The DEX Show | Podcast #14 – The 5 Worst Things About Working in IT

The DEX Show | Podcast #14 – The 5 Worst Things About Working in IT
August 16, 2021

“You need to have people in place in the right roles to understand the right things to understand the right problems.” – Geoffrey Wright

Working in IT isn’t always easy. There are certain aspects of the job that can simply be maddening.

In this episode, Geoffrey Wright, Global Solutions Owner for Mondelēz International, joins the show and we have a free-wheeling discussion about the 5 worst things about working in IT.

What we talked about:

  • Every project needs a problem statement
  • The illusion that tools will fix everything
  • The relevance of SLAs vs. XLAs
  • Technicians who do whatever they can to solve the problem
  • People who hate their roles

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Geoffrey Wright (00:00):

It’s like, again, I always joke about this. I often find myself in places that are like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. If you haven’t seen The Village, it’s about a village in the 1600s, 1700s. They get the water, they got the wells, they got this, they got that. And somebody just gets curious one day and just says, “What’s beyond the woods?” And all the people in this village say, “Don’t go through the woods. Don’t. Don’t ever go into the woods.” Fast forward and I’m going to ruin this movie for you guys, somebody runs through the woods, only to find out as they run to the edge of the woods for a full day’s run, they come to a major highway. And here’s the M. Night Shyamalan twist. It’s present time.

Tom McGrath (00:41):

[inaudible 00:00:41] really has. You didn’t just ruin a film. You nuked it there, I think. That guy is… Making twist films is what he does. Hey, tell us about The Sixth Sense, why don’t you Geoff? Come on.

Geoffrey Wright (00:52):

Get this, Bruce Willis… Let me tell you this, guys. You’re going to love this.

Speaker 3 (01:01):

You’re listening to Digital Employee Experience, a show for IT change makers. Let’s get into the show.

Tom McGrath (01:07):

Hello, change makers, welcome to the Deck Show. I’m Tom McGrath, here as ever with Tim Flower. What’s happening, Tim?

Tim Flower (01:13):

Tom, the same old stuff, but excited to talk about people, process and technology. We’ve talked with Geoff a little bit. The tech people focus on the tech, and the people part is hard. So really looking forward to some conversation.

Tom McGrath (01:28):

Exactly. We’re going to have a little bit of a risque conversation. We’ve got a fun theme and a fun guest, and the person, as you say, of Geoff. Geoff, welcome to the show. Please tell the listeners a little bit about yourself to get the ball rolling.

Geoffrey Wright (01:40):

Well, I’m currently a Global Solution Owner at Mondelez, the maker of Oreo and nine million other products. If you just Google us, you’ll see all the great stuff that we make. I’m in charge of the tools here. Chat bot, the autonomous remote action stuff, all the nerdy stuff that most people in my space would love to work with. It gives me heartburn, but it’s at the same time also a fun thing at all times.

Tom McGrath (02:04):

Excellent. So you’re here today, Geoff, to talk about the five worst things about working in IT. How you feeling about the theme? Are you feeling prepared?

Geoffrey Wright (02:14):

I am prepared, but I will tell you right now, I don’t know if we have that kind of time.

Tim Flower (02:16):

Yeah. There’s only five?

Geoffrey Wright (02:20):

Yeah. I could do number one and two probably for hours, days. Again, hope you got a cup of coffee.

Tom McGrath (02:28):

We’ve only got a limited amount of time. Okay. I’m going to get the ball rolling myself. It only feels fair, because I’ve asked you to come armed with your own list. Okay. I don’t work in IT per se. I work for a technology company. I am as Tim once infamously described beyond this very show, a guy from marketing. So I’m going to give you and our listeners a little insight into not a list of the worst things about working in marketing, which again could go on a while, but perhaps arguably the worst thing.

Tom McGrath (03:00):

So everybody I think knows that a lot of people who don’t work in marketing tend to look at marketing and think that they could do a better job. Okay? I won’t ask you to confirm or deny this. I wouldn’t want to alienate you.

Geoffrey Wright (03:13):

I confirm.

