No matter the situation, everything stops when someone throws a chair.
I recently attended a customer meeting with a client. The client’s customer was responsible for a major chunk of the client’s annual revenue, so my client brought six key staffers, including a recently hired engineer.
While he had scheduled the meeting as a project update, the CEO of the firm my client served saw it as an opportunity to throw his weight around. Even I could tell his complaints ranged from picky to irrelevant. But he didn’t care, as CEOs on tirades are wont to do.
People sat quietly and let him rage; I could tell from a few exchanged glances his behavior wasn’t new.
Then my client’s new engineer made a mistake.
The CEO was complaining about how a product didn’t conform to a specification. The engineer interrupted to say, “I understand what you are saying, but the product doesn’t conform to specifications because it exceeds your specifications.”
The CEO’s red face got even redder, and his eyes bulged even bigger. He stood and shouted, “You think you can tell me how to interpret my specs? My specs?” He snarled, “When I want your f—ing advice, I’ll ask for it.”