I have a strange problem I don’t know how to solve. And I want your help.

There are some business problems they don’t teach you how to solve in business school.  They are too odd and too unlikely to happen to spend time discussing. So today, I am going to serve up an odd, real-life scenario to see how you would respond. Because I am not sure what the right answer is. Or even if there is a right answer. So let’s try to figure this out together.

The Setup

Last night, just before dinner, I went into the bathroom at my home to wash my hands. As I was washing I looked at myself in the mirror and noticed a problem. My left eyeball was completely red. Not as if it was irritated. Or as if I had taken a red eye flight. It was red like a blood vessel had burst in my eye. And it looked disgusting. Like an eye I never want to make eye contact with. Like ever.

When I returned to the table and shared my problem with my family the reaction was not good. My 11-year old son thought I looked hideous and demanded that I not look at him again. My 8-year old son was fascinated, the way a boy may be fascinated by road kill. My 13-year old daughter was greatly concerned for me. (Everyone should have a daughter). And wife Dawn immediately asked if I had any important client meetings this week. The answer was yes.

The Problem

I have an important meeting with a brand new client that is scheduled to start 24 hours from now. The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, was just awarded a significant project with this client after an agency review. During the review process we met 3 members of the marketing and sales team, whom we liked very, very, very much. #IThinkTheyWillReadThis

The upcoming meeting is for us to meet the client’s executive team, a team we will be working closely with throughout this project. The purpose of the meeting is to introduce ourselves and take them through the proposal with our color commentary.

The most important outcome from this meeting is for us to make a great first impression on our new client’s senior team. That’s hard to do when you have a horror film eye ball. What makes this worse is that I have had a burst blood vessel in my eye before. It was many years ago. During that red period I had multiple client meetings. And my clients were undeniably grossed out by my gore eye. Sorry clients.

Seeking a Solution

This is where I need your help figuring out what I should do next. There are a couple of details you should know before offering your advice. 1. This problem usually takes 5 to 7 days to clear up. There are only 2 people from my team scheduled to attend this meeting, Just me and the account leader. There was a 3rd member of our team who would have attended if she wasn’t on vacation in Europe. It’s amazing the lengths some people will go to in order to avoid seeing my eye.

The Options As I See Them (through my bloody eye).

  1. Reveal the problem and ask to reschedule the meeting for 1 week later.
  2. Send the account leader alone.
  3. Proceed as if there was no problem.
  4. Make the meeting a phone call or video conference.
  5. Attend the meeting, but wear sunglasses
  6. Attend the meeting but wear an eye patch (Arrrr Matey!)
  7. Attend the meeting but wear a welder’s mask.
  8. Attend the meeting but avoid all eye contact, like Rain Man.
  9. Call the client, explain the situation, and ask them how they want to proceed.

What would you do?

Which of the options do you think I should choose? Or do you have a good solution that is not on the list? I appreciate you sharing your opinion. If you know a wise owl who-who offers good advice, please pass this along to them too. Me and my eye look forward to hearing from you.

Published by

Adam Albrecht

Adam Albrecht is the Founder and CEO of the advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry. He believes the most powerful weapon on Earth is the human mind. He also authors two blogs: The Perfect Agency Project and Dad Says Daughter Says, a Daddy-Daughter blog he co-writes with his 12 year old daughter Ava. Adam can be reached at adam@theweaponry.com.

34 thoughts on “I have a strange problem I don’t know how to solve. And I want your help.”

  1. I like option 9. Life happens to everyone, burst blood vessels included. I think addressing it directly shows both character and consideration.
    I will meet with you virtually to discuss Grasshopper, though. Because 👀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Number 9 is likely the most reasonable and conscientious choice. I, however, vote strongly for Option 6. Walk in that place like you’re Nick MF Fury and own the eye patch and the room.

    I also second Jeff’s message. All those in favor?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 6 is strong! Also, I feel there is the blog equivalent of fiduciary responsibility that requires me to protect readers from seeing my eye. Also, I want Reader’s to come back, without fear.

      Like

  3. Adam, I would for sure go with #9. After James Harden suffered a similar ocular fate as you in his playoff series vs the Warriors, he dropped 41 and 38 on them. Prior to aforementioned bloody eye…he was averaging 32 in the series.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You can certainly pull off the eye patch, but transparency about why you only have one eye on the prize is key. Maybe a call to your contact and then sharing this hilarious post with them could be seen as glimpse at the smart, creative solutions to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was going with Pirate Patch before you listed suggestions. I like the idea of adding the company logo. Get all the team members to wear them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. First, send this post to the client…..(wait, a smart dude like you already has them on your mail list. And after reading this, they’re dying to see just how bad it is!) Then go with #9. If the meeting gets a green light, put a huge pair of sunglasses on the table and hand out “grossed-out” buzzers or bells to be sounded by anyone who can’t stand another minute of the horror. Avoid the temptation to say you had considered bringing Bloody Marys for an eye-opener.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. #6…seen it done before. Probably better for the eye & your short explanation @ the start o the meeting takes it outa play. A delay sends the message your agency could delay projects going forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. No to #9. You are a leader. Walk in there like a motha flippin boss with an Iron Man mask (very on trend). BTW your last line should have been: I and my eye look forward to seeing you later.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. #6. It’s an ice breaker /conversation starter and offers you your colleague and the clients to hop on the stage of human authenticity. And they will no doubt ask you how things are progressing or how the problem was resolved. Ironically you all will see things more clearly through your issue.

    Like

  10. Good suggestions here, including the eye patch. What can you learn about the people you are going to meet ahead of time? Calling them may be one option, but you may make the issue bigger than it might be? You’ve gone to a considerable effort to find out what we think. Can you do any background research on the client personality types? Sickness in their families? Could they be germaphobes?

    Another option may be ‘test and learn.’ Go somewhere where people don’t know you and start a conversation. If your eye issue doesn’t come up, ask them directly what they think. Do they think it could be pink eye (highly contagious)? Are they reluctant to shake your hand?

    I agree with others here that a pic at hand shaking distance would be a good way for you to learn what we think.

    Good luck, Adam!

    Liked by 1 person

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