Let’s Be Firemen

Where there is a fire, there is an opportunity to rise higher #MondayMorningWakeUpCall

Fire Fighting In The Corporate World

Staying Calm: The Solution To Saving Unnecessary Harm

Pop Quiz: If you saw a fire burst out in your house would your first reaction be to put it out or would it be to argue and investigate what caused the fire while it hungrily swallows everything in its path?

I’m hoping you would choose the former option.

In our daily corporate lives (and dare I say personal lives), we encounter situations which require fixing fires, the ones that haven’t been lit to keep us warm. And while the obvious action is to put the fire out immediately, before it paints scars that create Two-Face monsters, the reality is far from what is obvious.

In the throes of the heat we do everything but solve the problem. We panic, we play ‘passing the blame’, we cry and we waste precious time demanding (and God forbid, arguing) over reasons for the cause, all while the damage doubles by the minute.

Panicking, getting angry, crying, passing the blame or screaming your lungs out on an incompetent call centre agent to find reasons just adds fuel to the fire. As clear as this seems, in actuality, the smoke clouds our ability in taking the obvious action.

It is in these situations when you can take a leaf out of the book of firemen. Pretend you can be a hero just like them too, by emulating how they calmly control the chaos, fix the fire/problem first and then go about investigating the cause.

Easier said than done. While it’s an under-rated skill, it’s an essential one to develop I would say.

 A related aside:

(I’ve written this post fresh from one such experience – we just spent a harrowing 48 hours fixing a problem caused by our hosting service providers, Hostgator. Due to some technical problems at their end, our portal faced a downtime of close to 48 hours. I’m also using this as an opportunity to warn anybody thinking of taking their services. Please think several 100 times before signing up with them.

  1. They were incompetent
    1. Didn’t know what the problem was (after 4 days we still don’t know what went wrong)
    2. Couldn’t give us an estimate of how long it would take to solve the problem
  2. They didn’t care that our portal was facing unknown hours of downtime, that our business and brand image could be suffering –
    1. Offered no alternate solution (they could have easily given us an alternate VPS server, especially since they had no clue how long it would take to solve the problem and added to this,
    2. they had the audacity to say that they were looking into our case on priority cos we had escalated the issue, as opposed to customer who hadn’t escalated it).
    3. And of course there has been no apology, no intent of any compensation
  3. They couldn’t be trusted – there was zero transparency.
    1. Despite our repeated requests, not once could we speak to any of the tech guys who were actually working on the problem, assuming someone was (as their policy doesn’t allow it)
    2. When they said they were ‘done’, they restored the site to a 2 week old snapshot, losing all our data of the past 2 weeks. Thankfully, we had a more current backup and were able to retrieve it and get back in business

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