I (Heart) Breakfast

Toast with avocado and egg with heart shape  on white plate

I just read an article referencing an interview with the CEO of an extremely large investment house.  According to the article, this leader takes everyone who is in the final stage of the interview process out to breakfast.  Here’s the punchline: he co-opts the server — in exchange for a big tip — to tank the interviewee’s order to see how they react to the problem with their meal.  Wow, where do I start?

Firstly, what a way to begin a relationship — with subterfuge.  He states that he does this to see how the candidate conducts themselves from the heart.  I just don’t get this. How is your heart involved with dealing with this level of adversity?  People are in their head when they are performing in the transactional state. It’s all about processing, analytics and habits.  If he’s wanting to see what habits are there, the heart is not engaged.

Secondly, he’s corrupting an innocent in exchange for a large tip.  If he will do this with an event of small consequence like breakfast (and involving a stranger), then who and what might he take down a similar road when the stakes are higher?  Uncovering a persona that enjoys this kind of behavior makes me wonder if my money should reside there.

And finally, where I’m going here is, it’s all about trust.  Such a fragile thing, trust.  It’s delicate, takes a long time to build and can be extinguished in a few seconds.  Our best connections, our best relationships, all begin when trust is established. This is no place for a playground with emotions.  Someone who is actually welcomed into this organization might always wonder when the next CEO-placed ‘whoopee cushion’ is going to be planted.  Breakfast certainly won’t be the same with this guy ever again.  

So here’s my Rx on the matter –

Authenticity – Even if it’s a bit overused these days — buzzy for sure —  for God’s sake, please be authentic. It could be that this leader is, in fact, being authentic so if his behavior alarms you, beware.

Values – Honor yours when connecting with your counterpoint.  By doing so, your opportunity to establish trust is far more doable.  When we get frustrated with someone, it’s usually because they are stepping on a value we hold close.  Be aware.

Agenda – As in theirs, your counterpoint, in establishing a connection.  When we focus on the other’s agenda, we are truly in a servant leadership role.  The CEO mentions an anecdote about recognition and servant perspective in the article that seems like he is focusing solely on his agenda during these interviews and not really his candidates.  Be prepared.

I know, it’s a story, and it’s only breakfast.  And l really like breakfast. It’s the first meal of the day.  It sets me up with energy and allows for ideation and creativity and well, nourishment.  Why spoil it when the fix is in? I say treat each connection like it’s breakfast. Because, if you can’t trust breakfast, the rest of the day is a broken egg.

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