Passing grade in feining kiss-ass

I had to go into work early Friday after having the previous two days off.   The reason for this was a change in my schedule due to the arrival of a VP of the company for a little ‘look-see’ and ‘press-the-flesh’ the executives do before major holidays.  Most of the time they’re ensconced over in Buffalo, much like the executives were in Syracuse with the last company I worked for.  They only ventured out for what they deemed ‘important’ dates, and the places they go have to ‘spruce-up’ and make nice for them, so they can see how the other half lives.  Except they never get the full measure (and they know it), because no one tells them how things are really going.

So to me, it’s a dog and pony show.  And it always has been.

The only time I’d ever been impressed with the manner in which an executive ever visited places was when I was working for the previous employer, and there was a hired gun brought in from California (it soon turned out to be an enormous clusterfuck, but it started out promising).  His method, at least in the beginning, sidestepped the normal method of pre-sprucing places for visits.  He would go to the stores he wanted to visit, or send in people that just shopped there, didn’t interact with the store management, and took notes on what they saw.  Who they spoke to, how they were treated, everything.  So when he went back in, in his official capacity, he could see through all the hoopla that was put in place to dazzle him.  And it worked.  He could say ‘Well, I was here last week on this day, and this happened, and I saw that, or one of my people saw this or that, experienced this thing, and why is that?”  Sure, maybe a ‘gotcha’ moment, but at least it wasn’t him showing up unawares, seeing everything looking pristine, and then walking out of the place thinking everything is great, when it never is.  These sorts of visits infuriate me.  But, I’m not allowed to say anything.  So, I don’t.  I glad-hand, make nice and get them out of my department.

I’ve worked for three different companies, and these visits are without a doubt always the same.  Spending an inordinate amount of time and money to create a visage for someone to see.  They’re trying to convince them everything they see is just fine, if there are fewer hours to work with, that’s swept under the rug.  Any other problems, same thing.  Just make nice and go on with business, as if that makes any sense.

I guess I just don’t understand the nuances of corporate executives.  If was running a company, I would want to know the crap along with the good stuff.  So I could fix the crap and make things better for not only the customers that make my business go, but the employees who are on the front lines.  But no one wants to do that.

As expected, we got word the execs were pleased with what they saw.  So, the show goes on.  And the overall problems remain.  Naturally.