Al-Walid I sent an army of his men (varied reports but approximately 10K) out of modern central Saudi Arabia and conquered the Iberian Peninsula in 711 (not much is known about the Iberian Peninsula before the 8th Century). The Moors would rule this area for the next 7 centuries and their presence had a lasting impact on Spanish culture.
I was hired because the office — in a good market — was continously losing money. I took over the 6 person sales team in October and in Q4 we showed an unexpected profit. Then, in Q1, we hit the ground running and showed 60% revenue growth, a second quarterly profit in a row, and were the #2 office — out of 20 — for revenue growth, both as a percentage and hard dollars. In fact, we were one of only 5 offices to show actual growth that quarter. Our reward?
They let go my VP and merged our office with my peer office, and it was very obvious from the start that the new VP favored my peer (who lost money), who was frankly less experienced/proven than I but really was a better personality match for my company. So I was out by May. Then they put my top performing AE on warning (Performance Plan), and I’d like to think it wasn’t because she was female and black in an all-white male led company, but I’ll never know. So she quit rather than risk termination. Then my newest hire quit, calling the company a mess. Finally, two weeks ago they fired a much loved performer who was at quota for not seeing eye-to-eye with the new manager (my former peer), and yesterday fired as hard working and loyal member of my team as there is/was. The last remaining member of my team is going to put in notice today…
So in the period of just a few months, the new VP and SVP took a team that was the second best performing in a 1 Billion dollar company and literally fired or chased out every single member. Gee, I wonder why the company’s numbers are shriveling… 🙂
It isn’t surprising. All the VPs and SVPs have been with the company over 10 years, and for many of them, it is the only company they worked for (a few others worked at our largest competitor in the early 2000s). They were promoted by attrition over the years, and really don’t have a lot of practical experience beyond their current place. So they really truly don’t know what they are doing and are in over their heads, and as many Old Boys Clubs are they don’t trust what is slightly different and my team was different (lots of races, ages, varied backgrounds, personalities, etc.).
Four months ago, I inherited an unprofitable office (losing 15K month) who’d recently lost 2 of its 6 producers, with the remaining 4 having less than 1 year of tenure and 5 years of combined experience. I spent the first two months implementing a plan, onboarding 2 new producers and working through our most experienced Producer’s 2-month maternity leave. By some miracle, in that time we’ve doubled revenue, turned a profit, exceeded my original revenue objectives and have the team moving in a singular direction.
But I am under increasing pressure. We all are. The entire companies revenues are down, which means intensed scrutiny on down the line. But I am mentally struggling with the intense scrutiny of my team’s every conceivable metric and the increased volume in my weekly 1:1s of “Yes, you’ve done great, but it is not enough.” And I’ve come to dread our weekly Manager calls and my 1:1s with our Veep.
To add to the fun, I have an unpredictable Producer I inherited whose intense personality and mood swings is starting to impact the team, and I will probably have to make a change. The challenge with her is normally I’d give someone an off-the-record-warning of “look, I’m having a talk now, but the reality is you probably aren’t going to last” but she tends to lash out (e.g. sends hate mails to other Directors) when I have off the record conversations with her.
Gee, why aren’t I sleeping very well this week?
My wife has told me to cut back on the hours (if I am working 12-13 hour days already, clearly it won’t be the difference maker) and that it comes with the job. Which is true. I also need to keep my resume updated — after all, I’ve worked miracles and feel like my livelihood is threatened, what is going to happen when I have an inevitably bad month?
In the meantime, I’ll do what I can to work miracles. 🙂