Tom McGrath (03:14):

Thanks, Geoff. And it’s well-known, but that’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is I think, as a marketeer, you do sometimes carry in your weaker moments for suspicion, for self-suspicion that they are all correct.

Geoffrey Wright (03:27):

So I can tell you, your worst fans and your biggest fears, it’s a pencil sharpener. It is, it’s a pencil sharpener. I always have that anxiety and that stress around that in general. Like the imposter syndrome, I’m like, “What am I doing? I don’t know what I’m doing.” Well, none of us know what we’re doing.

Geoffrey Wright (03:48):

I mean, again, talk about… not from a spiritual standpoint, but we’re all just flying around the universe on a marble, a blue marble in outer space. What do we know? Nobody knows what we’re doing. Okay. So number one with a bullet, by the way, problem statements. Problem statements. And I don’t necessarily know if it’s a fundamental thing because all of us in IT and most people that I work with in IT, everyone… Most people that work in IT, they got into IT because they love the tech. They loved the cool toys.

Geoffrey Wright (04:23):

Every guy that came up to me that said, “Oh, you have an iPhone. That stinks.” “Oh, why?” “Because Android, I can run Server 2012 on it and RDP to something,” yada yada. I’m like, “Why would you be RDPing to a server on your Android phone, first of all?” It’s always like, “Well, why?” “Well, because I could do that.” “You’re going to be sitting on a bus VPNing into a server from your phone? Don’t you have a laptop? Did your company give you a laptop?”

Geoffrey Wright (04:48):

“Yeah, but I could do it. What if I’m on vacation with my kids and I’m at Disney World and I need to do this?” Well, that’s your problem. That’s your problem. If you’re at Disney with your kids and you need to RDP because your Android phone, that’s your problem.

Geoffrey Wright (05:01):

So the problem statement, many, many, many, many companies and teams that I’ve worked with, you get injected into this mix and everyone’s doing something. “Oh, we’re upgrading to this. We need to set up that. We need to de-install this. We need to…” It’s, “Oh, this project is so important.” Okay, why? And I’m a five why guy. I’m like a Six Sigma guy, Six Sigma light. I don’t know what you want to call it, but I’m a five why guy. And I have to tell you with every company that I’ve gotten to, you will get shot, and I’ve yet to really figure out a better way because I am, I’m like a blunt object sometimes. They call it a big personality. I love that term. “Geoff, you’re a big personality.” “Oh, okay.” What does that mean?

Geoffrey Wright (05:49):

But it’s always, “Hey, why are we doing this?” “Oh, well, we have to upgrade the servers.” “Oh, okay. Well, why are we upgrading the servers?” “Because Microsoft said we have to do that.” “Okay. Why did Microsoft say we had to do that?” “Oh, because there’s a thing that they’re enhancing.” “Oh, okay. Do we need that enhancement?” “Oh, I don’t know.” I’m like, “Well, this is a $3 million project and we have our…”

Geoffrey Wright (06:13):

It’s not like one guy or two guys in the basement. It’s an army. It’s an army, where somebody snaps their fingers and there is an army of managed service providers, big four, all these people are in motion to do this monstrosity of a project. You have program managers that are like, “Okay, we’re upgrading this.” And then I come into the room and and it’s almost like that balloon, just shoots out the door.

Geoffrey Wright (06:43):

I’m like, “Why are we doing this?” And every once in a while, the guild, I get somebody that’s at a certain level above me that goes, “Oh my God, Geoff’s right. Why are we doing this?” And again, you have this Titanic, this billion-dollar ship, with a captain, you’ve got a bunch of people rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. You’ve got the guys like, “Hey, they change out the tune. Let’s change out the menu.” None of this stuff matters. None of it matters, but they’re rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. And then you have a captain that more often than not says, “You know what? I bet if we gun it, we can split that iceberg in half.” And it’s ego.

Geoffrey Wright (07:25):

It’s pride. Which by the way, I have neither. If I mess up or if I do a project or something, I’m the first one to go like, “Yeah. You know what? We tried, we failed, I missed that one.” But that’s an anomaly that I’ve found. Again, so many people could tell me different, but there’s a lot of great friends and colleagues of mine that don’t do it that way or they work with people that once they set something in motion, that senior vice president or whatever, they don’t ever have a problem statement. Every project needs to be a problem statement. That’s it. And if you don’t have that to start off with, you’re done.

