Given today is Halloween, a day of all things creepy and gross, it seems a perfect time to share a recent incident I experienced…
I returned to my office building after an offsite appointment to find a package propped against my door. Cool. I knew what it was. My dear friend Robert from Texas had sent me a book he was insistent I would enjoy (that I had not yet purchased despite his insistence!)…this must be it. I quickly ripped open the packaging and set the book on my desk. I had forgotten something in my car, and when I returned, I froze in the doorway. My mind is obviously playing tricks on me…how can they make a cover like that??! My newly unpackaged book was sitting in the center of my desk, and because it was titled “The Dragonfly Effect”, I thought maybe (just maybe) there was some super-cool-super-strange-“insecty” optical effect/illusion. It looked like there were ants crawling on the cover. Weird, I didn’t see this when I opened the package. Wait. No!!! This isn’t an optical illusion, those are real ants. Grosssssss! Ants literally poured from the book and were spilling onto my desk!!!!!!! Ewwwwwwww……oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh…so gross!
I quickly grabbed the book and hightailed it out of my office, walking briskly down the hallway, attempting to maintain some sense of professional decorum, tentatively holding the book by its edges…gross, was there something sweet on my desk that attracted the ants? No, it couldn’t have happened that fast. As I was scurrying down the hallway, the book-cover jacket separated from the actual hardcover book. I looked at the space in-between. OMGosh!!!! There it was. Hundreds of ants! Hundreds!!!! I could see discoloration on the binding…this must be Ground Zero. My brisk walking turned into a run. I dropped the book on the walkway, ripping the jacket off, watching hundreds of ants scatter in the process. I just stood there in (super grossed out) amazement. After what seemed like a couple of minutes (maybe really only 10 seconds) I ran back to my office and took the pictures you see here…only a small representation of my reality…so gross!!
Ha! Morals of the story:
- It only takes one negative interaction to make you feel “guarded”. Leadership is the same. My trust in the retailer has been compromised and thus, my behavior has changed. I just don’t open packages the same anymore 😉
- No matter how great something/someone looks on the outside, you just don’t know what version of “ewwww” is underneath. Sometimes you need to look beyond the surface to see what’s really going on.
- I just heard a podcast today that defined great leadership as the ability to “read the situation” and adapt. Identify anyone/anything that compromises you/your offering/your team/your organization, and get it, metaphorically, off your desk/out of your organization.
- Root cause is important. (I am thankful this was not an UPwords Inc. problem, and from what I can discern, not the shipper…seems to be at the retailer level – customer service has been notified and they are relaying the info to the warehouse)
- It’s easy to freeze in a crisis, thinking a lot of time has passed. Get your bearings, know it has really only been a blink, assess, and go into action.
- As a leader, if there is something super attractive about you, people will swarm to you. (LOL!) 🙂 🙂
Happy Halloween everyone!