December 8, 2008

People keep assigning motive to me, accusing me of playing politics. Seeing my actions from their viewpoint I understand where they get this impression. But let me be clear. I do not play politics, or at least not anymore. I am going to make myself very clear here so there is no longer any misunderstanding of who I am and what motivates me.

I am a mechanic. I fix things. I make things work where they didn’t work before. People seek me out to help them accomplish a task. And that is what I do, I accomplish the task. That is my sole motivation.

If you want to assign blame, or seek to assign responsibility, then I will shoulder the blame, I will take responsibility if it will help accomplish the goal.

That’s it. That is all.

A concrete example? OK, I was accused a few years back of speaking out of turn. On a drive to an airport I spoke with our presidents future wife. I spoke at length of her fiancee massive accomplishments and the challenges he got us through. I let her know that a great many people had a great deal of respect for her future husband. But, we was at risk of losing that respect and if he lost that he could lose the company. The reason was simple. The people did not see him, he did not communicate with them. Worse, he made decisions that affected people and offered them no explanation. This was damaging. I suggested he come down from on high and sit with the people. Make them feel a part of the company.

This was misinterpreted. I was gossiping. I did not realize that she had no clue as to the company’s history. I was nailed to the wall. The president’s wife brought her fears for the future of the company and her own future security to him. Whoops.

But I make no apologies. My goal was clear, to get a message to him that he needs to communicate with his people. He missed the point. And the damage is done. And it is too late. Any attempt by him to communicate is now taken negatively.

Another example? We are researching new software. We have sent some people on training on a possible replacement. We happen to have an employee with some knowledge of the software but his knowledge is outdated and he would like to update his skills taking the same course as the others. Whoops.

Who am I to interfere with the operations of the company they say? I stand by my efforts though. We need a person in each location who can learn the software and then teach the rest.

If you want me to solve a problem, I am your man. If you just want to gossip, or a shoulder to cry on, go look elsewhere. I can guarantee you that if you bring me a problem, I will try to solve it.

I am a mechanic. I fix things. I used to fix bikes, now I fix computers. I used to fix supply chain issues, now I fix network bottlenecks. Its all the same to me. Whether I use a screwdriver or a mouse. It is all the same. Troubleshoot, diagnose, repair.

I used to play politics. In fact I once it took upon myself as a challenge to see if I could do it. I needed a situation but I could not find one…. so I created one. I was in University, living in a house full of subjects I could play with. I set about setting these people upon themselves. It was remarkably easy.

Then when all was chaos and broken, I set about fixing it. Planning my moves and counter moves. And I did it. I fixed it.

But for every action there is a price. That price I was to pay the next year when instead of being a backroom player, I was cast in the central role. God taught me a lesson that year. There are some things you cannot fix, and I couldn’t. It damned near killed me.

So I fix things, but I now know when to walk away. A dead motherboard may be fixable by replacement, but is it cost effective? That last question is the lesson learned.

There you go. That is me. Don’t bother looking for more because there isn’t. I know I have taken the fun out of it but I had to do it. You see, I have a problem. People keep assigning motives to me. I just gave you my motive. Problem solved.

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