The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Introduction

This is not a supportive article with a kind tone, it is a rant. A rant to the CEO of my company from someone who you have repeatedly expected to pick up the pieces of your ill-conceived and hubristic visions. I have done this for over a decade without any thanks, or even acknowledgment. I’ve done this for a paycheck, but a paycheck can take you only so far.  A paycheck makes you work only hard enough not to get fired.

My company had an e-commerce website where customers could both order products online and also find the closest location that offered those products for sale.  In 2016, the CEO decided to discontinue the site because “nobody orders our products online.”

Fast forward to 2020 and the pandemic is in full swing.  The same CEO decides we need an e-commerce website because “everybody is ordering online.”  Great expense and effort were expended to stand up a new e-commerce website, which we had fully functional before he decided to get rid of it.  Two years later it still is not functional.  Now the CEO’s mistake should be forgiven because nobody can see into the future, right?  Yes, except for two things: 1) He claimed to be a visionary who could see future trends, and 2) over a dozen people in both the Marketing and Technology departments warned him that shutting down the original website was a risky move.  He did it anyway.

Justifications

I know. You cannot get it right all the time. Fair enough. Just don’t expect others to hang onto your “visions” with fanatical loyalty from now on. Moreover, scores of people now pay the price in long hours of work to re-invent the perfectly fine and functional wheel you already had four years ago. You also ignored the experienced team you had in-house and hired a new team of outsiders who had to start all over again. They built systems that already existed, entered gigabytes of data that had already been entered, pulled from the wrong data, designed web pages that had already been designed, and made dozens of mistakes that had already been made.  They had no clue what had already been created inside the company as they scurried to create parallel systems with no knowledge of what was already there, no knowledge of what would and would not work, no knowledge of what had already been tried and failed, and no knowledge of the company itself.

The Fallacies

Here are the fallacies that brought you to where you are:

You Think You Know

You think you know everything, but you don’t know what is going on in your organization. I see it very clearly in the statements you make. You are completely disconnected from what is happening in your organization. What is worse, you have no clue how disconnected you really are.

Have you ever heard of leadership by walking around?  It is not a new or difficult concept. I used it when I commanded a military unit in combat. Every day I would walk around to the forward positions and speak to the soldiers in the trenches.  I learned a lot about what was going on, because I met the men on their turf and they were comfortable speaking to me.  Town halls and open meetings with the boss aren’t going to cut it.  People won’t tell you what’s really going on if it is something you arranged, isn’t on their turf, and has people present who they don’t trust. You’ll just get a bunch of bobble-heads nodding that everything is fine.

When you meet people on their turf, either alone or with their friends, they will be much more open to telling you things, both good and bad.  However, be very careful in how you react to the bad. If you get them in trouble, by making their bosses come down on them, they will never confide in you again.  You can still do leadership by walking around in a remote work environment.  Just reach out to people on the company instant messenger.  It is not optimal, but still a much better solution than what you are doing.

Culture of Cronyism

You rely on cronies and yes men to keep you informed. The most aggressively enthusiastic people in your face are not the ones who will tell you reality. They are aggressively in your face for a reason, and that reason is their own self-interests. They usually self-nominated for higher positions so they could have your ear and reap the benefits thereof.  They will not tell you anything negative or with the potential of generating hard work that might fail.  They are master politicians who not only go along to get along, they manipulate your vision of reality so they can get along better.  Instead, personally reach down to competent people who are not expecting you to ask their advice.  Do it one-on-one.  You will lose nothing and probably gain some valuable insight.

Moreover, when people in the trenches try to bring something to your attention or make suggestions for improvement, it disappears into a black hole.  I’ve done so several times without any acknowledgment from you.  I do not know if you are just “too busy” or if someone is handling your messages for you and deems mine unimportant. So be it. I did not continue to waste my time trying to inform you. Your loss, not mine.  It is certainly your prerogative to choose which advice you will consider, but at least be honest about it and stop spouting off your cliches about empowering employees in your emails and company meetings. You’re not empowering anyone, except the yes men surrounding you.

Looking Outside

When you need a problem solved, you look outside your organization instead of the talent already there within. I get the importance of “fresh ideas,” “current technologies,” and “best practices.”  However, all those already exist within your organization. Fresh ideas that you ignore. Professionals you already hired who take it upon themselves to stay current in technologies. Leaders already there who are heavily invested in aligning process with best practices.  Why do you need new people to do things that can already be done within your company?  Moreover, the people in your organization have the institutional knowledge that these new, fresh people cannot match for many years to come. You are shooting yourself in the foot by doing this, yet you continue to do it repeatedly.

