Nothing is obvious

nothing is obviousI spend a day at the helpdesk the other day. Listening what the usual conversations between the support staff and their customers were about and observing how the conduct their business.

I feel this is important. It provides me as a leader with a better understanding what is going on at the “coal face”. I could have easily skipped it as I’ve been managing a helpdesk years ago. What could possibly have changed?


“Take nothing for granted” is something I learned many years ago and I nearly forgot it. I was with the Army in the early 80’s. It was Winter, it was cold, there was a light snow and it was night. It was a training exercise. We had been given the task to secure a hill and were watching the allocated terrain. As we changed the watch I decided to make some tea. An aging Colonel was observing how we conducted ourselves. He didn’t say anything about it. 2 days after the event a review took place by the commanding officer. He was never out there during the exercise. When one of my team told the story about making tea he was up in arms and I got a telling off you won’t believe.


A day later the observing Colonel showed up, took me aside and said, ” The commanding officer was not well informed. I told him the circumstances and that you did the right thing.”


There is more than one lesson in here for me.

  • make sure you know the circumstances well enough before making a rash decision or action.
  • show integrity and stand up for those who can’t.
  • do the right thing. It is what you are when you lead.


Showing up at the helpdesk confirmed all that. Technology like smart phones and remote desktop connectivity means first level support is not bound to the physical helpdesk. Still the helpdesk has to be open and manned during the promised times. Clear lines between ICT disciplines are even more blurry than they were 6 or 8 years ago. Integration and communication (keeping informed and ensure understanding) are vitally important for the success for the team as a whole. A project focus is not sufficient.

Have you had a recent reminder of lesson learned long ago?

One comment on “Nothing is obvious

  1. […] enjoyed most writing the stories Nothing is obvious, Positive Surprises, Reality Check and With Intention! These 4 posts cover vastly different areas […]

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