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Enemy turns prospective client

April 13, 2009

This is based on true events.

A manager has a huge argument with his CEO after months of mutual resentment. The CEO had made a questionable decision that botched his project, leaving the manager to face the customer’s wrath by himself. The whole office hears the shouting match. Sick of the whole thing, he quit and disappears for a long break. Months later, he joins a big MNC. The memory still traumatizes him but he’s ready to move on. He’s tasked to head a team implementing a large million-dollar project.

He is also put in charge of vendor selection so he invites a few prominent market players for proposals. Weeks later, he calls in the three top bidders to present their solutions. After the first bidder was done, the second bidder is called in.

He has a shock of his life. The lead presenter is none other than his previous CEO, who had apparently left the company and is now the CEO of this vendor.

What do you think the manager did?

  1. Chase the CEO out of the office
  2. Pretend not to know him
  3. Listen to the presentation but disqualify him behind the scenes
  4. Listen to the presentation and give him the benefit of doubt

If you answered #3, you’re right. His reason – the CEO has a “proven track record” of bungling up a large project during his time. With this a justification, the manager raises the CEO’s company’s risk profile from unknown to high. It affects the CEO’s overall vendor score and automatically drops him from the race.

Whether that is an ethical move or not is another story but my point is this. In business, you burn your bridges at your own peril. You may have grounds to lose your head and try and make life difficult for others but what you cannot control is how the dice rolls and what lies around the next corner.

If you think karma’s a bitch, just imagine the manager coming to work one day and learning that his MNC is throwing a party to welcome its new president – his ex CEO.

Moral of the story: If you are the CEO, never assume the people you “put away” won’t come back to haunt you. If you are a regular employee, never assume you can shake off the people you hate, even after you switched jobs.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. LC Teh permalink
    April 13, 2009 11:30 am

    I saw a similar case happened right before my eyes. Both are now ex-colleagues. One was a senior with no formal qualifications; the other a junior still wet behind his ears. Both worked in equipment design. Senior treated junior like dirt.

    One day senior thought he could make a better life working on his own. He resigned and set up his own design office. He came around to meet design boss hoping to get some sub-contract jobs. Boss told him to speak to who else but junior who has now become senior.

    Result: After months of hanging around with ‘junior’ dangling carrots but never offering him any, ex-senior went back to work in some other factory.

    Sad isn’t it, how life can be full of regrets. Sometimes the higher we are, the faster we forget to watch where (or on who) we step.

  2. April 13, 2009 12:16 pm

    I’ve also witnessed something similar before. A boss who always threaten and bully the employees, esp those who are about to leave. Well, what goes around comes around and sooner or later, he might have to taste his own medicine.

    p/s… and maybe that is why his reputation is so terrible in the industry that nobody wants to partner him or gives him business

    Those with a bad reputation who don’t feel like changing can always stop doing “normal” business and start getting into “other” business. If they team up with the local mafia, they can open up an Ah Long business and be as bad as they want. Be good can make money, be bad also can make money. Both can lead to early death. The first of stress from bad bosses, the second from gangland wars. πŸ™‚

  3. April 17, 2009 9:06 am

    well, that is a sure sucessfull businessman, in business no one is enemy forever and vice versa

    I hear its the same in politics too. πŸ™‚

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