• Forgetful executives that make repeated requests can drain you
  • Expect and plan for repeat requests to be fast and efficient
  • Be the hero reminder to them and win in the end
This is unbelievable. It’s happening yet again.

You’ve just received an email from your executive about your project asking why it’s in the current situation it’s in. You’ve got your hands up in the air like, “What the fuck?! Do you not remember all the meetings about this?!”

You’ve led countless pre-meetings, formal presentations and executive briefings on your project. All of the key stakeholders are fully aware of what’s going on and yet, your one executive can’t seem to remember shit.

And what’s making it worse is that they sent the group email in a tone that is borderline accusatory like you haven’t been doing your job. It’s at this point that you’re about to lose your shit and go absolutely ballistic.

You’ve been busting your ass on this for months, sacrificing your personal life by working late nights and even weekends, all to make sure that you don’t drop the ball on this.

You’ve made sure that they were copied on all the key communications. Every single presentation deck was sent to them. All the meeting minutes were recorded and shared. You were on top of everything.

And despite all of that, they come out acting like they were never notified or made aware of the key issues.

It’s truly un-fucking-believable.

Forgetful Executives Make Work Life Much Harder

It’s one thing to have to repeat yourself with your kids. That’s part and parcel of being a parent. You know that you’ll have to tell your kids over and over to do or not do something at least a few hundred times before they finally get it.

Sometimes, this also happens at work, particularly with some pain-in-the-ass coworkers that just don’t seem to have their act together. It’s especially true for unresponsive coworkers where you’ve got to send multiple follow-up emails and make several phone calls to get an answer.

However, the worst of the worst is when your executive can’t remember shit and starts behaving like they’ve been blindsided by your supposed lack of project management. And, what really sucks is that they’re finger-pointing at you and tarnishing your personal brand at work.

You’re at your wits end now and don’t know what to do.

It’s not like you can fire back at them and tell them to go back into their office and maybe try reading their fucking emails. Man, that would feel so good to do. But, you know you can’t do that.

What ends up happening is that you suck it up, gather all the docs and resend everything all over again. It doubles your work, ruins your productivity and most importantly, kills your motivation and momentum.

But it’s not just messing up your productivity. There’s the mental anguish too.

All of this triggers a mountain of frustration and anger. Your blood pressure skyrockets. You can feel the veins in your temples throbbing and the steam blowing out of your ears. Your head is about to explode.

These are all physiological responses that make managing work stress impossible. And unfortunately, you end up taking all of this baggage with you home and it has a ripple effect on your personal and family life.

Being angry and frustrated every once in a while on truly legitimate issues is fine. But, when it’s happening at work on a frequent basis, then it’s going to mentally wreck your life.

Why Some Executives Can’t Remember Anything

For the most part, executives that have legitimately earned their spot at the upper ranks of the organization got there because of their skills, abilities and leadership. The good ones know their shit inside and out. The best ones are freaky smart and are visionaries.

What you have is none of those. You have a clueless executive that can’t seem to remember what day of the week it is.

And why is that?

It really boils down to a few reasons why some execs just can’t seem to retain any information.

First, some executives just don’t have the mental capacity anymore due to their age. We all have limits on what we can remember and how long we can remember it. This academic study is much like many others that often state human brain development reaches full maturity in the mid-to-late 20’s. Then, it starts to shrink in our 40’s and begins to degrade in our 60’s.

It’s at this point where execs in their 50’s and 60’s start to have a hard time retaining information. So, if your leader is in this bucket, the lack of memory could just be from age. They just straight up forget and can’t remember anything. And in today’s hyper-fast pace of business, it just compounds the issue.

The second reason is perhaps they’ve got too much on their plate. Just like how you feel overwhelmed AF sometimes due to multiple projects and overlapping deadlines, execs can sometimes have it even harder since they’ve got to cover a broader scope. And since they can’t afford to be “down in the weeds”, they don’t have the time or the mental capacity to know all the details.

Third, your executive may be in a new functional area and may not have the expertise or knowledge of your specific projects. So, they’ll lean more heavily on you to remind them of things. This can be a great position to be in as you can be a valuable superstar resource in their eyes.

