me to be a services person. Does it matter that 10 years ago I passed everyone’s wildest expectations selling software? No. Once again I have to re-prove myself and try to find someone who will “take a chance” on me.
It’s never easy. 🙂