A passionate call to action presented to my staff based on recent challenges where we could have performed better.

I recently read an article about Square, the start-up company that enables mobile payments to merchants.  They have a Town Square meeting every Friday, where they welcome new employees, discuss key accomplishment for the week, and generally, share everything that is going on in the company.  Without breaking any rules in our privately held company, I would like to extend the same gesture of transparency to you.  I perceive that there is the feeling that "we don't know what it going on in our department or our company", or worse, people are making things up.

I would much rather you ask me in front of everyone, since others will likely have the same question?  If you really must, you can come see me anytime, as my door nearly always open.  But what I really can not tolerate, is filling the blanks in on your own, and coming up with some pretty negative stuff, that is absolutely not true!  So, here is your chance, what do you want to know?

How Do You Know?
This is a good question to ask ourselves; how sure are we about the accuracy and completeness of the information we are basing a decision upon, whether it is in our personal or professional lives?

I am talking about: testing the myths, cutting through our assumptions, getting up off our 'seat cushion' and really, truly getting the facts, because nothing short of rock solid verifiable facts will serve properly, if nothing short of absolutely positively making it work the best we can, will suffice.

Here are some illustrations:

  • There recently was an issue where something had expired and needed to be renewed, and our Vendor told us that the only way we could refresh the expiration date would be to reboot the entire system.  But had we not challenged each other and tested this assertion in various ways, we would have knocked all our users off the system in the middle of business, instead,  we found another way, plus, we also found we could temporarily get around this expiration via another route.
  • We had an issue at a store the other day that we thought was the result of a failing UPS, but it turned out that is was an electrical problem, furthermore, it was proposed that this UPS issue would be resolved over time because there is a project to replace them, but there is not.
  • We had a group of users that told us that a critical Cloud solution was running incredibly slow and they needed our help.  Our initial response was that it was not our network, and that they needed to work with the vendor for that Cloud solution.  When others challenged that assertion, it was demonstrated that the slowdown truly did occur within our network, or as a result of our network, and from there, we were then able to come up with a solution.

I am not at all trying to make any one person or team feel bad, and that is why I am intentionally being vague in these illustrations.  On the other hand, I am asking all of us to strive for complete and accurate information, and to use that to unflagging drive towards, and achieve, proper performance and function of our systems.  We can not tolerate mediocrity, so when we get even a hint of it, we need to go after it and kill it off, rather to assume, explain or rationalize it away!

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