Tim Flower (08:04):

Well, you said it earlier, Geoff, when we were talking, the problem statement for many is, “How do I keep my job? All of that work, all that inertia of what I started to set out is going to help me stay employed.”

Geoffrey Wright (08:13):

Right, busy work.

Tim Flower (08:14):

Right. And having the problems, so for me, IT is not about IT. IT is about outcomes and the problem statement needs to be aligned with what am I trying to accomplish and why? We would ask why one time, and then what we would push on further is, “And then what? And then what? And then what?” Ask that next. “Well, what’s next? What’s next?” Get to that final place where you’ve got a definition and if you can’t answer it, then you’re probably doing the wrong stuff.

Tom McGrath (08:40):

Love it, gentlemen. I’m going to keep us moving here. I’m going to be the timekeeper so we can get through all five, which I want to hear. That’s number one, problem statements. Moving onto number two, Geoff, tell us what it is.

Geoffrey Wright (08:51):

So it’s the people, process, technology. It is so often the answer and solution to all things. Anything is a new tool. It’s a new tool. It’s, “Hey, we’re going to bring in this tool. It’s going to fix everything.” And it’s this incredibly crazy illusion because tools don’t fix people unless you’re talking about like Spanish Inquisition, like the rack. That was a tool. That might’ve fixed a guy’s attitude real fast, because he was stretched out.

Geoffrey Wright (09:28):

But things like that don’t do anything. You need to have the people and process behind them. But I can’t begin to tell you, again, shooting from the hip, I’d have to say 90% of the people that I work with and deal with throughout my career, for some reason, feel like if I give you a new hammer, “Oh, no, no, no. This is the new hammer.” Well, we have an old hammer. “No, no, no. This one has a different angle that gets the nails out better.” “Okay. Who are we going to give that to?” “Oh, I don’t know, somebody.” And you’re like, “Okay, you give it to somebody. You give it to the same somebody that had the old hammer.” And here’s the shocker.

Geoffrey Wright (10:07):

The best part of that is how many times I see the shocked look on people’s faces where like, “Oh, we spent so much money on this brand new hammer, the best hammer, the best.” Like, “Gardner said this is the best hammer Home Depot sells. This is the best. It was rated.” Forester rated [inaudible 00:10:24]. They’re in the visionary quadrant of hammers. And you give that same guy the hammer, and then everyone goes like, “What the heck, man? What happened? Why does it suck? Why is it bad?”

Geoffrey Wright (10:36):

Well, you gave the hammer to the same chipmunk. You keep whacking that hammer. It’s the same thing. You need to have people in place in the right roles to understand the right things, to understand the right problems. And then the process, I tell you, I’ve seen people without a tool and I say without a tool, but how many people have managed projects in Excel spreadsheets? Although I hate Excel with a passion, with a passion. But I’ve seen project managers go like, “Hey,” and I’m like, “Oh God, another spreadsheet.” But a really good project manager goes, “Okay, 1.1, here’s all the tasks.” And they just cascade it all the way out.

Geoffrey Wright (11:19):

And they make the calls. They have the daily standup, they do all the things right. It’s Excel. Then you have a horrible program manager that’s like, “Well, we need Primavera.” If you guys know what Primavera is, but it’s like, “We need Primavera, we need Tableau…” And they have all this stuff, millions of dollars worth of software. And the project just goes right in the toilet. And you’re like, “Well, what happened?” “Well, this guy happened or this woman happened, this person happened.” Whatever happened, it happened. It had nothing to do with the tools. We all know the tools can be good or they can make things worse.

Geoffrey Wright (11:53):

I always feel like it is. It’s like a multiplier. A good person with a good process, you put a tool on top, that’s even good or okay. It’s like a multiplier. But if you have a bad person with bad processes, it only multiplies the bad processes and it only amplifies the bad person. You’re like, “Oh, wow, this guy was bad. Now he’s worse,” because now he has a tool behind him. It’s like Genghis Kahn or any of the… “Hey, let’s give him an army. He was bad to begin with, but let’s put some energy behind this guy.”

