Last week was quite hectic. To begin with, we had a mid-year review of the business. It is amazing how much goes into preparing for such a review.
The CEO’s secretary went to great pains to ensure that all the required parties were available for the presentations.
Woe unto you if you dared tell her that you might not attend the session. As she once told me, ‘‘not attending such a meeting is a career limiting move.”
I was a bit confused about what I was supposed to present, seeing that I am still double-hatting; carrying out Business Development and Finance roles.
Despite my constant meetings with the HR boss, I do not feel that anything has firmly crystallised; once again re-affirming my lack of faith in HR.
So the CEO’s secretary told me that I needed to make presentations for both business development and finance departments and be ready to defend ‘‘the numbers’’. I didn’t have a problem with the business development presentation since I had done this for three years.
The one that gave me trouble was the finance one since I did not have any one to guide me — and so I had to shoot in the dark and hope that my presentation fits the bill.
As a result, I ended up burning the midnight oil and having to get to the office by 7am. Thankfully, Shiro was around which helped in terms of dealing with the children.
Another positive side of having her around is that she is very good with PowerPoint presentations. So I co-opted her to make sure that my presentations were on point. Yet, despite my preparations, the session did not go as well as I expected.
You did well for a rookie
Once one makes a presentation members of the leadership team give their feedback and ask questions. The main take from my business development presentation was that the firm was not doing as well as it should.
Indeed, we were 15 per cent behind target in terms of securing new business. This of course had an impact on the numbers, which were way behind target. When I presented the numbers most of the team behaved as if they were seeing them for the first time.
‘‘I cannot believe that we are not hitting our targets. Are you sure that these numbers are accurate?” one manager asked. The statement miffed me because he was insinuating that I was not competent to do the job. I noticed that about half of the team believed in my presentations while the rest were skeptical.
By the time I was done, half an hour later, I felt like I had been hang out to dry and that the whole team did not believe in my capabilities in finance.
After the presentation we had lunch and I was amazed by the turn around of the managers. The manager who had gave me a hard time came over and said; “Josphat, you did well for a rookie.”
I did not know what to make of this, so I jokingly said, ‘‘but you really gave me a hard time.” His response shocked me; ‘‘Of course I had to, I was managing things for the CEO.”
I did not understand his line of thinking and he must have sensed my confusion. ‘‘You must always manage the boss at all times. The boss does not like to hear that we are not doing well, even when we are. Therefore one must find a way of massaging the news. I was doing that for you,” he said.
This sounded unbelievable. ‘‘I could not have guessed that given the way you kept attacking me,” I said .
‘‘Do not take it personal, it is just business,’’ he retorted. As I walked away I bumped into the CEO’s secretary. ‘‘The boss wants to see you,’’ she said, wearing a very serious face.