Can’t Fix Stupid

Ron White made a fortune out of the phrase however in the Information Technology field it is a mantra that can lead to ultimate disaster. It is easy to feel superior to others when we are dealing in areas as esoteric as networking and computers. How many times have we confronted individuals who couldn’t operate a light switch much less a PC and wonder how they ever became a Director or Vice-President. This superiority complex is fed most by those individuals who view the world as one-dimensional.

I recall taking classes a long time ago on managing a Windows 2000 Active Directory Infrastructure. The class began with a 2 week primer on basic PC and Network maintenance. I distinctly recall an argument between one of my classmates and the instructor over the number of Interrupts available on a said motherboard, the actual clock cycle of a particular Pentium III processor, and whether or not the AGP interface was necessary. He was a PC repair technician and since he was in his element, he felt the instructor had no credibility. I can’t say I was a little smug when he failed a couple Microsoft exams and was put in his place when we began discussing permissions, groups, and OU’s. By the end of the class the student was eating out of the teachers hands.

If we only look at a single dimension and in our case the PC usage one, we can begin to foster a disdain for the people we are serving. Because Mr. Q cannot set his out-of-office reply without the helpdesk we are inclined to think that somehow we are better suited in the role of Director of Sales and Marketing… yea right. Isn’t ego funny? All it takes is one dimension of a job in which we excel and because of that we are better in them all, or so we think.

We can’t fix stupid, but we can redefine it. I will not argue that there are stupid people in this world, moreover there are a whole lot of smart people who do very stupid things, especially when it comes to technology, but I can guarantee most of us fit into one of the above categories.

A focus on multiple dimensions is nothing new. If we look for the best in other we will find it easier to work with or for them. Once we see the best in others, we can find ways to improve ourselves and most certainly deliver better service. Ultimately the better we can serve our clients, the better their perception of us will become and the less likely they are to view the IT department as a necessary evil.

So I guess maybe we can fix stupid, but to do so we must start at its source… ourselves.

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~ by lavazzza on November 17, 2009.

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