Tom McGrath (12:26):

Is this where Nexthink comes into play? Geoff, I know you’re a user.

Geoffrey Wright (12:30):

I love Nexthink. If we could go number three with a bullet, I strongly believe service desks and desktop support are going to be dead in five to 10 years. It’s one of the reasons why I got into the chat bot space and the Nexthink space and the deck space, the digital… all of it. And I have to tell you, I started off at desktop support. I’ve owned desktop support. I’ve owned service desk. I’ve owned them both at a bank. You want to talk about heartburn. I’ve owned it together.

Geoffrey Wright (13:00):

And I have a ways to go. I think last time I checked, I think my retirement age now is 114. I got to figure out how I’d get there. But I know that chat bots and bots and AIX, all of these things are going to take over desktop support and service desk very soon. In the scheme of time, very soon. A decade from now, Tim, Tom, we’re not going to be calling a service desk and get a live person anymore.

Geoffrey Wright (13:31):

I mean, unless you’re that C-level suite that breaks the rules. White glove support will probably be here to stay until human beings decide that technology really is better than the service they can get from people, just that elbow support. But I know so many people and I see so many things. I’m not a visionary, but it’s like just looking into traffic. We’re going to be at a point where VDIs, everyone’s just going to have whatever device they want.

Geoffrey Wright (13:58):

I mean, iPads already do that. I take my iPad everywhere. Email works, the internet works, I can get to the stuff that I need. O365, I get to it. And almost like the reset button on a Nintendo from 20 years ago, when it doesn’t work, I just close it out. I reset it. It does some magic in the background and it works again. Is it a bad experience? Not really. I mean, it’s what, one or two seconds. But so many people are still again in that mode of, “How do I show value?” I used to go by everybody’s desk on a Wednesday afternoon and give them a hazelnut coffee and a high five. I’m desktop support.

Geoffrey Wright (14:40):

Yeah, and that’s great, but I’ll tell you what, COVID sure sped that up. All of the people that were used to being in the office and saying, “Oh, you know what? Talk to Tim. He can get your copy of Adobe. Talk to Tom. Tom’s got the coffee of the month. He’s the guy to talk to.” Well, we’ve all been removed from that for a year and a half now. And we all realized like, “You know what? I can just use the chat bot to get Adobe.” “Hi, you need Adobe? Is there a license available? Yes. Great, trigger installed.”

Geoffrey Wright (15:12):

Wow. And guess what a lot of people found out in the past year? It’s faster. You’re getting serviced, no pun intended, service now. You’re getting what you want, what you need to do your job effectively fast. You don’t need to hear about, “Hey, what’d you do over the weekend? How you doing?” I mean, look, I love that. I mean, I’m all for conversation. That’s all I do really. That’s my passion. But when people just need little stuff or if a PC breaks or the VDI, they don’t care. Fix it.

Tom McGrath (15:45):

But can I just be a curmudgeon here, Geoff? I’m trying to keep us honest to the theme. I don’t know what free is. I understand the wider context, but how would you define it?

Geoffrey Wright (15:54):

So the idea of the SLA as still being relevant versus the XLA.

Tom McGrath (15:59):

Got it. Got it.

Geoffrey Wright (16:00):

Okay? That’s it. And I apologize. Yeah, keep me on the lane. I’ll go way off into outer space.

Tom McGrath (16:09):

We were [inaudible 00:16:11] in from your love of Nexthink. So I wanted to let it happen organically.

Geoffrey Wright (16:16):

Yes. So the SLA, the way I explain it is, and my analogy is this, the SLA is your poor relative in the hospital. And his heart stops for 30 seconds and the doctor comes in and says, “Yeah, but it started beating again at the under the minute marker, so we’re good.” And to me, “No, no, no, he was dead for 30 seconds.” You’ve got brain damage, you’ve got all these other things.

Geoffrey Wright (16:41):

But that’s like the doctor coming in and saying, “Well, the SLA at our hospital is if the heart stops for more than a minute, then we didn’t do our job. But if it’s under a minute, he’s cool. He’s good. He’s fine.” Somebody doing the Fonz, like, elbow, and the guy on the table saying, “He’s fine. Look, it started beating again. It’s good.”

