Who Runs Corporate America? And Why Does It Seem Like They Are Deliberating Trying To Sabotage It?
Prior to becoming an author & writer I worked as a consultant in corporate America for about 15 years. I consulted in the financial software space and only worked with Fortune 500 companies who were publicly traded. These were very large companies who filed quarterly/annual earnings reports to their stockholders and to the SEC. The software I implemented did the SEC disclosure portion of that company’s reporting.
So now you nodded off right? It wasn’t very exciting given I had to have both an accounting and finance as well as an Information Technology (IT) background to do my job. Yeah, I hear the snoring now, but I bring it up because I figure I’m no slouch. I’m not a dumb gal.
OK then for the life of me what I couldn’t understand is the way that some of these companies operate that almost seems self-sabotaging. I know that’s a strong word but it’s true, I stand by that descriptive word I chose of “self-sabotaging”.
As a consultant I was able to see the inter-workings of quite a few of the top Fortune 500 companies, especially since I implemented or changed their financial system in some way. As a matter of fact, if you look at the top 50 on Fortune’s 500 listing for 2017, out of the top 50 that made the list I have done work for 12 of them over the years. Here’s a link to Fortune’s 500 List for 2017 in case you haven’t had a chance to peruse it.
And EVERY place I got to peek inside of sometimes for just a few months and sometimes for years, always had the same common denominator.
They all had such a high amount of corporate bs, corporate game playing, and immoral behavior that it was self-sabotaging.
These companies take people’s money, consumer’s money as they buy their product or services or simply they put their trust in these companies and invest with them and buy their stock.
As a consumer, as someone who buys goods and services from some of these organizations and someone who has purchased their stock, I am ASHAMED to know what goes on inside the walls of that company using the money that I give them.
As a consultant, I was flabbergasted and appalled at the absolute insanity that I both witnessed and became a party to just because I was there trying to complete a job for that company.
One of the perks of being a consultant is that you come in to do a specific job and then you leave. This allows you or used to allow you to steer clear of the corporate politics and bs that went on. Not anymore, even consultants are subject to the same garbage.
I would like to have been able to compare the “shenanigans” I witnessed firsthand, to the movie “Office Space” written by Mike Judge. But unfortunately Judge drew his script for office space from a temp job he had processing purchase orders and working as an engineer for 3 months in San Francisco. He has been quoted as saying the job came about “just in the heart of Silicon Valley and in the middle of that overachiever yuppie thing, it was just awful”.
Well if that’s what Mike Judge surmised just after a few months, can you imagine what someone who has consulted for 15 years in those offices has seen.
To use a little humor from Mike Judge’s movie, which makes very real situations in the corporate world a little more palatable, I tend to migrate to some of the funnier scenes that I have also witnessed happen in multiple companies.
The scene where the “outside consulting firm” has come in to down-size their working population and the main character Peter Gibbons tells them that he doesn’t really care about the company and his job, and for that they end up PROMOTING him.
While this is side-splitting funny, I have seen this exact thing occur at least twice while I was a consultant at 2 very large companies. I didn’t imagine it, I saw it first-hand where someone who proclaimed their dis-taste and overall bad attitude for the company was rewarded by an upward promotion.
I have always hesitated to write a blog like this, because I didn’t want it to have a “tell all” feel to it. But I always think of the topic as myself and some of team members do business with some of the companies that fit this profile.
So, I decided to write something on our blog that starts the conversation. Why are these companies so out of control? It’s not like the machines are running the show and humans sit idly by and hope for the best. These are actual humans running these organizations and there is so much terrible behavior it’s unbelievable.
I guess that’s my first complaint, the behavior of people within the workplace. I feel like it leads to other things that are even worse. As you know the topic today from a sexual harassment and women equality standpoint is definitely now in the forefront. A person who is willing to act with atrocious behavior at work in general might be more apt to commit sexual harassment against another co-worker. Think about that for a minute?
What about the rest of a person’s general behavior at work, especially if they are in a position of power?
Here we go… I have witnessed people screaming at the top pf their lungs during a meeting if they were unhappy, I have watched executives pound their fists on desks, I have watched company leaders at the CFO and CIO levels purposefully antagonize and lie in a meeting to ensure a person or group gets penalized or disciplined for something they weren’t responsible for.
I have watched company leaders use profanities, racial slurs and other countless discriminatory and racists and negative comments towards other people in their organization and sometimes in front of them directly. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
This behavior by educated adults to me is absolutely appalling. I have never seen behavior so poor as I have in some of the executive leaders in major Fortune 500 companies.
It’s kind of like a kindergarten playground, but at least in kindergarten you were somewhat innocent. Most of what I witnessed and had as well experienced first-hand, was done from a place of negativity and detest.
Why is this behavior the same from company to company? I don’t have the answer for that other than the obvious which is people behave like this to acquire some personal gain. They want upward mobility, they want a bigger bonus etc.… So they don’t care how they achieve those things and many times at the expense of others.
And as I said above, this is self-sabotaging behavior in that it costs the company in money and in people. From harassment and discrimination lawsuits, to emotional distress, poor performing staff, to simply causing pain and re-work on the same issue multiple times. It’s self-sabotaging, expensive and dangerously immoral.
I will say to offer both viewpoints, there are some people at these corporations who do not operate this way. They are honest hard-working individuals with which I had the pleasure to directly interface with. Some of whom held executive positions in their companies.
However, sadly they are few and far between. Most of the masses of decent people seem to be the general rank and file and not part of upper management.
So what does that say? The message I believe it sends is that negative and immoral behavior is rewarded and thus we end up where we are today with the emotional and physical messes that exist in these workplaces.
Perhaps we should be talking about that immoral and inappropriate behavior as we talk about sexual harassment and equality for women in the workplace.
I believe many of these issues stem from behavior from company leaders and staff who are allowed to act without morals and ethics. As I saw it, people turned the cheek at the screaming, profanities, fist pounding and racial/discriminatory slurs that executive leaders displayed, mainly because they hold the power. Sound familiar?
I think they should be called out, identified and reprimanded for this behavior. Perhaps there’s a new movement afoot… #NoMore should be attached to everything we do allowing us to call those offenders out on the carpet and tell them that this immoral behavior is no longer allowed and won’t be tolerated.
Achieve your upward mobility and financial gain but do it with honesty and integrity. In this writer’s opinion, we need quite a bit more of those items in our world.