This article was based on Episode # 26: Dimitri Constantantine’s Story, please watch the complete episode here!

 

“You don’t even realize you’re stuck at the bottom of the well until you’re actually stuck at the bottom of the well.” — Dimitri Constantine

Who doesn’t hate bullying? This act of abuse is rampant among students, but if you think you finally escaped bullying after you have graduated, then you are wrong. 

Employees still experience bullying, might it be physical or psychological, this abusive act is still rampaging in the different workplaces. 

People who have power might be safe from this, but those still rising up are very vulnerable. This is why if you ever have power, don’t tolerate this cruel and abusive act. 

Don’t use your power to bully those lower than you; be their savior just like our sharer for today, Dimitri Constantine, who had saved his team from getting abused even if the promising idea would let him earn trillions of dollars if they pulled it through. He didn’t turn a blind eye to bullying just because of that project. 

But how did he escape from that promising idea? Why did he conclude that people’s moral character was more important than financial gain? Now with that interesting concept, grab your notebook and pen and start writing down your client’s horror tales.

Dimitri Constantine has been in commercial web development since 2005. Dimitri is actually a CEO of a company, and they were focused on web applications. 

One day, Dimitri was contacted by his friend, who he grew up with. They were childhood friends, and they still kept in contact over the years. Because they were such good friends, his childhood friend knew everything about Dimitri, including his company. 

She was also interested in website design, and because of that, she was approached by somebody at a tradeshow in a convention center. She was intrigued by this guy because she was invited for an opportunity to sell a medical device. Dimitri shared that this woman was good at doing sales, so a lot of ideas constantly approached her, but according to her, this idea was different. 

She also described the guy as someone who was trustworthy and was credible as well, so she gave this idea a chance. Both the guy and Dimitri’s childhood friend conversed in a meeting, and she immediately agreed to help him. But she was also curious why the idea was able to lure her very quickly, so she asked for help to Dimitri and told him to take a look and tell her if he also saw the same thing as she did. 

She also told Dimitri that the guy was looking for a web designer, so she wanted Dimitri’s company in. Dimitri was intrigued, so he went and talked to the gentleman. He then realized that the idea was reliant on consumer-oriented marketing. 

This was the reason why his childhood friend recommended him because Dimitri’s agency was probably one of the only people she knew that does that sort of thing. After talking to the guy, Dimitri did one of his company’s specialties: poke some holes and look for some loopholes from the idea. 

But surprisingly, out of many ideas that he observed and analyzed, Dimitri couldn’t seem to poke a single hole from that idea because, to be honest, it was really a brilliant idea. 

 

Due diligence is important

There was no problem with the idea, so Dimitri did some due diligence on this gentleman, and he discovered that this guy had already brought a couple of partners. He, himself, was the number one salesperson of this medical device. 

Dimitri also discovered that the CEO of this medical device idea had over 30 years of operation experience in the industry. All of the people working for this idea had a lot of experience, and the materials were all high quality. The legal officer of this project had 30 years of experience, and the CFO had 20 years as a controller for a construction company. Pretty much everyone was a professional. 

Because everything was so perfect, Dimitri got that gut feeling that something wasn’t right. He dealt with hundreds of companies every year, and they all asked Dimitri to say something about their ideas. Dimitri helped these companies in many ways, but the most helpful strategy that he and his clients love is his way of pointing out things that don’t work. 

Whenever Dimitri is asked for his opinion about an idea, he always looks for the holes first and tells them what they need to fix before continuing the project. This is why Dimitri thought of this idea as rare because he couldn’t find anything wrong with it. 

I mean, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a perfect idea. But the thought of this idea wasn’t in the market yet. Even with professional people working on it and the high-quality materials used, there is something wrong with it. 

It’s like when you are alone in a bar, and a supermodel, billionaire, intelligent, and sexy girl approaches you and actually likes you. Even if you know that there is no problem with you, the fact that a girl like that made the first move at you and it was your first time, you can clearly sense that there is something wrong. 

Going back, Dimitri accepted the offer and his company built a connection immediately. Dimitri loved his team, and he appreciated everyone, which is why he got so indulged in this project when he saw how the other professional members of this project treated his team. 

Dimitri studied the project and concluded that there was a massive gap in this industry, which was an enormous upside. He thought this was one of those products that anyone can use, not for a specific problem or demographic. It’s pretty much like 90% of the population needs this product right at some point in their lives. The medical device was efficient and faster to use, so Dimitri saw a future on this device. 