Geoffrey Wright (17:03):

So the XLA to me is, “No, no, no. He was dead. His heart stopped for 30 seconds. And that’s 30 seconds of time that was just the worst outcome possible.” With the Nexthink platform, you have that heartbeat, you know when things stop, you know when applications crash. There’s something that I love, there’s a part of my role that I love, which is I can actually proactively call people. I mean, we had some senior people where it was like, “Hey, this guy might’ve just had some serious stuff go down. Get onto the A-Team, get onto the Tiger Team, have them contact him.” And boy, how cool is it? How cool is it when somebody on the other side of the phone says, “Hey, yeah, something did just crash. How’d you know that?”

Geoffrey Wright (17:54):

“Well, we’re trying to make sure that we are on point and that it doesn’t happen again.” You know what I’m saying? Imagine a traffic cop preventing accidents, “Whoa, whoa, hey, you know what? I know you were about to T-bone that guy at the intersection. We got you.”

Tim Flower (18:09):

Yeah, we use the firefighter analogy a lot. The SLA is how fast the firetruck can drive, how quickly I can get to the fire and then how fast I’m going to put it out. Well, how about we do something that prevents the fire to begin with? And by the way, the firefighters, not to disparage any firefighters out there, but in IT, you probably caused that outage a month ago and you let the fire burn for a month, and now you’re going to show up with an SLA, put the fire out and say, “Hey, we’re good. We met our SLA.”

Geoffrey Wright (18:35):

That’s number four. So great segue. Tim, that’s number four. That’s number four on my list.

Tim Flower (18:43):

Hit me.

Geoffrey Wright (18:44):

Is technicians that do whatever they can to solve the problem. That only creates a butterfly effect of just heartburn. VIP support is probably one of the worse-r ones. But in general, it’s whack-a-mole. If us, as the people that are proactively fixing the issues and understand the inner workings and the matrix, us looking at all the ones and zeros and me being the analog element or the human element to tie together the digital and the analog, that’s the two pieces right there.

Geoffrey Wright (19:23):

I am the human element that interacts with the digital and together in the blender, it’s magic. Service desk and desktop support are in a role now where they are not looking at the holistic view. They’re not looking at the big picture of making things better. They’re looking at this guy just called, his computer crashed. This is an error. This just logged… An event happened. How do I get this guy bandaged up? Give him some morphine, put a tourniquet on, whatever you have to do, get this guy moving back out the door, which I’ve always despised. I’ve always despised the idea of that deli counter time limit of, “Hey, I called the service desk.” “Okay. Is he going to help you?” It’s “No, no, no. He’s got 91 seconds.”

Tim Flower (20:18):

10 minutes.

Geoffrey Wright (20:19):

Yeah. That’s it, 10 minutes. That’s good. But yeah, he’s got 10 minutes. It is. It’s like you are an ER surgeon in the IT field. Somebody comes in your door, they’re just beat up, they’re in really bad shape. I was going to use a different analogy, but I try to keep it to Kindergarten here. But somebody comes in that door completely destroyed, and that technician now, service desk or desktop, they start grabbing stuff off the shelves. “Okay. I don’t admin rights. Okay.

Geoffrey Wright (20:47):

This is narrow. I don’t have this. I don’t have that. Okay. Let me try this. I’m going to install this. Let me re-install, uninstall, re-install, reboot, unimboot, super boot, whatever boot.” All of the above, firmware, upgrade, bios. They throw every piece of voodoo and magic and medicine that they can.

Tim Flower (21:05):

And now 10 things are broken when they were only there to fix one thing.

Geoffrey Wright (21:07):

Right. But the perception is the technician says, “Hey, you know what? It’s as good?” And the guy goes, “Hey, man, you fixed my problem.” Meanwhile, the laptop, the hinge is flapping. The CD-ROM’s spitting out CDs. There’s probably a virus now on the machine because they had it like, “Oh, there’s a key gen, let me just put that in real quick. You need this, right?” All of these things.

