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On Tuesday afternoon I received an invite via administrative assistant to meet with our senior executive my boss’s boss’s boss in three weeks. She wanted to make sure that I’ll be back from vacation by that day and I’ll be working that day.

The meeting is in three weeks and there was no agenda given and it was very vague. She said he won’t visit my office but meet with me at a maybe local coffee shop. Email Invite says she’ll keep me updated as she receives more information on the location where I’ll be meeting. I’m currently on vacation this week and this is shaping up to be a nerve-wracking vacation!

I haven't done anything wrong that I know about, so I’m assuming it will be something positive.

I have history of leading a very high performing teams. Company has given me a few different locations the past few years to manage and as soon as I get in, the production immediately increases. And the location becomes one of the high performing location in the company.

I should note that I manage a small team and have few direct reports. Now the only thing I might be overthinking about is I took over a new location recently few months ago and there was some employee issues. I took disciplinary actions with some of the employees. And employees that were being insubordinate complained about me as “micromanaging” to HR. I’ve dealt with these type of employees before that don’t like to be held accountable. But these employees has formed a clique and complained together to HR.

We moved around some of the employees so they won’t be gossiping and immediately the production increased at the office. My boss discussed this with me and let me know that there was no violation broken and suggested me to work on building trust with employees etc.

From your experience - senior executive wouldn’t get involved or come in person to visit if I did something wrong?

My boss must know about this meeting but he hasn’t said anything to me - HR, my boss or his boss would speak with me if I did something wrong instead of having 3 higher up executive involved? What are you thoughts? Am I overthinking here?

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    Hey Bob, I fear that we can only answer what you ask by guessing... mind editing your post to include an answerable question? Or mind clarifying? We can't know the motivations for your boss boss boss to ask for a meeting with you... please clarify/edit to avoid this post from being closed.
    – DarkCygnus
    Sep 4 '20 at 0:04
  • For context, what is a "coffee meet" in your Company environment? Some sort of less formal meeting?
    – DarkCygnus
    Sep 4 '20 at 0:05
  • He’s coming in from out of town and is asking to meet in a coffee shop. My guess would be he just wants to become better acquainted with his subordinates. Sep 4 '20 at 3:53
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I just so happen to have had this same, strange phenomenon happen to me recently! It's too weird of a coincidence for me not to answer. As was noted in the comments of your question, this is entirely subjective and based on my unique situation. But you asked for similar experiences, and I think this is the definition of that :)

When I saw the email invite from my boss's boss's boss I had many of the same questions as you:

Why would my boss's boss's boss want to have a random 15 minute chat with me?

I thought through all of the possible reasons, then ruled out the unlikely ones. I have never heard of someone being given bad news by someone two levels above them without hearing it from their boss first. At its most harmless, he could just be reaching out to members of the staff to check in on them since we have all been out of the office for a while. This made some sense since our CEO has been setting up similar "coffee chats" with various groups of employees.

Should I expect the worst, or the best? Or could it be just a neutral check-in?

I found that it would serve me more to expect the best. Instead of worrying about something outside of my control, I made a list of topics I wanted to talk about. I am a manager myself, so I felt that this could be my chance to discuss problems my team is facing with someone who has the authority to make beneficial changes. I could also use it to gauge what kind of leader he is. Does he actually listen and act on the concerns of his staff? Or will nothing come of it? I find that in and of itself valuable knowledge. You could also pick their brain for advice, or get to know them and start a rapport.

Did anyone else get such an invite?

Be careful bringing this up to your co-workers. Once you have told them about it, you may feel pressured to give them an update after the fact. If it is a negative encounter, that may not be pleasant.

Does my boss know anything about this?

I decided it was worth asking my boss if they were aware of this meeting. If they know about it and are willing to tell me, it is not likely to be a bad thing. If they say they don't know, it could be that they do know and it's bad. Or they may just not know. Either way it helps narrow things down.

In my case, turns out my boss knew that these meetings would be occurring with random employees, and they confirmed that it was just a check-in. Phew!

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