Basically, with this product, Dimitri was enamored by its margins. Dimitri saw the gap between the vendors and the doctor’s pricing when he witnessed how the doctors were charging their patients and then seeing the actual cost of the product from the vendors themselves. Dimitri also understood why a couple of market leaders just found themselves in the upper-middle end that was just dominating. So when Dimitri and his team came in, they established a mindset that their client would automate this process. 

Dimitri was going to do the marketing directly to the consumer. So many people relying on doctors pushing products were the most prominent name but subpar quality, so this product was actually superior quality. In fact, Dimitri actually used the product, and he concluded that there were generally great results. 

After that, Dimitri was amazed by this product and became a believer. He started looking at the logistics because part of Dimitri’s background was pricing and costing. While Dimitri was doing the numbers, he realized how easy and insane this was. 

All they need to do is figure out a way to market to consumers directly and then figure out the process that when they go through the doctor, they can pay on the spot. Dimitri asked his team how they were going to achieve that. 

Based on his background, Dimitri was thinking of partnering with some financing companies. Dimitri added, “Some of the payment companies that are out there and automating the whole process so that out of their chair, they can see from the cell phone and pay for the product right there.” 

He added, “The doctor will get confirmation that the payment has been accepted. They’ll be dispersed a certain amount of money upon initiation and then the whole payment process will be automated. The management process will be automated to give support to the consumer directly through the app.” 

This was the idea that Dimitri and his team came up with. They were all ready to do this, and at the end of 2019, Dimitri and his team were finally set out to build the product. Everyone was excited, and everyone had a great time. 

Dimitri was able to pick up a few doctors right off the bat. Dimitri told these doctors that there was a problem in the business, and they recognized that too. Things went well for the first couple of months, everyone was moving fast, and they easily solved only minor issues. 

For the next few months, they need to do some marketing because they already had the product figured out, so they needed some financing for the marketing budget. Usually, it is tough to look for someone who would pay or give a budget for a certain project, but Dimitri expected that they could immediately look for big names as investors with his client’s name and the beauty of this project. 

But this was the first yellow flag that Dimitri felt after a few months of working without a problem. This project has a CEO with over 30 years of operations experience and all the other professional employees. Yet, they cannot get a single investor to invest some money on this project? 

Dimitri then realized that the project was self-funded by everyone on board, and he didn’t realize that they were going to continue funding it until they finished the project. 

They were fundraising at first, but they didn’t realize that they would keep doing that until it all ended. Dimitri got really curious why no one was willing to invest in such a brilliant idea, so he dug deeper, hoping for some answers. 

Dimitri found out that none of these professionals were working full-time on this project. Only the CEO was working full time, and the rest of them only allocated 1 hour of their time per week. This was one of the reasons that Dimitri thought of as to why there were no investors willing to invest money in this project. 

Dimitri was pressured because they badly needed a budget for this project to continue. They already have the brands, got the sales collateral, had the doctors, and are all waiting to get some patients. Dimitri was hoping to get a budget as soon as possible because the doctors were waiting, and he knew that there was only a limited amount of time before these doctors lost trust in this project. 

Dimitri addressed this problem to the CEO but instead of looking for some budget, the CEO already gave a lot of promises behind the scenes that Dimitri wasn’t aware of. 

There was an amount of time for the doctors to lose their trust, but he was shocked when the doctors were already frustrated, even if the delay was only just for 2 months. Then he soon found out that the CEO made some impossible promises and then knew exactly why these doctors got so frustrated. 

Dimitri was in charge of vetting because the product and managing development was part of his job. Dimitri also had a marketing background, but if he added this to his payroll, he couldn’t focus on both the work, so they sought another marketing company to assist them. Dimitri contacted a very talented friend that he trusts so much. Dimitri told his friend about the situation, and he told him the idea of this project. 

After studying the project, Dimitri’s friend was delighted, and he immediately accepted the offer. Dimitri was thrilled because they now have a very talented marketing company on their team. As for the problems regarding the investment money, it was already solved via the contract. So after Dimitri recruited his friend, some warning signs started to appear.

Because of Dimitri’s friend, their market became so appealing, becoming a huge potential for financing. It was so good that just dropping the name of their industry and showing the team they had behind was enough to get a big team dedicated to the project. Because of that, they were already able to meet with these bigger people. 