Geoffrey Wright (21:34):

I mean, again, we all laugh about it, but I mean, a decade or so ago, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a company that that happened.

Tim Flower (21:40):

But to their credit, they’re trying to do the right thing for that one employee, that one person that they’re trying to solve for. A little bit of it is living on the adrenaline of, “Oh my God, there’s an emergency. I’ve got to get this executive up and fixed.” But there’s a lack of the big picture. Not only for that one fix, but how many other people have that same problem that we need to apply some consistency, standardization, efficiency? There’s so many things that we could talk about.

Geoffrey Wright (22:04):

That’s so true too. How many people have that same problem? And every person at the desk probably treats it… I mean, because again, there’s the knowledge. Again, you could argue managed service providers and internal, external, all of it. I mean, there’s 1,000 different avenues you can go. But ultimately, and again, this is number five. Am I cool to move onto number five, Tom?

Tom McGrath (22:27):

Why is everyone trying to retire me as the person who introduces-

Tim Flower (22:30):

Tom, you had one job. Tom, you had [crosstalk 00:22:34] one job.

Geoffrey Wright (22:33):

I don’t know. I feel like I’m in trouble.

Tom McGrath (22:35):

You’re trying to make me redundant like the service desk guys. I see what’s happening here, and I just want to say, before we go on with five, it’s going into the heart of my marketing insecurities, already confessed. Now I’ve said my truth, I’ll hand it back to you for number five. Okay.

Geoffrey Wright (22:50):

Well, I felt like I was in trouble. I just want to make sure it’s cool. Like, “Geoff, Hey, Geoff, come on. Let’s go, number four…”

Tom McGrath (22:55):

It’s a simple job I have. I’d [crosstalk 00:22:57] like to do it. That’s all I’m saying.

Geoffrey Wright (22:57):

No, I love it. I love it. Number five, I would argue, is controversial. And actually, when I went through this list, it’s really a matter of people that are in their roles that hate their roles and they’re not passionate. And I know that’s a hard thing to swallow. It’s a hard thing to say, “Well, this guy’s not…” There’s a lot of people that aren’t passionate about their jobs or careers, and I get it.

Geoffrey Wright (23:26):

And I actually, literally yesterday, and I just put it on my LinkedIn profile. It’s a play on… I think it might be Hindu. I’m not sure, it might be Buddhist, about how everything in life is borrowed. Everything in life is borrowed. You come into this planet here, and then you’re gone at some point in time. It’s borrowed.

Geoffrey Wright (23:46):

And I twisted it and said, “Well, if everything in life is borrowed, why not borrow the good stuff? Why not borrow the good stuff?” I’m not going to borrow old socks. I might as well get good socks. I mean, unless you’re into old socks. In that case, I support you in your mission to enjoy old socks.

Geoffrey Wright (24:03):

But the idea is, you should be happy with what you do. There’s a great book called The Happiness Hypothesis, but it’s a great book to read because it ties together the links between things, is what causes that happiness. The idea of the guy that does the service desk that’s like… Again, turnover at the service desk. You got 900 people, and by next week, there’s another 900 people.

Geoffrey Wright (24:32):

But on occasion, I shouldn’t even on occasion, I knew four or five or six colleagues of mine, and they’ve become unbelievably successful in their space. They love it. They love the service desk. They love the puzzle. They love seeing all of a sudden all the phone’s blowing up and knowing that there’s a major incident, and then trying to alert the right people, trying to log all the things that are happening to create a knowledge base article at some point to plug it a certain way.

Geoffrey Wright (25:03):

Again, I often say like, “Oh, we have bad managers,” and stuff like that. It’s not a bad manager to say to somebody, “Hey, Tom. Hey, Tim, I feel like your heart’s not in this role.” And it’s probably easier as you move up, as you move up the chain. As my father used to say, “You’ve got the guy scraping bird stuff off an F-14 windshield.” That guy, but who knows? Again, the happiness hypothesis, maybe that guy realized, “You know what? Me doing this is giving that fighter pilot better visibility into this war that we’re going into. And my job is just as important, scraping this gum and stuff off the F-14 windshield, to ensure that that fighter pilot is on point. And he doesn’t have any blind spots on the glass.”

