Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When it is ok to quit; and other excuses we accept the unraveling of pirate logic.

When it is acceptable to quit? Have you ever really thought about that before? All of us have our own cross to bear and as a foot soldier my orders are different but not dissimilar to the orders that are given to my associates or superiors. In fact really I would guess that all of our orders are very similar both at work and at home. So when it is ok to just set the sword down and quit fighting the fight? Is there ever a day that you can rest?

I ran into a situation that caused me to think. I had a system configuration that was not going to work on several levels but do to circumstances it was one of my only options. I could see the frustration in everyone’s eyes when I took one of our best technicians out of the field to “test a non supported never tried before theory.” In fact everyone around me seemed to be quite irritated that I was not ok with what all the literature said and what the advice of everyone in our technical organization. “Well in theory Michael that might work.” “Well then,” I said we will try every option till we prove it cannot be done successfully. A day went by and I was unable to get the configuration to work no matter what I tried.

At the end of the day when most thought I had completely wasted not only my day but the resources of many in our branch I sat down to write an email. I sent it to every business development liaison that I have ever met. Most only casually but none the less I built my business case on why we should look into the engineering that stops us from achieving our business objectives. Within an hour I heard back from the director of business development for production. The message was upbeat, positive and simple. I love having an impact even if the ultimate decision is that it is not worth making the change globally in a system that is aging. What I do like is that those around me have no limits to their mind and what is conceivable and they are willing to work for it.

I am always trying to achieve this mythical work-life balance that I have heard about in writings. What I do know is that we often times sell ourselves short by not walking something all the way through. As I make career and personal decisions I hope that I always keep an open mind to the possibilities and am able to achieve the level of success that makes me happy, not what someone else thinks is what I deserve but what I have earned. As the business environment gets ever increasingly difficult and my chosen industry narrows the field even more I hope to always be referred to as the one that will “carry the ball.” I never want to just block and tackle but respect those that do.

I hope to meet the people needed in my life who can help me be a “great ball carrier.” Even as I sit typing, I have been sick for almost 3 weeks now, I am planning to travel again next week for more training. I hope that my attitude settles in on the troops that I serve and that I set a good example of what “good looks like.” And in those many moments when I do not, I hope to have someone in front of me that does! I have 44 people that depend on me for my part of the game and I hope that in the second half that it is what becomes the “game changer” or at least to play and contribute to the winning team.

So every day we need to look at our behaviors and examine have we become hardened by not seeing change implemented successfully? Just because it didn’t work before are we not going to try again when it is the right thing to do? At what point do we hang up our professional opinions and just not give input anymore? I hope never…

NO you cannot drive the advanced finishing accessories with the C5501 but doesn’t mean you will never be able to… Just not now… Thank you for everyone that helped me and allowed me to act foolish without shame.

“Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.” - Chuck Palahniuk (author of the Fight Club and many other novels)

Sorry to be so philosophical but our attitudes drive our behaviors and as consultants our behaviors determine our success, the success of our solutions and ultimately our clients.

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