MY Hines

Suggestion for All? QTIP

Posted on: January 13, 2010

Right off the bat, I did not come up with this one at all – but it is such an important concept, something that is actually printed out and hanging around my desk – and all of my staff have done the same – that I wanted to share. You might be wondering what does a QTIP have to do with technology? Is this blog about how to use a QTIP to clean out old-school mice? Wait – you know what it is, I’m going to explain how to use a QTIP to fix roller problems with laser printers!

Honestly, you don’t need a physical QTIP for this at all. It’s just an easy way to remember this phrase “Quit Taking It Personally.”  Maybe it is hard to admit it, but think about how many things you take personally each day. How about that driver who cut infront of you? Or maybe that coworker just hates you? Better yet, the network personally targeted you this morning to have updates completed.

I think it is partly human nature to say that things happen to us personally. We read a lot into what is being said and not all of it is correct. (See, I do believe that there are certain things that should be taken personally, but that isn’t the focus of this post.)

I think if you are the ‘in-house tech’ or in a role like that, you can easily fall into the pitfall of not having enough QTIPs on hand for everything that flies to you. It is hard to not take the complains about your network personally. If you have been working on a troubleshooting issue for 6 hours and it still isn’t working, the staff are going to be upset and it may seem like it is being focused towards you. STOP! Think about this for a second: Is it truly you that they are upset with or are they upset at the situation that they are in?

Another example that I have had happen to myself and I have had others fall into is when a staff member calls in for help and they are saying “You did something to my account and I can’t logon!” If you don’t use that QTIP right away, your defenses are going to go up and you are ready to almost fight back. Is that truly going to fix the problem? But since I have had these phone calls and I did have that fight response back – I have found by using QTIP that I actually got to the real problem faster. What was the real problem? Well, the staff person who was calling in was more upset about how they didn’t know what they did to cause the problem and they did not want to appear as if they didn’t know the computer enough. Instead of saying, “I really don’t know what is going on, but I can’t logon,” they assigned blame to protect themselves.

So, I do have some Tips for using QTIP. None of this is set in stone. You may not even like this Quit Taking It Personally thing that I’m talking about right now. But maybe something will help you out.

  1. Post a reminder for QTIP somewhere. I found that just a small QTIP isn’t enough. I have a full-page, full color sign that has a picture of a QTIP on it along with the words Quit Taking It Personally hanging right to the right of my screen, where I can still see it (if I am properly using my keyboard tray!)
  2. Tell others about QTIP. The best thing is that now that my entire department knows about this, we can look at each other and say, “QTIP”, if someone is taking something very personally. It’s good to have others remind you because in the heat of the moment, you may not even realize that you are taking something very personally.
  3. Prepare to forget QTIP. There are going to be days that you are going to take things personally. There is going to be a project that you have worked hours and hours on and you are going to snap if someone says anything against it. I found that if you have those days, it’s ok to admit that you took something very personally and correct it then. That might mean allowing yourself the mistake and moving on. It may mean telling the person that you took something personally and that you want to move forward. All of that is up to you – but know that there is no way to make QTIP foolproof.
  4. Have ways to clear your mind when you are taking something personally. I know that as a techie, I can easily get caught up in the world that is at my desk and computer. But if you are caught up in that cycle of just seeing everything as an attack on what you are doing – it’s time to take a break. I know one of the ones I do that is with several select songs on my iPod. It’s like my happy mix. It has upbeat songs and it has a couple different versions of the song “Smile”. Whatever you need to do to break your mind away from that cycle of seeing everything as against you.
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