Monday, 10 November 2014
The Lies Narcissists Tell
Our 'Zanzibar' story is becoming an iconic one in the way he does this. I'll tell it to you first from his 95/5 angle, and then fill in the detail as it really happened, just so you can see the huge difference in focus of it.
In his version, 'Trudy is a reckless and crazy businesswoman who makes ridiculous decisions that the company cannot afford."
Early in 2013 we decided to give the company a stretch target. We told them that 19 million was the target we needed them to reach. And that if we reached it, we would take the whole company away. The destination 'Zanzibar' came up. John got his PA to research prices for a week away in Zanzibar for about 10 people and saw it would cost about 150 thousand. So he supported the idea. Trudy (me) then went on a huge incentive communication campaign driving the company to back the 19 mill for Zanzibar incentive. When it became time to go, John realised that it was far too expensive to go to Zanzibar especially as Trudy was now inviting more and more people, far more than his original estimate of 10. He suggested a cruise, which would have been cheaper, but Trudy refused and insisted on taking everyone, including people who had already left the company, on the trip. If we hadn't gone to Zanzibar, we wouldn't have needed to retrench at least half of those people. We would have been profitable. And he would have earned his 10% share of those profits.
Yup - Trudy is clearly a reckless woman who traded a jolly in Zanzibar for people's jobs. She should be sanctioned for her bad governance and selfish leadership!
But here's how it ACTUALLY went down. The company had had a tough few years since the big economic crash. Keeping the doors of a training company open during a recession was no mean feat. We had all sacrificed a lot to keep afloat and survive during that time. Trudy and John sat together to ponder what incentive would work for everyone and not cost too much for the company. Trudy has not been much of a traveler, having had her kids young, and John constantly bragged about all the places he'd been while he had been a multimillionaire. John suggested Zanzibar. Trudy was nervous it would be far too expensive. John reassured her that Zanzibar trips were very cost effective. As far as I know, John never asked anyone for quotes at the time. He told Trudy he had looked up some offers and it was viable. Trudy took his word for it.
So Trudy launched a huge incentive campaign: 19 million for Zanzibar. She drove the sales and ops people relentlessly all year and the team worked so hard for it. In the end the team achieved 21 million, two million over the target, and even managed to invoice an extra 4 million up front for a new customer we landed in December. 25 million invoiced in 2013! We were going to Zanzibar!
At that point John started putting together the actual costs for the Zanzibar trip. The whole company was going, and one extra sales person who had already left the company, but was responsible for landing 8 million of the target in 2013 was also invited. He started telling anyone who would listen that it was irresponsible to go to Zanzibar and that we should consider a cheaper plan - a cruise, for example. Trudy resisted that completely - she was furious with him for coming at the last minute saying it was too expensive when it was he in the first place that set it up as the destination of choice! She knew that, as a leader, going back on such a big promise after all the work the team had put in, and the years of sacrifice that had gone before that, would lose the commitment, trust and loyalty of the whole team. Leaders need to be careful what they promise, because going back on promises will not fly. A leader builds trust over a lifetime of keeping her word. It's actually all she's got. John would not see that. But then, he breaks promises to people all the time and really couldn't see the problem with it.
So we went to Zanzibar. It was a most magnificent time - people who live in tin shacks and had never been on an airplane or swum in the sea had the experience of a lifetime! The company bonded. Key relationships were forged. The company became more energised and focused on the future. It cost too much - but we made the absolute most of it.
Then the company started to crash. Major contracts we had in the pipeline moved out. The second part of the double-dip economic downturn hit us, and our company was in dire straits. The rest is written about in other parts of this blog.
But, interestingly, in May, I suddenly discovered that John had secretly taken 650 000 out of the company in February as a 'bonus' that he hadn't disclosed to anybody. That was a lot more than Zanzibar cost us, and, besides the obvious questions about fraud and theft that would arise from such an act, was a lot more reckless than he could ever accuse me of being - all that money, spent on one person? After 400 000 spent on the entire company was seen as reckless???
Of course the assertion that we wouldn't have had to retrench in July if we hadn't spent on Zanzibar was complete bullshit! Zanzibar cost less than half our monthly salary bill! It may have bought us 14 extra days, tops. Although the 1.5 million that he still owes the company would have bought us a bit longer than that....
Doesn't stop him from making the accusations, though. Or lying through his teeth to make me look useless. So the narcissist tactic is revealed - make a huge fuss pointing a finger in one direction to draw attention away from the real issue - THE MONEY HE TOOK!
Shew - I hope he catches the karma bus soon - this stuff is evil!