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Telecoms and Teamwork

This week Russell HR Consulting opened three temporary satellite offices. Costa in Stony Stratford High Street, Kirsty’s house and my house. While one person remained in the office manning the phones, the rest of us took up our positions elsewhere to keep the wheels of commerce running and answering our clients’ queries.

So why were we seized with this apparent wanderlust? You may well ask. The answer dear Reader, is that at 1pm on Tuesday our outgoing broadband provider cut off our broadband and dropped us into a big, black broadbandless hole – just like that. Three hours of exhaustive phone enquiries only established that TML (the outgoing provider) had switched off our number and between them and the new provider (BT) we had no service. This meant no server and therefore no email. We were utterly stuck. Neither showed any interest in investigating and to start with both blamed each other which was scarcely helpful. After a considerable amount of pushing water uphill with a sharp stick, we managed to get a commitment from BT to get us hooked up to some sort of basic broadband by sometime next week. After yet more pushing, they say they will do it by today. Well call me cynical, but I shall believe it when I see my emails starting to arrive normally again. It is BT’s contention that TML had switched us off completely instead of handing over the service in a staged two part process over a week which is apparently the industry standard. We have yet to receive any sort of explanation, never mind an apology from TML.

Whether it was spite, stupidity or a toxic cocktail of the two that caused TML to do what it did, I couldn’t tell you. Believe me we had gone through many enquiries and checks prior to Tuesday seeking reassurance we would not lose service. But there we are. Their pledge was about as valuable as a chocolate fireguard. So as I write this we have been without any broadband service for three days and who knows how much longer we will languish in a broadband less desert. Neither TML nor BT will be getting my vote for excellence at the Telecoms Oscars this year.

We shot off to Costa forthwith to send a mail to our clients via Mailchimp and set up a temporary web address. As always our clients have been very understanding and we got some very funny and understanding emails back. Perhaps we should set up a support group for the victims of telecoms traumas. It’s clear we are not alone – not by any means!

The fact of the switch-off and the lacklustre response from TML and BT were irritating and unimpressive. It has wasted time and caused difficulty and delays. It all had the potential to be very stressful but we haven’t let it get to us. We know that we can’t always influence and control what happens, but we can control our responses. And the response from all of my team has been patience, doggedness, grit and humour. No-one has complained or huffed and puffed despite the pain. Needless to say in true Russell HR style we couldn’t resist seeing some humour in the situation. Russell’s Heroes of HR were born, not to mention the first official appearance of Wiggins, the co-opted zero hours HR cat. We have some cheeky new home page banners to commemorate the occasion and Wiggins’ struggles with a mouse will make you smile.

I am proud of the teamwork my people have demonstrated this week. It hasn’t been easy and we’re not out of the woods yet. Team Russell had all the ingredients of a really effective team.

  • They showed both technical skills and emotional intelligence.
  • They shared common aims
  • There was shared humour which inspired trust and a more relaxed environment.
  • There was proactive communication. They provided information, support and assistance before being asked. They also took the initiative by giving guidance and making suggestions to other team members. They kept each other in the loop, providing updates and creating situational awareness for other members of the team.

Get your team Russelled (rather than TMLed) and improve your HR standards and commercial performance today!

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