You also preferred to bring in outside consultants to set up new systems or do custom work rather than have your own people do it. Predictably, the consultants promised you the world, cashed out and departed, leaving your people to deal with over-engineered, under-performing garbage. Anyone can get fooled, but you continued to do this repeatedly.  Moreover, you dismiss warnings and recommendation from your employees who are trying to avoid the convoluted messes that the contractors create and leave behind.  I have seen lying, incompetent, unethical contractors get repeated business from you and your senior leaders, even after employees have exposed them.

Technology Over People

You rely on technology to solve people problems. During my time in your employ, I’ve watched you champion and (try to) roll out several different huge systems that would be the answer to all your problems.  All have failed so far with high price tags, except for the most current one, and the jury is still out on that one.* Millions of dollars and possibly over a million people-hours poured into failed endeavors that did not take the human element into account.

The most common blind spot was, who will enter the data and how will it be entered? I cannot count the number of times a costly, complex system was provisioned only to discover after the fact that the needed data was nowhere to be found. Nobody in a position of authority ever seemed to check on that beforehand. People in the trenches, myself included, tried to warn you.  You ignored those warnings. I cannot count the number of times I informed senior leadership of this problem only to have it ignored. I suspect this is because of the cronyism factor mentioned above.  Obtaining data would have been difficult, complex work with a high likelihood of problems and failure. It was safer for the crony to ignore it and then blame the tech people after things failed.  Better to have a bunch of underlings fired and keep his senior position.

Integrity Issues

You have integrity issues. There is no way to state that kindly. You have a great smile and winsome demeanor, but your actions do not match your words and the people who have worked for you a while know it.  They know they cannot depend on your word and they therefore hedge their bets and do what is safest for them.  After some time, their actions do not match their words either.  You instilled that into them.  Your religious statements in the workplace just underscore the big contrast between your words and your actions. The people under you do the same, starting with your senior leadership. They parrot the words, but then look to their own best interests. I have worked for an increasing number of managers and directors who mimic you.  They have bibles on their desks, speak of God, pray before meetings … then manipulate, use, and discard their employees.  You have created a culture of phoniness and deceit.  If you cannot or will not live by the religious proclamations you make, then it is best not to make them at all, else you look like an even bigger hypocrite. 

Closing Statement

Look around you. People are leaving in droves. You keep championing bad ideas. Those who remain, other than the opportunists, are not engaged. Price’s Law states that the square root of the people in an organization do 50% of the work. That is about 40 people in the home office.  What are the chances that some, or many, of those 40 have just about had enough and will be leaving soon? Are you retaining your star performers? Do you even know who your star performers are?  I mean the ones who do the real work, not the ones who play a starring role in presenting themselves to you. Key employees are the first to leave when a company’s environment grows toxic.  You are rolling the dice, Mr. CEO, and the dice are loaded. Quit pretending you are a visionary and learn to be a leader.


* The jury reached a verdict. The latest huge system was also a dismal failure costing millions of dollars and not solving the problem, only enriching the consultants. Why you ask? *drum roll* It was not able to access the needed data. Over $110 million spent on a system that is incompatible with every single software application used by the company. Even trying to integrate company financials, which should be a basic function, failed miserably. Whose recommendations did you accept for this complex technical project and then appoint in charge of it? An accountant. A freaking accountant! Would you hire a software engineer to do your taxes? Highly doubtful, yet you seem to think an accountant is qualified to provision and set up a highly complex software system … simply because he is buddies with one of your other executives. The level of your delusion is mind-boggling. Well, I guess the numbers in the spreadsheet (provided by the company selling the product) all looked great. You reap what you sow. I would say next time hire some experts instead of cronies, but chances are good you will just double down on the same failed methods again.

Site Footer

Sliding Sidebar

A woman is simultaneously a victim and empowered, until something happens. Then she chooses which state benefits her the most.

A woman is simultaneously a victim and empowered, until something happens. Then she chooses which state benefits her the most.

A Chad is a stereotypical alpha male. He is depicted as attractive, successful, muscular, cocky and very popular among women. He has a tendency to play the field and will not commit to any woman.

An enabler of a highly narcissistic person or someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A flying monkey is an agent who acts on their behalf.

