Your MSP company is already well-versed in collateral learning. Here’s why: when you encounter a new client, helping them find the best solution will in part consist of helping them avoid common errors in operation. As an MSP, you see many clients approach technology solutions in many ways— some better than others. Applying that information collaterally helps you better serve clients and increase patronage.
The same kind of collateral learning can be brought to bear in reference to films. There are direct lessons a film seeks to impart, but there are also those that can be applied in a collateral sense. Comedies can be especially fun in this regard. Let’s look at the Robin Williams vehicle, Mrs. Doubtfire. Following are several takeaways from this film that you can apply to your MSP:
• You have to think on your feet
• You’ve got to speak their language
• When pressure comes, you can’t panic
• Refrain from allowing anger to control you
• Ensure that you’re careful about what you say
Thinking on Your Feet
Your MSP company may not be a divorced comic voice actor dressed up as a Scottish nanny so he can spend time with his kids, but like Williams’ character, you’ve got to think on your feet. For Mrs. Doubtfire, that meant preserving the charade. For your MSP, it means anticipating client needs, knowing where to acquire new high-profile clients and fixing problems before they become issues. You and your team need to have the “lights on.” There needs to be “somebody home,” in a mental sense. Be alert. Fitness regimens silhouetted in bonuses or other incentive devices help facilitate natural alertness, and so do energy drinks. Find your best equilibrium and bring it to the table.
You’ve Got to Speak Their Language
Robin Williams had to understand what the kids wanted in order to get the nanny job. He also had to remain “foreign” enough not to alarm his wife. This meant being agreeable while simultaneously being separate. As an MSP, you’ve got to understand where your clients are coming from. You’ve got to know where their pressure points are and when discussing a matter may close them down. If you’re speaking in tech lingo that’s over their heads, it may make them feel like you’re trying to be superior. This can turn them away from you. Speak their language while being familiar. You know where they have a misconception. Like father Doubtfire teaching his children in disguise, gently stop their negative misconceptions and replace them with answers.
Pressure and Panic
There’s an iconic scene in Mrs. Doubtfire where Robin Williams accidentally sets his character’s chest on fire and must find a creative way to put it out. He never panics. Your business can’t panic under pressure, either. Pressure will come; there’s no way around it. Imagine having four clients that have never given you trouble but haven’t instituted automatic patching despite your insistence. Now, imagine if some ransomware like 2017’s WannaCry worm hits and knocks them all offline, and they come to you for help. You can’t panic when things get busy fast. You’ve got to prioritize and go.
Don’t Let Anger Control You!
Robin Williams’ character must deal with a great deal of anger at the new man his wife is with. Even though he’s around them constantly as Doubtfire, he can’t let his facade slip. If he does, he can’t be around his kids.
If partners, clients or employees cause trouble, you can’t allow anger to cloud reason, or you may suffer a worse consequence. You need to have a cool, clear mind.
Ensure You’re Careful About What You Say
As an MSP, you’re not hiding under some duplicitous identity, but you do need to understand where clients’ minds go and know the right things to say. Avoid emotional outbursts, and let policy guided by logic lead you.
A Successful Caper
An MSP company that’s careful to consider its actions and play toward long-term goals is one that, like Robin Williams’ character, can see the caper of their operation through to the fullest success. Collateral learning can be acquired from many unexpected resources, like Mrs. Doubtfire. So, ensure that you’re always looking to find nuggets of wisdom.