Just a reminder – you never know who’s going to walk through the door

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We had what I like to think of as a “consulting skills 101” moment as a nice reminder to “Be nice to everyone at your customer site…you never know who is about to walk through the door.”
We were in a meeting room waiting on our stakeholder. Two guys walk in saying they thought they had the room reserved. I told them I had received an acceptance on the reservation, but also offered to leave if they needed it (as we were only 3 people, and I was thinking they might have more attending theirs). They offered they would rather go find another room with a better projector. The point is I really was just trying to be polite to these complete strangers….and they weren’t being pushy, but if they had, I’d have let them have the room without hesitation.
So about 2 minutes later our stakeholder shows up and we start our meeting.
Another minute or so later…a man opens the door and walks in. He stops in his tracks when he sees us, and announces quite firmly “I have the wrong room!”. I got over my urge to cringe and instead just let him know they had gone to find another room. He smiled and left.
Why did I cringe you ask? Because he was the CEO of an F500 company. And now our project team jokingly asks me when I schedule rooms if I’m kicking the CEO out for that meeting too.
Anyway, what I will say is that none of them missed a beat – they could have played the hierarchy card on us at any point and they didn’t. A sign of great character!

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