A Costly Cup of Free Water

Has anyone NOT seen the Youtube video of the Vante (well, now former) CFO/Treasurer boasting about how he was going to abuse the drive-thru window clerk at Chick-fil-A upon picking up his FREE water? He did abuse and berate her and then posted the video so all the world could see what a man of principle he was.

He apparently thought better of the idea a short while after he posted it, but by then it was too late. Even though he pulled the video, downloaded copies already existed. Not only does the whole world now know, but the whole world included his company and they were not very happy with their Finance Chief. I’m sure he was accompanied out-the-door before he even knew what was happening.

A costly cup of water
A costly cup of water

That free water came at a pretty steep price.

There are some important take-aways from his reckless and brazen action.

Your brand precedes you

As a Personal Brand Strategist, I applaud strong brands. This, however, isn’t a strong brand in any positive sense. But it certainly is a strong brand: a self-righteous, self-centered, bully brand that now, thanks to social media, will follow him throughout the rest of his career.

There may be some companies with whom his brand will resonate, so the impact to his career is yet to be determined.

Your brand is not what you think, but what others think

I’m sure what Mr. Smith thought of his actions were polar opposite to what most of us viewing the video now think about him. His view of himself doesn’t matter. The fact that he was fired, immediately, validates that statement.

Self-centered brands are rarely attractive

This executive showed NO empathy or concern for the young lady he was going to abuse and then let the world watch his abuse of her. I wonder, is this the way he leads his finance team? Would you want to work for him? Would you want him at the executive table? Such arrogant self-centeredness is not an attractive quality that is typically in high demand.

I have a feeling the fallout from this irresponsible executive’s actions could be a significant set back for the average Finance Chief who had been considering venturing into social media. However, what you do as a savvy CFO and what he did as a reckless ideologue are surely two entirely different things.

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