And lastly, it’s possible that they just don’t give a shit about your project, group or department. And as such, they don’t pay much attention to it except for when they are asked about it and then they have to scramble to ask you the status.

How To Deal With Forgetful Executives

If there’s one thing that you shouldn’t do, it’s get pissed off when your exec forgets stuff and asks you for updates or information. Getting angry is not going to fix the problem. It’s only going to make it harder to get through rough days at work.

You can’t change their behavior or personality. And, trying to do so, you’ll only be banging your head against the wall and getting nowhere. So, don’t do it.

What you need to do is work around it and manage your way through it.

Here are just a few ideas.

Expect And Plan For It 

This is all about setting the right expectations. When you know and expect that something bad will happen, you won’t be caught off-guard. You’ll be mentally prepared for it. So, when it does happen, you knew it was coming. And, if it doesn’t happen, then it’s a nice little bonus.

You gotta apply this mentality here with your executive.

Just know that during the week, you should get at least one email inquiry or phone call about your projects, if not more. Then, instead of being pissed off about it, spin it and say to yourself, “ah, just as I predicted and right on time. I got them figured out like nobody else!”

It’s kinda like being your own best cheerleader and giving yourself kudos on nailing it perfectly.

Have Your Manager Be The Buffer

One of the best things about being at the working level is that you almost always have at least one or more management layers between you and the executives. This allows you to focus on the important grunt work that needs to get done and your manager can deal with navigating office politics and other bullshit.

Part of being a middle manager is to act as the go-between, filter, consolidator and buffer for the staff-level members. So, when you get annoying requests from executives, push them upward to your manager to handle. It’s part of their responsibility as middle managers. This is why being in middle management sucks sometimes.

Take A Mental Breather Each Time

Just like when you’ve crossed the finish line on a big project and can take a break, you should follow this same idea here.

When your big-wig makes you drop everything and scramble to get them information that they should already have or know, focus on getting the shit done as efficiently and quickly as you can.

And then, after you click that send button, take a mental breather and do a one-minute meditation in an empty conference room, go for walk outside in nature, surf the web for a few minutes at your desk, etc. Give yourself a mini-reward for having to deal with the repeat request.

Create And Save Summary Emails 

With forgetful executives, it’s pretty common for them to ask the same range of questions on the same projects. So, knowing this, you need to have a series of pre-drafted emails that summarize and answer their most commonly asked questions.

When you have a pre-drafted CYA email ready-to-go, then the only thing you need to do is update it with the latest information, figures, estimates, forecasts, etc. and fire it off to them.

This will save you a ton of time. Just be sure to keep the core content of the draft email updated and in a ready state. And, be sure to use cc tactics and copy your manager on the email too so that they can re-send it on your behalf in the future.

Resend Their Previous Acknowledgements 

If things on your project haven’t changed since the last time they asked for an update, then simply re-forward the exact email. Ideally, it’s the one where they replied and acknowledged your original response with the info.

When you do this, you’re letting them know that you already provided them with the information. And, in a way, it’s kinda like saying, “Here’s the information again, you idiot” but without actually saying it.

You might want to just soften it up with some added comments and not just blank-forward the email. This is especially true if you have an asshole boss that has a short fuse or a bitch boss that gets easily triggered. In either case, you don’t want to stir shit up and cause more headaches for yourself.

Be The Hero Reminder And You’ll Win In The End

For most all of us, we have to deal with requests from top management on a weekly if not daily basis. And, when the requests are for things that they should already know or already have, it can be frustrating and annoying as fuck because it’s taking you off track. Their constant requests make it hard to keep momentum on your projects and it robs you of the productive joy of getting shit done.

However, when you can plan for it and manage your way through it, it’s not going to derail you as badly anymore. Yes, you’ll still have to take a small detour in your day, but you’ll be able to get back in the zone and kick ass much faster than before.

And that’s the name of the game here. Bang out the request and get back to being the productive superstar that you are.

Then, you can disconnect from work and leave all bullshit behind so that you can chillax at home without any work thoughts occupying your mind.

Feel Better,

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