When The Ceiling Falls in on You…

So this really happened to me… yesterday, May 17, 2022.

I was getting ready to run a virtual coaching session with three participants, from my office at Latimer headquarters. The session was due to start in about five minutes. And I ran to our learning studio (where we teach many learning sessions and record audio and video) to grab my glasses. As I walk past our printers around the corner from our studio, I hear the sound of a steady stream of water hitting a hard surface. I slow my walk, thinking to myself “no way…” I peer around the corner, and in our little studio, with our best, most state-of-the-art (for us anyway… all things require context) equipment, there is water streaming out of the ceiling. Ceiling tiles have collapsed onto the desk. And all of our equipment is soaking wet. A mixing board… two high-quality microphones… three large screens… and of course the computer itself. It is a space we invested in, because we are teaching virtual sessions and recording content constantly.

I stand there for a moment, to process what I am seeing. I am in the office alone, because most of our team is remote on most days. And I now teach in four minutes…

When was the last time you saw a 50-something adult throw an absolute temper tantrum? If only we had a video feed from our office, you would have seen such a tantrum yesterday.

While I won’t say the story ends “well,” I can say that the story ended “fine.” I did what I always do when things get tough at work. I reached out to my awesome colleagues, with a plea for help. They jumped right to it, one of them rushed to the office to deal. And our fantastic landlord came right over to help us triage. We moved the equipment, figured out what caused the leak, and made a plan to reshuffle our office and put our studio in another room — one that doesn’t have a history of leaks. (That’s another post for another day. No, this was not the first leak in this room. Please try to contain your snickering.)

The point of today’s post is that business is a constant stream of issues — some predictable, and many unpredictable. I am not a huge believer in fate or karma. But I will admit that it sometimes feels like the unpredictable things tend to come in bunches. I can’t prove that to you. It just feels that way. And yesterday was one of those days. We have had a busy stretch inside our company, dealing with some organizational changes, managing multiple client needs at the same time, and feeling more stretched than normal. Personally, I have been feeling particularly stretched, for lots of reasons. But I was taking things one day at a time, one workshop at a time, one issue at a time, for weeks. Just trying to breathe my way through a tough stretch.

And then the ceiling literally fell in…

It is at those moments, when the ceiling falls in, that you most need to have a strong team in place. When the ceiling falls in on you is not the time to think about building a good team, and it is not the time to wish you had a good team. That is the time when you need a good team. Which means that you need to be building a strong team all the time, even when times are good. Especially when times are good. You need that team when times get bad, and when that moment comes, you won’t have time to start building that good team. You build the team in the good times. You rely on the team in the bad times. 

My point here is that business leaders should always be thinking about building a strong team. Even when you don’t think you need it. Especially when you don’t think you need it. Because you never know when the ceiling will fall in on you.

Have a great day.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.