This might sting a little…

Have you ever suffered through something to get to a better future?

lost at sea.jpg

This week marks the final steps to getting improved email and networking capabilities for our coast-to-coast team of business advisors. The journey started out with a simple desire to have this improvement and that tweak, and suddenly I found our team paddling across open water, avoiding this rock and that reef, with no land in sight.  Just as we got to the edge of our map, a call into our internet service provider actually stopped all our internet traffic and temporarily disabled our phones. Our hope was so low it was as if we started rationing water, when suddenly our technical expert (with the right help from our ISP) finally called out, “Land ho!”

 As we clamber ashore, we’re at a significantly better place of higher bandwidth, virtual private networking and automatic data backups that will enable all sorts of productivity improvements. It wasn’t easy to get here, and it just might be paradise.

On a more personal note

Another journey of sorts occurred last week for me. I won’t go into too much detail – let’s just say my wife and I decided our family is perfectly sized with the children we have. The parallels with the above challenging technological experience are significant:

  • I definitely desired to get to the new, improved state
  • I suspected that some pain and discomfort would likely occur as part of the process of getting from here to there
  • I knew just enough about the fundamentals of what would happen to get me queasy
  • I was pretty nervous about picking the right person to help me

With both issues I had to place myself in the hands of a trained professional – yet there was one significant difference between how those professionals treated me.

Lesson 1: Communication makes all the difference

Dr. Michael R. Lee did an outstanding job of preparing me by walking me through exactly what was going to happen, how it would likely affect me, and being direct and honest about all of the above. There wasn’t any “oh you may feel a little pinch” – it was more like “this is going to feel like a bee sting in a place you’d rather not have one.” That honesty allowed me to prepare myself, and to provide him instantaneous feedback when I experienced things differently than he described. He constantly reassured me and let me know what was happening during the process. His knowledge of what to expect, coupled with his personal concern for me, made it easy to trust him and benefit from his help.

Okay, you, as the reader, are probably squirming a bit so I’ll get back to business. I wouldn’t want to keep torturing those folks who simply don’t want to deal with their computer and associated technology.

Lesson 2: Recovery may take longer than you expect

Getting the kinks in a software implementation ironed out doesn't happen overnight. Plan for some time to smooth out the problems – and then triple it. Real improvement takes time. More time than you want to admit.

Someone once told me “If you rush your recovery you’re likely to cause bigger problems, more pain, and more time out of commission.” I’m glad to report that I was able to learn this lesson without another visit to the professional.

Actions you can take today

Think about how you communicate with your clients. Are they nervous and wanting to trust you? Help them know what to expect before and during your work together.

Update

on 2008-10-01 19:29 by Chris Hutchinson

Just a short follow-up:

As you may have suspected, shortly after I posted this and it was published in the Fort Collins NOW newspaper, we found we hadn't truly arrived at the promised land.

chris hutchinson, ceo

chris hutchinson, ceo

After more weeks of struggle and frustration we finally got another IT expert to take over the implementation. He found a corrupted hard drive on our server, and we are in the midst of rebuilding the entire system. We are currently on a secondary email backup system which, while it works, will prevent some of the struggle the next time our server dies.

I guess IT isn't over until it's over!

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Chris Hutchinson

As CEO of Trebuchet Group, Chris Hutchinson thrives working with clients and his team to improve organizational clarity, teamwork, and leadership impact.

After years of building Legos® and tree houses around the world, Chris earned his Mechanical Engineering degree and followed that with an MBA. His experiences in the military and the business world taught him great leadership can be learned, and everyone is in some way a leader.

Clients and peers describe him as an inspirational catalyst for positive change. He is the author of Ripple - A Field Manual for Leadership That Works.

Chris and his wife live, garden, and bike in Fort Collins, Colorado, and have four children. He has an unrequited love affair with brownies.