16. Practice Blameless Problem-Solving.

Apply your creativity and enthusiasm to developing solutions, rather than pointing fingers and dwelling on problems. Identify lessons learned and use those teachable/ learnable moments to improve our processes so we don’t make the same error again. Get smarter with every mistake. Learn from every experience.

Jamie's Message:


Having worked in IT for about 20 years now, problem solving has been a very big part of my career. I’ll never forget one of the first tough problems I faced. A problem that I caused!

Years ago I was a network engineer for a consulting firm out of Cleveland. I was rather new to this firm and was trying to prove myself as a competent technician even though I was still pretty green and had much to learn. One day while replacing a simple tape drive for one of my customer accounts, I ended up taking their whole system down hard. At the time I had no idea why their server reacted the way it did. The replacement part was correct and I installed it exactly like the old one, but there I sat looking at a “blue screen of death” in total panic. Nothing I did brought the system back up and I had no choice but to call my boss and try to explain myself. It took about 15 hours’ worth of work to completely rebuild the server from scratch because their backups had been failing for weeks (hence the service call for me to repair it). We worked all night free of charge fixing the mess I had caused.

In the end we found out that the original tape drive was installed incorrectly, but for whatever reason it never caused a problem until it was replaced. I didn’t bother to check the original configuration since I was just swapping it out for a new one. That mistake caused me and my client a ton of grief. The strange thing is that neither my client nor my boss verbally blamed me for the incident. Because we stayed and did whatever it took to solve the problem, the client was actually appreciative. The complete rebuild ended up solving a lot of the other issues they were having as well. In the end, they had a more stable system and continued using our firm (and myself) for support. I remember feeling grateful for how everyone handled the tough situation I caused. Had they flew off the handle instead of focusing on the problem, I’m sure the outcome wouldn’t have been as positive.

A few of the many great problem solvers here at Famous include Mike Castillo, Devin Bryndel, Bruce Raff, and Randy Mason. On more than one occasion I’ve seen these individuals jump in and help however they can when tough situations arise, and are focused on solving issues rather than placing blame. They make our team, and company as a whole, much stronger.