What is the difference between good managers and great managers? Great managers, such as Sir Alex and Arséne, build great teams and a host of silverware. They then dismantle and build new ones. Even José Mourinho, doesn't have the luxury of having that achievement on his CV.
As soon as you start working, you realise the importance of team work. I think however (with all things) you need to experience the bad to appreciate the good. The first team I worked in and made a success was at my local petrol station, at the tender age of sixteen. My first job, many weekends spent serving fuel and stacking shelves. Oh the memories of good times, fun and laughter. (I worked with a mixed bag of staff, including a Scotsman with an extremely dry sense of humour!) What made that team? Well there was three of us, Lynsey, Daniel and myself. There was just a balance, everyone knew what was expected and got on with it. There was zero conflict, we pulled for each other. Funny, it would take me five years before I would experience anything similar again.
In February 2005, I became the longest serving member of the helpdesk, my new manager had been there a matter of weeks. He began the rebuilding process, in a similar vain to the knighted Scotsman and studious Frenchmen. But obviously on a much smaller scale. First came the return of a temp. Then came the arrival of the big man.
In a strange twist, I was given the MSN address of the Everton fan by a colleague and began speaking to him on 16th May 2005. (Had to dig out my work backup DVD with all my MSN chat logs). It broke the ice well as he did not start for another 3 weeks exactly, on 6th June. His personal message was "Dion has a full time job!".
The final member of the team arrived just over a month later, in July. To begin with he cycled to the office as he was yet to pass his driving test. I remember going to collect him from reception, he had just cycled in the rain and had disappeared to to the toilet to dry down.
So there we are, the members of the dream team. Our greatest achievement? Taking the call queue from the dizzy heights of 400 plus down to 36 within a year or so. However, it was not just the blitz on calls in the Track-It, it was overall raising the bar of expectation of the helpdesk. We went through several changes, taking over the provision of IT support for our own members of staff. Building the Virtual Server, creating Ghost images of laptops, writing up procedures, getting involved in a rigorous testing process. I could go on, but I will finish here.
Easily the best team I worked with and will even go as far to say, it will be be a scenario never to be repeated again in my working life. We just clicked over the course of the first few weeks. We knew what was expected and we got on with it, even when times were tough, customers were annoyed and we had our adorable manager on our cases. I cannot paint a completely rosy picture, we made mistakes, we did stupid things but they were few and far between. The lasting memory, for me at least will forever be having fun.
I will find myself the last remaining member of above described team, come 9am, Monday 10th September. Chris handed in his notice last week and in doing so, brought an end to an era. I can quite confidently say that the helpdesk will never be the same again. However, Chris also knows that he will never work for an organisation like this ever again.