Years ago I witnessed a curious interaction between a client’s president and his secretary. I arrived at their office mid-morning and found the secretary crying in the parking lot, crying because of a tongue-lashing she had just received.
Apparently her president had wanted new conference room table and chairs. He found a set online and asked his secretary to buy it. She found an identical set from another distributor with a better offer: it was several thousand dollars cheaper and it included an extended manufacturer’s warranty.
When she told the president about the better deal, he was furious, and he shouted, “Don’t you know who I am? I am the president!”
The president and I had lunch later that day. During the lunch, the president gave me his version of that morning’s story, and his story matched hers—almost word for word. He ended by asking, “Didn’t she know I am the president?”
The thing was, everybody knew he was the president. He owned the company. He basically operated as the CEO, COO, and CFO. There was not a single person with a hint of a shadow of the tiniest doubt who he was. Everyone knew it.
Except maybe the president himself. Continue Reading…