Rossware Computing, Inc. is a small and personable business. I want it to retain at least the second attribute (it's part of why we've refused to install a voice-menu tree on our phone system). As perhaps a more part of this (and as the company's President and CEO) I wish to remain personally accessible to all users, on a ready and immediate basis, whenever I might be desired.
Not many years ago, this was very practical. Indeed, I alone provided all support, personally and directly. I very much enjoyed this role. I think users, too, enjoyed the fact this company’s “head honcho” was always readily available – with robust knowledge, empathy and understanding.
Today, of course, we have grown from a few dozen to many hundreds of active users. Because of this (and though I wish it were otherwise), it is now impossible for me to maintain the same kind of frequent, direct-with-user-interactions (and across the broad base of our users) as I once did. Instead, we now have a significant staff (five other full-time persons) for the purpose – all arrayed and ready to assist in answering your needs.
The problem I have (and the factor that triggers my creation of this document) is a number of users, and in a number of contexts, have seemed not to realize there is but one of me. As much as I want to make time for anyone and everyone that comes to me directly, if everyone does so, it becomes impossible.
What I am asking for in this document, therefore (and if you are not among the many who have already self-adopted this prescription), is to please ration the times you seek me directly (as opposed to seeking our general support staff) -- please ration to solely those times where it's me you truly and specifically need. If everyone will so ration their direct-Glade requests, I will thereby manage to be much more readily available for those times when I am truly and specifically needed.
Does the above make sense? I hope so.
I also wish to provide a little more specific guidance.
General Support Questions:
- If understandings within your organization have been otherwise, please make it clear I should not be the first “go-to” on general support questions. Our five-member support staff should be used instead. If the mode of inquiry is email, please use firstname.lastname@example.org. If anywhere in your system you have my own direct email posted for general support, please replace it with the above.
- Additionally, I hope you will please resist demanding me directly when calling with a general support question. Yes, I'd like to help directly -- but, again, there is only one of me.
Who Should Use Direct-To-Glade:
- As at least a general rule, I feel demands for my direct attention should be initiated by persons who occupy an organizational level, within your operation, that’s at least a rough equivalent to mine. To state this another way, I think, before a matter is escalated by your side to me, it should first pass through the judgment filter of an executive-level person from your operation, and that person should be willing to invest his/her direct time and focus, as a corollary to mine, when requesting mine.
- For context, I feel at least a little disrespected when the owner of a large operation instructs a base-level employee to call or email and direct-demand my personal attention. This happens more often than you’d think. I feel, at least generally, if it’s a matter that has been judged as needing my personal attention, the owner should be willing to expend his own personal time making the request, as he simultaneously demands mine.
- As further perspective, I think demands for my personal attention should most typically be somewhat more in the nature of peer-to-peer communication – as compared to where, say, a low-level staff person initiates a demand for me. Most of our users (especially the really terrific ones) do not permit the latter, and I immensely appreciate them for it. If your operation has been otherwise, I’d very much appreciate if you would please amend.
- I do not intend to suggest hard-and-fast rules on this. There are many operations where persons other than the owner have executive (or least executive-like) roles. Where suitable, I think it makes perfect sense for such persons to feel they are the right ones to come directly to me (where, of course, it’s a matter that specifically needs me). Somewhat similarly, if you are a one-man-shop, you are by definition the executive, and obviously should not feel in the least deterred from believing you are on the right level to directly seek me.
- Where I genuinely need to be CC'd, great. If otherwise, I'd appreciate if you'd please not consume my time and attention with an unneeded or gratuitous CC.
This involves two matters of potential exception from what I above describe.
- As one matter, I continue to handle general-support overflow here. For such reason, if all others are busy and the phone rings, I positively will pickup. I sometimes similarly direct-handle support connections. Where this is the reason you have me, please don't feel in the least bad about it. There's a big difference between specifically requesting me, versus it's me you happened to get.
- As the second matter, staff here somewhat frequently escalate matters to me, particularly when they are unable to resolve a matter on their own. In result, I may end up working with a junior-level person in your operation, as I seek to solve the matter. Again, please don't worry in this situation.
- The bottom line, again, is I wish to be readily available when you specifically need me, and I do not want you to hesitate from directly requesting my attention (whether by telephone or email) when it's my attention you genuinely need. Please don't hesitate. I want to be personally available for you.
Just, please, use respectful judgment -- so that I can be maximally available for all, plus have time for my many other duties, and maybe a little time for family too.