Quite an innocent question for one of my first meetings in a new job.
I’d asked the question to Pete the IT Manager who was running the weekly IT meeting.
“No sorry that one’s taken” he said.
“Ah okay, I’ll grab another” I replied.
The meeting started and finished with the chair still empty.
After the meeting Pete got my attention and said he wanted a quick chat.
“I just wanted to explain about the empty chair” he said.
“Oh yes” I said.
“I always keep a chair free so that I remember to consider the impact on our customer”. He said.
“Pardon?” I said.
Pete went on to tell me why thinking about the customer was so important.
It was something that the business believed strongly,
Putting the customer at the heart of every decision made.
Leaving a chair empty helped him to see things from the customers perspective.
Almost like they were in the meeting with you.
It was a symbolic gesture, but one that’s stayed with me 15 years later.
Always consider how the decisions you are making will impact your customer.
Could you leave a seat spare in your next meeting to help remember your customer?