Geoffrey Wright (25:55):

That guy could come back and say, “My job’s important. I love what I do and I understand the bigger picture of what I do.” But most people I would believe would be doing that role and saying like, “Oh, this is my job every day, scraping gum off the F-14’s windshield.” But it’s a different point of view. And that point of view can make or break a team. And I’ve been judged on that, and that’s why I’m saying this is controversial in a sense.

Geoffrey Wright (26:20):

I have been judged as a manager going to people and saying like, “Hey, Tom, Hey, Tim, I really don’t feel like this is your role.” I want to feel like I’m doing them a disservice by saying, “Hey, you’re doing a great job. You’re doing a great job, man. Everything’s great.” Meanwhile, they’re just… It’s my responsibility as a good manager to say, “I don’t think this is your passion, and sometimes, you coax it out of them.” And they say, “Yeah, you know what? I hate this job.” “Okay, let me help you.”

Tim Flower (26:48):

That’s one of the great attributes of a fantastic leader, mentor, coach. That’s a critical part of managing people, is to coach them and mentor them to get better. And the role they’re in might not be the right role. “Let’s get you in the right seat.” The other thing I took from that, Geoff and Tom, maybe do we want to think of… Maybe we don’t. Is Nexthink equivalent to a guy with a windshield squeegee?

Tom McGrath (27:14):

Yes. Okay. We could be that. We could be humbled.

Geoffrey Wright (27:19):

Right, it’s visibility. It took a long time, but it’s something that I did take from my father. It’s how do you work with the people within that space that are mostly introverts? Most people that I work with in IT are introverted. Most people, they like the tech, they like the focus.

Geoffrey Wright (27:40):

How do you tell somebody like that, with somebody like me, who’s loud? I’m like a motorbike coming in, just sometimes, again, big personality. How do you come off not being criticizing? Not criticizing somebody saying like, “Hey, man, you’re not cutting it. You’re not cutting it. You’re not doing really well right here.” How do you spin that into, “I’m trying to help you grow. I’m really trying to help you be successful.” And so many people really, God, so many people do it wrong and really hurt.

Tim Flower (28:16):

Yeah. Without a doubt. That’s something I’ve worked on my entire career, is the topic of feedback. And I still haven’t figured out which is easier, giving it or taking it, because there is a definite art to put towards giving feedback in the right way so it’s not a stick in the eye. That it’s given with positive intent and not intended to tear somebody down.

Geoffrey Wright (28:41):

Yeah. It’s a very tight walk. I have a thing, again, from my father. I can’t take this as mine, my dad, but every job that I’ve started in the past probably 15 years, and I’ve managed teams now for two decades, but I’ve always started bringing in donuts. Now, this is a great… I’m going to say controversial too. My father used to always get donuts. Donuts is that universal thing. It’s a donut.

Geoffrey Wright (29:12):

And at my last last company, the first week I was there, I happened to start around Valentine’s Day and everyone may know this, but Dunkin’ Donuts always has the heart-shaped donuts. So my second week into the job, after I met the leadership, when I got to really get introduced to the team, I had 25 technicians, project managers, I had all asset management, all these different… VIP. I got two dozen heart donuts, all heart donuts.

Geoffrey Wright (29:39):

And these guys were really on edge. This was a role I was coming into where they had had really poor leadership. I brought those two dozen donuts in, all heart donuts. And in that moment, half the team already was sold on me. Again, they were all very worried and they saw two dozen heart donuts, and it was so funny. I was like, “Hey, grab a choice, grab a donut.” And they were all heart donuts. Every single one of the guys was just like, “Yeah, yeah. Now you’re fired. Here you go.” If you could ever imagine a point where everybody’s anxiety was immediately reduced almost to nothing.

Speaker 3 (30:22):

To make sure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player. And if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, make sure to leave a rating of the show. Just tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. If you’d like to learn more about how Nexthink can help you improve your digital employee experience, head over to the Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.


Thomas McGrath is a writer, filmmaker, and podcaster. He has been published everywhere from VICE to Computer Weekly, and is the producer and co-host of the Digital Employee Experience Show. Learn More

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