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It’s Not In Peace, But Conflict That We Find Greatness

May 14, 2019

I had screwed up. We were bringing up a call center and we needed a specialized piece of hardware. In hindsight, it wasn’t that expensive, $15,000. The problem was for redundancy sake, we needed two. But, I wasn’t sure the hardware would even work. It was new.

So, rather than risk $30,000 I only risked $15,000.

It was a sucker’s bet. Looking back now with the benefit of years of experience, $15K was nothing. But, I made the choice.

Launch day came around and sure enough our $15,000 new piece of hardware broke. It was going to work, except a piece of hardware failed.

So, Rodney, are we going to switch to the backup?

Ah. . .no.

What’s the matter? Why not?

We don’t have a backup.

When were you going to share that information with us?

If it became pertinent. It just became pertinent.

The client wasn’t pleased. I wasn’t pleased. No one was pleased. And we couldn’t launch without our fancy piece of broken hardware.

We were now in full blown crisis mode. And to make it worse, the crisis was of my own making. I also started working on the solution. There were phone calls to make. Emails to send. Schedules to work.

The day became full of a ruthless series of ever increasing timelines all geared toward getting us back up and running.

I still felt terrible. And as I was walking down the hallway, the site director mentioned something,

Rodney, you’re doing a great job.

How can you say that? This entire problem is my fault.

Yeah, but that’s not the point. Everyone screws up sometimes. But, you’ve taken ownership of the problem and the solution.

Still a screw up.

Yes, but it’s how you act after the screw up that sets you apart. That’s why I say you’re doing a great job.

It was an important lesson.

You can build a good reputation through your successes. But, you can build a great reputation by how you handle your screw ups.

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) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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