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My Greatest Mistake (At Least That I Remember)

September 20, 2018

It was a casual conversation. Back before I knew that there are no casaul conversations in business. We were reorganizing our teams. I would no longer be manager of my team. A team that had been disfunctional when I inherited it, that was now among the top performing teams in the unit.

I was talking with my coworker, one of the other senior managers and I mentioned that I had shared with my team the fact that I would no longer be their manager.

The problem was the announcement hadn’t been shared with the rest of the unit yet. I knew my team would not talk to anyone. I was right. But, I was also wrong.

It was a mistake to tell them. I had the best of intentions, but the responsibility of leadership is sometimes lonely. I also put my coworker into a tough spot: either report me, or “go along to get along.”

I’d like to say I was young, but I was old enough to know better. Like I said, it was a mistake. It cost me a promotion and moved me off the career track. I deserved it. The consequences, I mean.

But, a mistake can be a learning opportunity too. In fact, if you don’t learn from it, you are likely to continuing making the same mistakes over and over.

I had a conversation recently with my counterpart at our client. Our client has multiple suppliers, of which we are one. Likewise we have multiple clients. Mine is one, of course. During my conversation the question came up about other clients we might have with a similar infrastructure.

I didn’t think back to the casaul conversation I had so many years ago. I didn’t need to. The lessons I’d learned over a lifetime of business came easily.

I can, of course, tell you that we have other clients with similar architectures. But, you must understand that I can’t share any details of who they are, or how their networks are set up.

I understand.

We may be able to get you in contact with them under NDA. The request would need to go through Account Management.

That’s fine. I just thought I’d ask.

Realize that not telling you about our clients means that I’m not telling them about you either.

It’s a lesson I wish I would have learned much earlier in my career.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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