That’s where Dimitri noticed something wrong about the people at the very top of the project. In that meeting, the CEO told these huge companies that they were already a trillion-dollar company even if they hadn’t even sold a single product yet. Again with this, the scenes promise. 

It was only ambition, but the audacity to say that to a company at your first meeting and then act like they’re missing out on a trillion-dollar opportunity is really wrong. 

The CEO was trying to tell these huge companies that they would miss out on this trillion-dollar opportunity if they didn’t give the best price possible. The lies kept on growing and growing until it came to the point where every person they met would immediately brag about their company having a trillion-dollar idea. 

This was the same person who promised Dimitri 50 doctors but only gave him 12 or 13. Then everything started to fall right after that meeting. Whenever this person dropped the ball, Dimitri’s team and the other employees would not complain, but if someone else didn’t do something they said they were going to do, all hell would rain down. 

Dimitri realized that the environment was really toxic because if the upper three did not do their task or did not make the promises they made, they wouldn’t get any complaints. But if other people tend to mess up, they would yell at them and abuse them verbally. 

Dimitri was immune to this because they wouldn’t want to let go of Dimitri, so he got that safe pass from them. Dimitri tried his best to defend his team, but the attacks kept coming. The bullying was becoming worse because this trio would choose different targets every week. The three of them were not doing anything, but they took all the fame and success.

The top brass would then bully the lower employees not because they did something wrong but because they could and feared them. It became unbearable because they started to get complaints about the quality of the products and there were a lot of missing deliveries already. 

Guess who was in charge of these operations? Yes, those people who are in the top brass. 

Dimitri’s reputation is at stake here because he was in charge of the marketing part of the product, and he basically lost a lot of credibility because of the laziness of the top brass. Their product was phenomenal, but because of the toxic traits of the upper class, the product started to fail. 

But Dimitri already expected that to happen because only one of them was working full time on that project, which was the CEO, and surprisingly, he was the one causing all the issues. 

Because of all of this, Dimitri decided that enough is enough. He realized that there was a division in that workplace, and it was toxic. There is a huge gap between the top brass and everyone else. The lower brass was doing the majority of the work while the top brass took all of the credit. 

They bullied Dimitri’s team every week, and he just realized it after everything was made clear for him. He was blinded by the amazing idea that he didn’t realize his team was not happy anymore, and they were getting bullied. Dimitri had enough, and he told the CEO that if they didn’t make a move about this issue, they would all leave the company. 

To his surprise, the CEO still didn’t do a thing. So they all decided to leave this toxic company, and Dimitri chose his team over some money. 

No matter how brilliant the idea was and no matter how promising that project would be, if the culture is bad for his team, Dimitri would not let these people bully his team. The money didn’t blind Dimitri. He was blinded by the beauty of that idea and its potential to save countless lives. 

It was an angelic idea, but sadly, the demons were in charge of it. 

 

Always take good care of your team

You should always put the well-being of your staff first when you are a CEO and you decide to work for a client. The fact that your team follows you indicates that they have faith in your judgments and leadership. It is your responsibility to keep them safe and not toss them into the lion’s den. 

This encounter forever altered Dimitri’s attitude toward abusive clientele. Dimitri said that he had been more assertive with his clients and double-checked that all of his clients were decent and courteous individuals. 

He didn’t want anything like that to happen to him again. When those in positions of authority bullied them, his crew felt completely helpless, and they hoped that Dimitri, their leader, would be able to save them from the wrath of the powerful. 

Nonetheless, Dimitri was still holding on to that notion since he thought it had the potential to benefit a large number of people. You won’t even realize you’re in it until you’re gone too far down. Dimitri quickly recognized that he had been preoccupied with the notion that he had failed to safeguard his team from these abusive people in positions of authority. Since then, Dimitri has been quite severe with abusive customers.

As an example, Dimitri had this client that was so toxic and abusive that he got so mad at him. That time, Dimitri’s client was trying to get everybody on board just so he could fire a hardworking person. 

This person was so hardworking that she literally managed an entire video shoot photoshoot, worked 16 hours a day, recruited all these people, handled so much logistics, and she was such a multi-talented person. However, the CEO wanted to fire this woman because he wanted to make room for this other person at his previous company. 

