AKA People who get shit done.
We all respect people who just get things done. Whether it is at work, at church, in the little league team. We all know the type. People who follow the Toby Keith song “a little less talk and a lot more action” with their lives.
So let me tell you about Jimmy Trodgon, Telecom Delivery Manager for SageNet.
SageNet designs, builds, manages, and secures networks for some of the world’s largest companies such as Phillips 66, Sunoco, Quiktrip, Coca Cola, and others. Jimmy manages the team that orders and schedules hundreds of telecom circuits per week for these clients, most of which are household names.
When I first started working for SageNet, I was assigned as the account manager to a fairly large and well-known client. My job was to act as the person with overall responsibility for the client’s satisfaction, to grow our business with this account, and to ensure we were doing what we promised and what was expected by the client, who by that time had been with SageNet over 12 years.
My involvement with Jimmy began during a tense situation with a store location that was experiencing intermittent data packet loss. This greatly impacted the client’s ability to serve their clients. I was new to the client and still fairly new to SageNet, so I wanted to make sure we were meeting our client’s expectations. We needed to upgrade the circuit to a more reliable, higher-speed connection ASAP, which sounds easy, but requires a huge amount of work with various providers to get quotes for new circuits, site surveys to determine construction costs, and sometimes even feasibility studies to ensure service can even be delivered.
Jimmy had worked with this client for years and had a good working relationship with their IT staff. He had recently been promoted to manage the SageNet’s provisioning team and had a lot of responsibilities with hundreds of clients, hence he was quite busy.
During this two-week crisis, I was pushing hard to get things done. I didn’t know all of our processes and who was responsible for what, so I was just pushing every button I could find to get things done. Too many buttons it turns out later, but that is another story.
During my first conference call regarding this issue with Jimmy and some other team members, Jimmy and I got off to a rough relationship. Jimmy was terse, busy, and mater of fact. I was pushy, demanding, and probably not as patient as I should be. We got off to a rocky start. I hung up thinking “dang it, that guy is a jerk.”
As we worked through this problem, and then later started working together on other projects, I started understanding that Jimmy Trogden was very competent at what he does. He knew what he was doing, he had “been there, done that” many times, he knew the processes needed to stay organized and get things done on time at a very large scale, and he knew how to get stuff done.
If anyone had been a jerk, it was probably me. And I am pretty sure Jimmy thought I was a jerk after our first conference call.
In my defense, he and his team didn’t offer much documentation or guidance on how the process was supposed to work, so I was pretty well just flying blind, trying to figure out how things went along the way. While THEY knew the process very well, I had no clue how the process was supposed to work.
To his credit, over time Jimmy realized this. Eventually, we started gaining mutual respect for each other. He started realizing I was very focused on customer satisfaction, very detailed, committed to hitting our deadlines, and I don’t like to promise what we can’t deliver. Jimmy learned that my style is to underpromise and over-deliver, which makes his team look much better. I realized that Jimmy was busy, focused, committed to client satisfaction, and eager to improve the process.
So after several months of working together, I gained a new-found appreciation for the competency of Jimmy Trogden and his team. And I absolutely love working with competent people. They make it MUCH easier for me to do my job. Rather than fighting fires all the time because someone didn’t do their job or follow through properly, I learned that as long as I follow the proper process – which took me a while to learn – then Jimmy and his folks would take great care of my clients. Which made me very happy.
So over time, I have given feedback to Jimmy, and they are working to incorporate this feedback into their routines. Namely, work to streamline the process, provide better documentation of the process to internal folks so we don’t have to learn it on the fly from the seat of our pants, and help educate us on the proper way to do things rather than get upset because we didn’t follow the proper procedures.
A win-win-win all the way around. We have a good solid working relationship now. We have a large, valuable client that is satisfied with the services SageNet offers. We are fast and efficient, yet when problems arise, which they inevitably do in such a complex technical environment, we know how to handle them, stay on top of the issues, and solve the problem.
And I love working with competent people. It makes my job so, so much easier, and makes ME look good.