Projection involves taking an unacceptable part of oneself, disowning it, and placing it onto someone else. The manipulator describes the victim and paints them in a light that more accurately portrays the attacker himself.

Toxic amnesia is a tactic where the perpetrator pretends to not remember abuse, betrayals, lies, and other hurtful and dysfunctional behaviors they've engaged in. Its a form of gaslighting. Its purpose is to make you doubt your perceptions and memories.

Narcissistic rage can be triggered by various situations, such as criticism, perceived rejection, or being ignored. The reaction is often extreme and disproportionate to the event or comment, as the narcissist's fragile ego struggles to cope with the perceived attack on their self-image.

Triangulation is when a toxic or manipulative person, often a person with strong narcissistic traits, brings a third person into their relationship in order to remain in control. There will be limited or no communication between the two triangulated individuals except through the manipulator. It may appear in different forms, but all are about divide and conquer, or playing people against each other.

The action or practice of lavishing someone with attention or affection, especially in order to influence or manipulate them.

Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.

To gaslight someone means to manipulate another person into doubting their own perceptions, experiences or understanding of events. ~ American Psychological Association

Because their sense of self is determined by what others think of them, narcissists use relationships for self-enhancement. Everyone must feed them. In addition, they seek validation and attention in their public and professional life. Other people are used as objects in order to provide their supply. For example, they may need constant compliments or applause, more status and money, or may check their appearance in the mirror several times a day. ~ Psychology Today

Fraud that targets people belonging to a particular community or group, typically that in which someone pretends to be a member of the group in order to gain the trust of others.

Second Attack
Second Attack
First Attack
First Attack
Initial Dispositions
Initial Dispositions
ZSU 23-4
ZSU 23-4 Anti-Aircraft Gun
TOW Missile
TOW Anti-Tank Missile
T55 Tank
T55 Tank
SA7
SA7 Surface to Air Missile
M113
M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)
M48 Tank
M48 Tank
Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter Jet
BTR-50
BTR-50 Armored Personnel Carrier
BM21 Stalin Organ
BM21 Stalin Organ
Howitzer
Howitzer
AT7 Anti-Tank Missile
AT7 Anti-Tank Missile
AT3 Sagger Anti-Tank Missile
AT3 Sagger Anti-Tank Missile
120mm Mortar
120mm Mortar
AT4 Anti-Tank Missile
AT4 Anti-Tank Missile

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

A religious leader uses valid verses or concepts from the Bible about following and obeying God to generate enthusiasm in people, then misdirects that obedience to himself as a representative of God. The group believes they are following and obeying God, but in reality are obeying the leader.

A fictional, exaggerated version of an opposing viewpoint, especially one that is intentionally created to be easy to dismiss or argue against and to make one's own argument seem stronger. Straw man arguments can be made unintentionally, but most are made on purpose to make the other side seem evil, incompetent, or extremist.

The religious leader distracts members from mentally registering what he is doing.  Screaming praise to God when something he proclaimed does not come to pass.  Acting like a bad thing is really a good thing.  Just keep talking and talking and talking, while ignoring that nothing is happening. It is the same thing politicians have done successfully for years.

The leader calls members flattering adjectives or nouns, like righteous, holy, or saint.  These are often vague and difficult to define, so the member feels the leader’s superior knowledge has recognized something good in them.  Conversely, if the leader later withdraws this praise, the member is eager to toe the line to recover it.

Manipulation of a person or group's emotions in order to make them believe something is factual (or false) in the absence of any evidence. The manipulator tries to draw on the recipient's inward feelings such as fear, pity, or joy with the goal of convincing them that the statements being presented are true or false.

Essentially a black-and-white worldview with the leader as the ultimate moral arbiter. This creates an atmosphere of guilt and shame, where punishment and humiliation are expected. It also sets up an environment wherein members spy and report on one another. Through submission to the guilt-inducing and impossible demand for purity, members lose their moral bearing.

The use of jargon internal to (and only understandable by) the group. Constricting language constricts the person. Capacities for thinking and feeling are significantly reduced. Imagination is no longer a part of life experiences, and the mind atrophies from disuse.

The process whereby the group becomes the ultimate arbiter and all nonbelievers become so-called evil or non-people. If these non-people cannot be recruited, then they can be punished or even killed. This process creates an us-versus-them mentality that breeds fear in followers who learn that life depends on a willingness to obey. This is when individuals merge with the group’s belief.