Because he couldn’t look for a reason to fire this woman, he told everyone to badmouth this hardworking person and talk trash about her until she voluntarily leaves. This was so toxic that Dimitri got so mad, and they all left that toxic client immediately. 

Going back to the story, Dimitri had zero regrets about leaving that brilliant idea behind because he didn’t want his team to experience that abusive environment ever again. 

Dimitri was really confident in leaving because it wasn’t just him that noticed the toxic environment of that workplace. The vendors and the doctors also left because they perceived that the people were mistreated. 

Dimitri’s only regret was that he hadn’t left sooner.

 

The moment you witness your client abuse people, leave immediately.

If you observe even the smallest amount of bullying on the job, you must quit immediately since that setting is not conducive to your well-being. Dimitri was so engrossed in the situation that he could not hear his teammate’s calls, which asked, “When are you planning to quit this company?” 

You must leave as soon as possible, particularly if your teammates are being harassed. It would be a breach of your leadership if you allowed your employees to be bullied daily just because those in positions of authority could. You are there to defend them, not to throw them into the lion’s den, as previously said.

 

Don’t hesitate to leave if your clients will humiliate you in front of other people.

In addition to humiliating an individual or a group of individuals in front of experts and others with high profiles, this client exhibited toxic and abusive behaviors. 

Dimitri also said there would be meetings when they would feel uncomfortable because the CEO would embarrass them regularly in front of these large corporations. The CEO would also utter racist remarks for the sake of amusement. 

On occasion, the CEO would order select members of Dimitri’s team (since they were in charge of marketing the product) to tell clients that their nose or certain body parts were not perfect or normal and that they must purchase their product to have their bodies fixed by the CEO’s product. 

Think about approaching someone and stating, “Hey, you have unusually large eyes; you are not normal. To seem normal, you should apply this product,” says the consultant. He has no candor, and he’s like a walking shell of a guy who lacks understanding and humanity. It’s astounding how wicked that CEO was.

 

When there is a misunderstanding or fighting between your client’s company members, leave immediately. You don’t want to get caught in their crossfire. 

When you witness two sides of a company divide, you should leave as soon as possible. Is it possible for them to concentrate on the future if they continuously argue with one another? 

Believe that companies that fail do so because their employees turn against one another, which is a recurrent trend among failing businesses. “It is not murder, but suicide, that brings down businesses.”

 

Don’t encourage failure, but don’t restrict it as well

One of the most critical aspects of being a successful leader is to allow others to make mistakes. If you create an atmosphere where individuals are screamed at when they fail, they will never attempt anything new. The business will eventually stagnate, as has happened in the film industry. 

So that was one of the issues with Dimitri’s toxic client, among other things. They didn’t want anybody to fail since it would result in the project’s development becoming static. 

Minds that were imaginative and brilliant were suffocating because they were too terrified to attempt anything new. Because they were scared that if they tried anything new, they would fail and get screamed at again. Because of this, individuals have been regressing in their knowledge and competence rather than progressing in either direction.

 

As the CEO, maintaining healthy work culture is very important

Culture is defined by the things that you are willing to accept. If you allow someone to make fun of someone else and do nothing about it, you will be creating a culture in your workplace that will be reflected in your performance. If you condone bullying in the workplace, you create a toxic environment and demonstrate poor leadership. 

Maintaining a high standard is crucial; you should confront any kind of conduct that does not align with your fundamental beliefs. If you have a happy and supportive atmosphere, your company will almost certainly expand and become profitable. 

Employee recognition is one example of creating a comfortable atmosphere at your place of business. Providing them with opportunities to express their creativity and take the initiative will motivate them to be more hardworking and not to be frightened of making errors.

That brings us to the conclusion of Dimitri’s client horror tales. His story demonstrates how a product that sounded fantastic and was easy to sell failed to attract investors due to a lack of enthusiasm in the concept. In fact, that was just the first indicator that something was wrong with the situation. 

Dimitri’s client has several notable characteristics, including “slow-boiling” employees who talk negatively about others and fire people every three months after judging that they were too accountable for the company’s failure to attain success. 

To conclude this engrossing narrative, Dimitri leaves us with some amazing and unique lessons learned: it is never a good indication when a firm has just one full-time employee, you should always work with individuals who are eager to learn and grow, and you never know where you are until you are too deep.

 

This article was based on Episode # 26: Dimitri Constantantine’s Story, please watch the complete episode here!