Your MSP business can learn important lessons from surprising sources, like the film “Mary Poppins”. It’s not that this Disney movie reinvents its source material to be geared toward MSPs specifically. It’s that there are certain life-lessons in the film which are universally applicable— some of which are worth considering.
Sugar and Medicine
You are likely hearing the song in your head right now— you know the one: about a spoonful of sugar making it easier to ingest medicine. Well, there’s an object lesson in dealing with clients, competitors, and partners in that song. You’re going to have bad news as an MSP. Sometimes, sought services are much more expensive than clients expect. Sometimes vendors have to fix problems that they knew would crop up, but which could have been avoided if clients weren’t sticklers at one point or another. You get the idea. What you want to do is sweeten certain information. Certainly, service A may cost X amount more than expected, but it will provide Y amount of value— which is sweet indeed, considering said value is greater than the expected cost. This is helping the medicine go down with a little value-added “sugar”.
Not Allowing Sentiment to Compromise Critical Thought
“Mary Poppins” admonishes against sentiment predicating action. The truth is you can’t go based on feelings alone, whether good or bad. Sometimes, we become angry when we think someone else is wrong, but it turns out we are wrong as well.
If eating such sour grapes causes us to make poor decisions, then we must follow those grapes with generous helpings of humble pie or simply stew on our own incompetence perpetually. Neither solution is desirable, but both consequences can be avoided using critical thought to trump emotional response.
Though certain clients may drive you wild, you must commit to providing unbiased, emotionally neutral customer service. The same is true in terms of partners, competitors, and internal employees. This doesn’t mean you don’t empathize with someone in a rough position, trying to twist your arm with emotion. It means you refrain from being manipulated. Empathize but act based on reason, not the emotion situation A or B makes you feel.
Common Purpose— Flying a Kite
Your MSP business needs to have a common purpose. In “Mary Poppins”, the father, mother, and children of the family that this “good witch” goes to assist are basically separate one from another. At the end of the film, the feminist mother, business-minded father, and whimsical children come together as a family unit to fly a kite. Your MSP will have many disparate elements internally and externally. It can be easy to focus on individual mandates against the whole operation, but if you want to fly the kite of profitability, everybody is going to have to come together in a harmonious fashion.
Do What’s Right Regardless of Pressure
If you remember, in “Mary Poppins”, the little boy is being encouraged throughout the film by his father to deposit a small amount of change in the bank where he works. The young boy doesn’t want to; he just wants to give the old lady on the street money for seed and feed the birds. There is some ridiculous drama and at least one strange song with a bunch of bespectacled bearded bankers opining over financial security. But Michael doesn’t deposit his money; instead opting for his position as a child. The result is that people think the bank is short on cash and this entire episode ends up bringing the family together in the end. The little boy did what was right, not what he was pressured to do, and the end result was good. Your MSP needs to do the same for its clients regardless of partner, competitor, or societal pressures.
Being Practically Perfect
Your MSP business can never be totally perfect, but you can reach closer to perfection by always doing the right thing, having a common purpose, critically thinking above emotion, and washing the medicine down with sugar.