When bar talk can be trouble
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When bar talk can be trouble


It pains me to say it but there is a tendency among us bankers to take credit for victories and shift the blame for wrongdoing onto anyone else. It is of course a tricky art to perfect, as one of my friends recently discovered the hard way.

I was catching up with this chap over a single malt a few days ago and he wouldn’t stop moaning about an intransigent client, who felt the time was absolutely right to launch a deal. My friend was telling anyone who would listen how the decision was against his better judgement.

But as is sometimes the case, it became clear as soon as the deal was launched that in fact there was demand that my friend had not foreseen. Needless to say, he swiftly changed his tack, saying it was he who had planted the idea in the CFO’s head in the first place.

Unfortunately for him, the client didn’t appear to think so because the next time I spotted my friend he was sitting gloomily in the same bar. When I asked him the reason for his mood, he said that he had been taken off the account at the client’s request.

Now I too have been guilty of occasionally making bad calls and of taking credit when it wasn’t due. But I’ve always managed to get away scot free and badmouthing a client’s decision never got me into trouble.

Times have changed though because my friend swears that bars now have ears (or spies sent by the client) and any off-the-cuff banter could very well lead to dire consequences.

My advice for him? Find a new watering hole to drown his sorrows — quietly.