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Your Boss Is Your Customer


Your Boss Is Your Customer

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James Stover
James Stover
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When a customer asks you to work 60 hours, they expect to pay for 60 hours. When a boss asks you to work 60 hours, they expect to pay for 40 hours. As long as that disconnect exists: boss < customer.


James Stover, McDBA

John Langston
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Where to begin?

If I lower my expectations and raise my commitment and address those things given directly into my hand then I can control things over which I have direct control. Trying to catch/control the whim of the moment is like finding chicken lips in the grocery store.

With regard to customers, I believe there are at least two very famous instances of customers being incorrect: the personal printer and the mini-van.

My understanding is initial customer focus groups in both cases indicated there was zero interest but product managers pushed ahead and the rest is history.



Andy Warren
Andy Warren
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I'll definitely be writing some about the other side of the fence next year. I've definitely been working on a theme and exploring the responses. The tactical/political side I think is beyond the scope of what makes sense for SSC hosted content, though it's without a doubt an interesting topic (and one I dabble in often!).

For example, right now I'm thinking that simply saying good boss or bad boss is over simplifying. Equally, saying a boss isn't a customer because they pay you salary instead of hourly isn't looking at the whole picture. I get the sentiment, I really do!

Definitely appreciate the discussion. Good learning for me too.

Andy
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James Stover
James Stover
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Andy Warren (12/22/2011)
I'll definitely be writing some about the other side of the fence next year. I've definitely been working on a theme and exploring the responses. The tactical/political side I think is beyond the scope of what makes sense for SSC hosted content, though it's without a doubt an interesting topic (and one I dabble in often!).

For example, right now I'm thinking that simply saying good boss or bad boss is over simplifying. Equally, saying a boss isn't a customer because they pay you salary instead of hourly isn't looking at the whole picture. I get the sentiment, I really do!

Definitely appreciate the discussion. Good learning for me too.


Andy, it's definitely NOT just about the money. If it were, that would be so easy to fix - just pay for the time. Rather, I chose to give a succinct example of the mindset of the typical boss. Customers may treat you like garbage but at least there is an understanding of quid pro quo. "If you want my balls on a silver platter, then you better pony up some moolah". Bosses on the other hand will make unreasonable demands and expect you to bend to their will with no due compensation (money, time, kudos, promotion, etc.). The notion of quid pro quo is lost. With that fundamental, unspoken agreement broken: boss < customer.


James Stover, McDBA

Andy Warren
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James, I hear you. I don't think we're that far apart on this, but I do see it a bit differently. I know those kinds of managers exist, I just think they are a smaller percentage compared to the ones who don't know how to manage!

I've never had the perfect boss or client. Sometimes they have strengths that offset the flaws. Sometimes the team makes up for a bad boss, or perhaps the benefits do. Same with true customers. For the short term my stance is do what I have to to do to pay the bills, but mid to long term if it's not working as an employee or consultant, then I make a change. Over the years I've grown to understand that changing is no guarantee of better, only different - but hopefully better!

It's ok to fire a customer. If you're going to keep a customer then you have to figure out what matters to them. For some it's never being late. For others it might be filling out the TPS report correctly. Then you do the things that makes the customer happy, even if you think it's less important than they do.

It's mildly transformational. Too often boss/employee relationship is close to parent/child, wrong paradigm. What I'm trying to see/coach to is changing the view from the employee perspective, removing the victim aspect, and maybe trying to change the perspective.

It's also, so far at least, not a simple topic, hard to tackle in small bites, hard to do in big bites too!

Andy
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TravisDBA
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Jeff Moden (12/20/2011)
Gosh, Andy. Although I appreciate where you're going in these articles, that's, what? 4 in a row about how to be a better employee? Let's hear about the other side. Let's hear about how to be a better manager and how to better manage expert staff and schedules. Let's hear about a manager that will wear the tin pants for his or her team and the rewards that will actually bring.



Jeff, I have got to hand it to you. I don't always agree with you on a lot of things, but that has got to be one of the smartest and accurate quotes I have ever heard on this forum. :-D

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"
TravisDBA
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Andy Warren (12/22/2011)
I'll definitely be writing some about the other side of the fence next year. I've definitely been working on a theme and exploring the responses. The tactical/political side I think is beyond the scope of what makes sense for SSC hosted content, though it's without a doubt an interesting topic (and one I dabble in often!).

For example, right now I'm thinking that simply saying good boss or bad boss is over simplifying. Equally, saying a boss isn't a customer because they pay you salary instead of hourly isn't looking at the whole picture. I get the sentiment, I really do!

Definitely appreciate the discussion. Good learning for me too.


Well, I guess that is a good thing. My only concern is "If a tree falls in the forest and the manager is not there to hear it, does he even care?" In otherwords. how many Database Managers, Directors, IT managers, CIO's, or even CEOs for that matter, even read your articles? :-D

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"
Jeff Moden
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TravisDBA (12/23/2011)
Jeff Moden (12/20/2011)
Gosh, Andy. Although I appreciate where you're going in these articles, that's, what? 4 in a row about how to be a better employee? Let's hear about the other side. Let's hear about how to be a better manager and how to better manage expert staff and schedules. Let's hear about a manager that will wear the tin pants for his or her team and the rewards that will actually bring.



Jeff, I have got to hand it to you. I don't always agree with you on a lot of things, but that has got to be one of the smartest and accurate quotes I have ever heard on this forum. :-D


I aim to please. I don't always hit what I'm aiming at, but I'm always aiming. :-D

Thanks, Travis.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
Although they tell us that they want it real bad, our primary goal is to ensure that we dont actually give it to them that way.
Although change is inevitable, change for the better is not.
Just because you can do something in PowerShell, doesnt mean you should. Wink

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James Stover
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Andy Warren (12/23/2011)
James, I hear you. I don't think we're that far apart on this, but I do see it a bit differently. I know those kinds of managers exist, I just think they are a smaller percentage compared to the ones who don't know how to manage!

I've never had the perfect boss or client. Sometimes they have strengths that offset the flaws. Sometimes the team makes up for a bad boss, or perhaps the benefits do. Same with true customers. For the short term my stance is do what I have to to do to pay the bills, but mid to long term if it's not working as an employee or consultant, then I make a change. Over the years I've grown to understand that changing is no guarantee of better, only different - but hopefully better!

It's ok to fire a customer. If you're going to keep a customer then you have to figure out what matters to them. For some it's never being late. For others it might be filling out the TPS report correctly. Then you do the things that makes the customer happy, even if you think it's less important than they do.

It's mildly transformational. Too often boss/employee relationship is close to parent/child, wrong paradigm. What I'm trying to see/coach to is changing the view from the employee perspective, removing the victim aspect, and maybe trying to change the perspective.

It's also, so far at least, not a simple topic, hard to tackle in small bites, hard to do in big bites too!


I see what you are saying...and agree. I take it case-by-case; if I have a great manager I strive to exceed expectations. If I have a mediocre manager, I tend to meet expectations. If I have a terrible manager...well...I treat it as a lost cause and formulate an exit strategy.

I know I have a great manager when he/she says: "We do migrations on a Saturday at midnight. We plan these 12 weeks in advance. You can take time-in-lieu."

In these three lines I know:

1) My boss respects my time
2) My boss knows I have a life outside of work
3) My boss is treating me fairly
4) My boss knows how to plan
5) My boss cares (as much as one can)


James Stover, McDBA

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