“G

Finweek English Edition - - MANAGEMENT -

ood luck, Gavin, knock ’em dead!” wished my team as I walked out my of­fice. This was the moment of truth. I was about to present to the se­nior ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (exco) of the bank where I used to work, and they were go­ing to vote on whether or not to go ahead with a new prod­uct we had been work­ing on for the past six months. I knew what this meant – ei­ther the op­por­tu­nity to forge ahead with full sup­port, or six months of wasted ef­fort.

Just as I pressed the lift but­ton, a pierc­ing sound broke through the si­lence. It was the fire alarm. “Oh no,” I groaned, “This can’t be hap­pen­ing” I re­signed my­self to the un­for­tu­nate re­al­i­sa­tion that my pre­sen­ta­tion wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen, and made my way down the stairs.

As I stood in the open meet­ing area, con­tem­plat­ing how long the de­lay would be, my phone rang. It was my boss, who was one of the exco at­ten­dees. “Where are you, Gavin?” he barked.

“What do you mean?” I replied. “I’m out­side the build­ing along with the rest of the com­pany. We’re in the mid­dle of a fire drill.”

“For­get the stupid fire drill!” he yelled. “Ev­ery­one is wait­ing for you. Get up here now!”

I ran up the stairs, think­ing how silly it was that I was the only one go­ing into the build­ing when ev­ery­one else was rush­ing out. Even­tu­ally, I burst into the ex­ec­u­tive board­room, f lus­tered and out of breath. This didn’t bode well for my pre­sen­ta­tion, “I’m sorry I’m late, but as you’re prob­a­bly aware there is a f ire drill go­ing on as we speak,” I be­gan. Then I added with a smile, “If I had known that you all had fire-proof su­per­pow­ers I would have been up here

Marissa Mayer

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