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I am dealing with a colleague who is trying to sell a product we don't have.

He pitched an idea for a new product internally, but nothing is committed or confirmed, and there is no ETA or any development being done.

My colleague is trying to sell customers his project so that he can "create an emergency" by going back to management and saying "I mentioned my new product to customers and they wanted buy it, you need to get started on it now". If every team did this, we would be in absolute chaos, and our reputation as a company would be shattered.

I tried to explain to my colleague that, as a company, we don't sell things we don't have, and we don't mention "upcoming products" when nothing is committed for them. He replied "we are talking about the same thing, I don't see the problem".

I don't know how to deal with a situation like this, when this person is effectively saying and doing whatever he/she wants. This colleague is lying to my face to pursue his personal agenda. I am afraid that:

  1. if I explain there is a process, he will accuse me of thinking about the process, not customers;
  2. if I explain nothing is committed, he will repeat that "everything was already decided" (that's not the case)
  3. if I ask him to explain what support he has for what he is telling to customers, I might sound too aggressive or inquisitive and this will be used against me, e.g. "this guy complained because customers wanted to buy my project"

Question: how do I manage colleagues who lie and exaggerate to pursue their own agenda?

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    Are you in the customer meetings with him? That is, are you wondering how to deal with his assertions in the customer meetings? If not, how do you know what he's doing but your boss (apparently) does not?
    – Llewellyn
    Dec 20, 2020 at 18:30

2 Answers 2

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Question: how do I manage colleagues who lie and exaggerate to pursue their own agenda?

You don't manage your colleagues at all as this is not your responsibility or duty. Trying to do so already got you into the rather unpleasant situation as you are overstepping your post.

What you do instead is speak to your boss/manager, explain those concerns and they can then handle it in whatever way they see fit, especially as this is something impacting more than just you.

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  • Agreed. When I saw the question "How do I manage colleagues" I thought: if you're allowed to manage them, then they're not your colleagues.
    – Kevin
    Dec 22, 2020 at 22:06
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Why are you talking with this person in the first place?

if I explain there is a process, he will accuse me of thinking about the process, not customers;

if I explain nothing is committed, he will repeat that "everything was already decided" > (that's not the case)

if I ask him to explain what support he has for what he is telling to customers, I > might sound too aggressive or inquisitive and this will be used against me, e.g. "this guy complained because customers wanted to buy my project"

  1. Don't explain there is a process. Point to the process and do as it says. Don't explain yourself. The process is there for a reason.
  2. Don't explain yourself. "Nothing is commited" means nothing have been done according to processes to start work. EOT
  3. Let him tell to customers whatever he wants. Then point to processes. If he have problem with it, push it to yours managers.

Step back, do things according to processes and FWD emails.

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