The Corner Office – Lock yourself out of your office

Another selection from “The Corner Office” by Adam Bryant – this one is the chapter called “Lock yourself out of your office.”  As Bryant says, right up front, this idea seems completely counter-intuitive – how can spending huge amounts of time out of your office possibly make someone so super busy more productive? But, he bridges the divide well with some good arguments saying:

“The corner office is …isolating.  Information is massaged for the boss. People generally bring only good news.”

Quoting various senior leaders Bryant advises the following:

– Get out there.  People will jump at first but eventually you can ask: What is keeping you up at night? What’s most exciting for you right now?

– Spend at least 50% of your time talking to your staff and figuring out what they value and believe in an unfiltered fashion.

– Consider people on their way out of the company a good source of information.

– Find trusted advisors to tell you that your jokes aren’t funny.  No one else will.

–  Send all staff emails and ask for feedback.  Say thank you for the feedback you get.

– Consider one or two half our sessions a  week to ask staff what’s working or not. (Or, What do you wish I’d stop doing? What are you afraid I’ll stop doing?)

What I can say in passing is that I have found nothing natural about adopting a strategy to spend more time walking around but it has brought dividends when I can be committed to finding the time via group coffee breaks, small talk, small unit meetings etc.  when normally we can seem inaccessible during usual file work.


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