"To stop or not to stop? I am the CEO of a high functioning board. What do I do if I am sprinting to an important meeting I am leading and pass a team member giving her family a tour of office?"May 24, 2023
Every busy leader gets caught in this catch-22 situation from time to time. If you keep sprinting by, the team member is likely to point out that the blur that just blew by was the leader. If you stop, the group you are leading may feel like you were just late and didn’t value their time.
The good news is that the answer is simple and consistent.
You ALWAYS stop to meet the team member’s family. These people are like guests in your home. Stop and find out what brings them to town, how long they’ll be here, etc. Go on to tell them that their family member who works for you is a big deal, that people are so happy to work with them. (Of course the more you know about the team member, the more you can go on and on…go big here.)
You can do all of this in about 3 to 4 minutes. But by not feeling hurried when you talk to them, this will feel much longer to them. Make sure they are well taken care of in your town, with a good suggestion for dinner, site seeing, etc. Then after you walk away, text your assistant to cover dinner expenses for them when they show up for dinner that night.
You just dropped an ATOMIC BOMB of sincere good will on this whole family. They will never forget it. They will not stop talking about it to their friends.
Oh, and as for the people whom you kept waiting, that’s simple too.
Let them know ahead of time and on a regular basis that if you pass a team member in the hall with their family, that it trumps every meeting you are on your way to. Not only will they completely understand, they will respect you more for it and tell their own families about your standing policy to put important people ahead of important meetings.