Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


They think they're clever.

They are single-minded. They have a goal. And that goal is to win.

This might be one of the problems associated with salespeople and everyone who's, driven by, well, "results."

I mention this only because of a current court case involving a company owned by Jimmy Haslam, who also happens to own the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns flatter to deceive. So, allegedly, did the salespeople at Pilot Flying J, the truck-stop conglomerate.

According to the AP, Vice President of Sales John "Stick" Freeman is accused of having instructed his salespeople to "Say one thing, do another."

I suppose this is the style of management some might describe as Rotten-Carrot-and- Stick.

This instruction was allegedly given specifically with respect to how the salespeople dealt with customers.

Somehow, this might seem familiar to so many people who have endured the joyous promises of a salesperson only to endure the sodden results.

We'll deliver on Monday. It arrives on Thursday.

This machine has a lifetime guarantee. "Lifetime" is strictly defined as "a one-year warranty" in the small print.

One Fortune 500 company salesman explained it to me very simply: "My job is to make the sale. It isn't to work out the details."

It's easy, perhaps, to blame salespeople as the biggest culprits. We can have so much contact with them that they're the natural scapegoats.

But every layer of management involves a little selling.

How often have you heard your manager tell you how it's going to be and suspected that they have every intention of doing things in an entirely different way?

How often have you gone to complain to a superior who completely understands your problem and will immediately fix it -- and nothing gets done?

I have heard the practice described as "Agree and Proceed, " or simply "Tell Them What They Want To Hear."

This can all, though, be short-sighted.

It's true that some salespeople will make the sale in the belief that they will move on and never have to deal with that customer again.

The pressure for the immediate win is all that matters. They're like sports stars. They take one game at a time.

The world, though, can spin on strange planes. You might think you can control the consequences -- or you just don't care about them -- but they might be more painful than you imagine.

There again, we currently have so many politicians who will say different things to each separate constituency. Once they've made the sale, they will do something entirely different. They know this in advance.

And we repeatedly buy it.

Why? Because we think the choices are few and extremely similar to each other.

Yes, that's just what politics needs -- a truly open market. How odd that vested interests always seem to prevent that from happening.