THERE IS ONE SPECIFIC MOMENT IN MY CAREER AS A CEO that I will always remember. I walked into my office after yet another series of plane flights and plugged in my computer, intending to check my email. The only problem was that my Internet connection was down—yet again. The same thing had happened on several other occasions when I returned home from the road. Now understand, I ran a technology company with about one hundred employees (including network engineers), and I had told them that if I ever walked in and did not have a connection again, heads would roll. I stomped out into the middle of the work area and started yelling and spewing threats to everyone in the company. The digital plumbing was screwed up once again, and damn it, I was pissed off!
I’m embarrassed to tell this story because it may have been my worst moment as a leader. But it makes an important point: technology can be powerful and infuriating at the same time. I’m sure you’ve experienced similar feelings when your digital plumbing let you down. When you feel the frustration, the easiest thing to do is blame your IT staff. Unfortunately, this is exactly the wrong thing to do if you want to decrease the friction in your high-velocity culture.