One of the advantages of running three Associations from one small office is we are always busy. This is also a disadvantage; we never have any spare time to chat or plan or think! On balance, I am happy with this as I work best under pressure.
However, it does create a problem.
Our office is staffed by two of us full time and we have a minimum of two volunteers (often as many as five) at any one time. Today, in addition to Jon and I we also had Gill the Envelope Packer, John the Printer and Allan the Folder. I also had various LG candidates popping in to have their nomination papers checked.
With three Associations we also field calls from almost 2000 members and three lots of email and phone traffic for three MPs and almost 200 councillors. Add to this the County Council elections; today we printed and mail merged 16,000 letters for postal voters, which are going to the candidates to be signed over Easter before teams of volunteers pack them next week.
Now I have set the scene, here is the problem.
My three Management Committees consist of a total of 24 people, each of whom make a valuable contribution and who all have rightful calls on my time, advice and support. Over a month I will deal with issues and enquiries from each of them, often more than once. None of them, however, would call in unannounced or make unreasonable demands on my time as they realise how busy we are and how unexpected callers can be both an inconvenience. In fact, even my three MPs respect this and phone before visiting. Each and every one of the Officers respect the pressure we work under and, if they need to visit, phone ahead to check it's convenient. This is a good arrangement for both parties; it means I clear my diary and can give them my undivided attention during their visit and it also ensures they don't waste their journey travelling all the way to West Malling to find I am out.
With the exception of one particular office who thinks these rules shouldn't apply to him.
Now, as ever on this blog I am not going to name any names. However, almost without exception, this particular person (who holds a senior position) calls in to talk about nothing in particular, and takes an hour of our time to do so. Sometimes this happens three times a week. When he does have a valid issue, it is almost always one which could be dealt with by email. Often his visits are to confirm things for which he has already been sent the details by post or email. He once even confirmed receiving the information he was requesting but said, "Oh I am far too busy to be bothered searching my inbox - it's easier to call in and ask for it again".
After one particularly stressful period he agreed to phone first, or make an appointment for a regular weekly visit, but this soon fell by the wayside and he was back to his old tricks. When challenged on why he broke the previously agreed agreement he said "Oh, I am far too busy - it's easier for me to just pop in when passing."
It is now 8pm and I am still in the office - I am typing this whilst feeding the laser printer to ensure the letters are ready for the candidate to collect tomorrow morning. Earlier today, this particular person called yet again and we simply refused to open the door, leaving him on the doorstep! I didn't like doing this, but had I opened the door he would have been here an hour and I would then still be here at 10pm finishing what must be done.
So, what should I do ? We've tried making an arrangement and he doesn't respect it. We have tried dropping hints, but he is too thick-skinned to understand what we are saying. We've even told him outright, but he simply ignores what we say.
Perhaps leaving him on the doorstep is the only way to deal with him ???