Last month, I spoke about a coworker who greatly exaggerated his own abilities.
He promised all kinds of great rewards and, even early on, before anyone knew of his capability (or lack thereof), we could all smell the distinct odor of, as mentioned, bullshit. He agreed to something, a bit of a test, that would, if he truly was as good as he’d boasted, be possible, if challenging.
But this guy was a pro–he’d been playing this game a long time. He’d lined up his excuses and scapegoats early. However, when people scheme like this, they rarely notice that smart people see through the intrigue and diversion. Each of us is responsible for identifying our complete strategy–what we must plan, what we must do, how to execute that plan, and to manage any potential obstacles. Using the “excuses and scapegoats” strategy is very short-lived. You might get away with it once, but people notice. That rope gets shorter each time, people watch a bit closer, and should you attempt it again, your credibility is shot.
Doing NLP, people know that I won’t judge your reasons by applying my own moral stance to them. Your reasons are your own, though if I follow the logic you present and see that it might not go exactly as you plan, I’ll speak up. Someone who watches you driving toward a cliff and says nothing is not your friend.
So it is on practical grounds that I’ve refused to help people become better at doing bad things. And I only say it in such moralistic terms for simplicity’s sake. Had that person asked for help at being better in his duplicity, I would have refused. Not because I’m such a great guy, but because I truly believe that path leads toward a very steep cliff.
Still, the guy has seemingly made it a practice to overpromise, underdeliver, fail until he’s fired, and then brush up his line of BS, and repeat the process all over again somewhere else. I’m sharing all this from the perspective of someone working alongside such a person, though if you’re a manager, you can begin using your skills to suss out the truth of what the person can and will deliver. Specifics, specifics, specifics.
In NLP, the twin models of The Milton Model and The Meta Model work in tandem to draw people either into or out of trance, respectively. I’m vastly oversimplifying, but when someone uses generalities, vague, noncommittal language, they are likely using The Milton Model (going into trance). An example from this situation is where the guy would say, “Man, I’m just out there, rockin’ and rollin’, doin’ gangbusters! Started with 200k in the pipeline and now I’m, what, I ain’t even slowed down enough to check, somethin’ like ten million! Somethin’ like that! And I ain’t slowed down for nothin’! Even though I got no Marketing support, no Technical backing, no Enablement, Legal, nothin’! I just hope they all step up as I get these big deal to the line!”
Notice how he’s suggested that he alone has accomplished much. But he’s also been vague regarding an actual number. He’s counting on our using that comparison–what he started with to where he is now–as being sufficiently impressive. But he’s also offering a preemptive excuse. “I just hope they all step up…” is saying that he got us this far by himself. But if one person messes up, we could lose everything. And he’s already lumped four groups into that “Potential Scapegoats” category. All this might sound sophisticated, but it’s easy to see through. Smart leadership catches on. And consider the structure of this approach. Outside of work, you’ve likely seen this sort of strategy before. Kids do it to parents, husbands to wives, and vice versa, people in multiple relationship configurations try this all the time.
Are you noticing now how it follows a person who does it–creating a reputation as someone overflowing with an abundance of…male cow’s refuse?
It really doesn’t pay off in the long run.
So what do you do if you have a great pitch–you can talk the talk–but you lack the skills to follow through (walking the talk)? Easy. Develop those skills. Everything that someone ever learned can be learned by someone else. If you have the aptitude or innate talent, great. Develop that. If you don’t, you may have to work a little more at it. But with the right strategy and sufficient desire, you can do anything. Those who embrace the philosophy “fake it until you make it” aren’t wrong. Unless of course they leave that second step off. The fellow we’ve been discussing stuck at step 1, “fake it” and went no further.
You have no reason to not go further, to enjoy the most possible success and the other great rewards. Promise what you can deliver, then do it. Build a reputation of excellence, commitment and skill. Then demonstrate that reputation daily.
That way, when “what goes around” begins to “come around”, it brings with it the wondrous, outrageously successful outcomes you’ve wanted. And with a nice, satisfying “click”, they fall firmly into place for you. Now.
Copyright © 2022 Chris Gingolph