The Animal Farm Rule of Help Desks and Network Management

farm hogsRunning a Help Desk or a Data Center can be confusing in that while you try to treat all customers the same way, there are just some people who need extra-special assistance. You may go all out for your internal and external customers but there are always certain classes of people who you really have to go ALL OUT for.

We call these people executives and people of power, such as customers, business partners, presidents, vice presidents, owners, administrative assistants to people of power, etc.

It may not matter how small or piddly their call is. When the phone rings or the email comes, they immediately go to the top of queue and you solve their issue as fast as you possibly can. No matter how hard you work at resolving user issues, you must work harder and faster in resolving these people’s issues. And if you don’t believe that, there’s usually all kinds of people insisting that you go into hyper-drive to get the people of power’s interests resolved.

It’s part of the job.

I call this the Animal Farm rule of IT Support, since the core spirit comes from George Orwell’s Animal Farm where the animals start with this commandment after they’ve overthrown the farmer and took over the farm:

All animals are created equal

But by the end of the book, when the pigs with their human allies take over, the commandment is rewritten to look like this:

All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others

I can think of no more apt analogy for the two levels of support a Help Desk Manager or Data Center Manager needs to provide. The genius of Orwell is that he took what everyone knew to be the truth about service and boiled it down to thirteen words, giving us a metaphor for management.

wise owl 1You can actually apply the Animal Farm to most areas of human activity where management and customers are involved. It’s not just for IT, anymore.

So anytime you’re pressed to go even harder, reach even higher to get that hyper-critical project done for people of power, remember the Animal Farm rule and everything will make a lot more sense.

That Orwell. What a genius. He would have made a great IT Manager.


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About Joe Hertvik

Joe is the owner of Hertvik Business Services, a service company providing written white papers, case studies, and other marketing content to computer industry companies. He is also a contributing editor for IT Jungle and has written the Admin Alert column for the past ten years. Follow Joe Hertvik on Twitter @JoeHertvik. Email Joe for a free quote on white papers, case studies, brochures, or other marketing materials.
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