Not long ago, a client of ours acquired a company that was publicly traded on the UK stock market. Part of our job was to make a major announcement about the acquisition (a big deal, but not uncommon in our line of work).
However, in this instance, there was a catch: we had to make the announcement just before the market opened at 8:00 a.m. UK time. For those of you already doing the math at home—yes, that’s 2:00 a.m. in Ohio.
And immediately following the announcement, our team had to be available to respond to the media in real-time.
How did we navigate this seemingly crazy expectation? Well, this brings us back to Geben’s House Rules, specifically Rule #1. We embraced the crazy.
But working in the middle of the night—and expecting employees to do the same—that’s some high-level crazy, right? Perhaps at first glance, it is. But per our house rule, we just rolled with it. Here’s how:
Instead of going into the office at that late hour, the team on this client’s account (myself, the account lead, and the media relations person) set up camp in my living room at home. We hung out in our pajamas, I made some tea, we made the announcement in real-time, and then we had a mini-sleepover (read: nap) before heading into the office later in the morning. The rest of our team was super supportive and hands-on that day, knowing the three of us had been working since the wee hours of the morning. And of course, we headed home early that afternoon.
By embracing the “crazy” presented by this slightly extreme instance, we took what could have easily been a nightmare and made it into a memorable team bonding experience. The announcement went off without a hitch, and our client was none the wiser to our pajama party.
In another instance, one of our account leads, by extreme coincidence, had three different clients launching major initiatives on the same day. That’s a lot of pressure for one person, but she did an amazing job of pre-planning, bringing in additional resources, and delegating action items in advance so that all bases were covered. And remarkably, none of these three clients knew things were so hectic in the office! Because of our strategic planning and collaborative effort, each client felt they were our top priority that day (our goal with every client). Nobody caved under the pressure; instead, we embraced the crazy and rose to the occasion.
So “embrace the crazy” has secured itself the #1 spot on our list of house rules. We used to say “Bring on the crazy!” but have since modified. After all, we’re all about managing chaos—not necessarily inviting it in for family dinner!