The Salt Shaker

Ah-ha Moment

The CEO of a large advertising firm in New York City lived in a stylish apartment on the upper Eastside during the week and retreated to his home in the Hamptons on weekends. One night he invited one manager that was transferring to New York from a branch office to come to his apartment for dinner.

During the dinner the manager noticed certain signs of intimacy between the CEO and his housekeeper. To make matters worse, the CEO had spotted the manager’s concerns in his body language and attitude.

“I can see that you are somewhat concerned about my relationship with the housekeeper,” said the CEO. “I assure you that our relationship is strictly professional.”

A few days later the CEO is having a quiet dinner alone in his apartment and went to grab for the saltshaker. Asking the housekeeper where the saltshaker could be she told him that it had been missing since the manager had been over for dinner.

The CEO sent an email to the manager saying, “I noticed after your visit that the saltshaker was missing. Not saying that you did take it or that you did not take it but my housekeeper is wondering if you did take it.”

A couple of hours later the CEO received a return email showing how clever the manager was.

To see what the manager said, scroll down.

The emailed reply read, “I am not saying that you do or do not sleep with your housekeeper, but if she was sleeping in her own bed she would know where the saltshaker is.”

The truth is that any improper relationship you have in the workplace will become known to the cleverness of a superior, peer or subordinate. In the case of the CEO it was a subordinate that showed him what he thought was a well concealed impropriety was actually very obvious.

Considering our coworkers spend between 30 and 60 hours a week with us it is very difficult to keep secrets of any kind. To retain a good reputation is critical to remain ethical in all that we do. Use this anecdote for employee development in the areas of self-awareness, leadership and ethics.

©2009 Max Impact Corporation