• Michael Soderling

Santa came early this year

I felt my head spinning and thought my career was over.

On the afternoon of December 9th I came home after having finished a workshop that was part of a larger assignment that had been running throughout the year aimed at developing the management structure of a rather complex organisation. The participants were happy, hence I was in a good mood. My plan for the evening was to take some time to go through the virtual workshop I would be leading for the next two days.

Then the computer suddenly froze. Nothing strange about that, I thought. After all, it happens now and again. I restarted it. But it didn’t cooperate. On occasion I have had to reboot twice. No worries, I made a new attempt. Hm, same problem. Oh well, third time lucky, I thought. But… Windows did not want to cooperate this time either. I tried a fourth time, a fifth time, a sixth time. End result? A blank screen.

I glanced at the clock. In thirteen and a half hours 25 people from Sweden and Europe would be signing in for the workshop. In another 37.5 hours, 30 new people were enrolled for the same workshop. It was then that my head started spinning. Should I call my client that evening and say "Ermm, Houston we have a problem”? It didn’t feel like a viable option.

With a microscopic amount of hope I called my IT support guy Niklas Birgerson. I knew this was probably not something you could fix over the phone, but, well, you never know. So far Niklas had managed to solve every single problem I threw at him.

"Hi Niklas, so sorry to call at half past seven in the evening, but you’ll never guess what’s happened…"

I didn’t need to say any more. Niklas immediately started to configure another computer with me as a user. He was a little concerned as he had some other technical ‘fires’ to put out that night and it might be late before the computer was ready.

"If I need to pick it up at three o'clock in the morning it’s not a problem," I said.

“No don’t bother – I’ll drop it off myself”, replied Niklas

At 22.45 he called and said he was standing outside my front door. We exchanged computers and I told him I fully expected him to charge me an emergency fee which he dismissed so I had to insist.

I went up to my apartment, turned on the computer and verified it was good to go. I can't actually remember when I last felt so relieved. Niklas is a fantastic role model for any consultant. He understood the problem, solved it and an hour before midnight he delivered the solution in person. Santa really came early this year!

It’s worth mentioning at this point that my boss and I have been discussing for quite some time whether or not I should have a spare computer for just such emergencies. He has rhetorically asked me: "How often has your computer crashed?" I have diplomatically responded that even though he is a fantastic person and a wonderful boss (to me at least) he can, at the same time, be a dimwit. My rhetorical counter-question has been: “Would you refuse to take out a home insurance policy because your apartment has never burned to the ground”? Following the fallout from my computer crash he now seems more positive and no longer nags me about ‘budgets’, ‘unnecessary expenses’ and ‘boys and their toys’. I’m even hopeful of finding a computer-shaped package under the Christmas tree this year.

Having posted this blog entry I am taking some time off. Since my career didn’t end this time either, I’ll see you after the holidays. Merry Christmas!

The clients who reach out to me are managing directors, management teams, and executives who want to realise the potential in their organisations and accomplish extraordinary results. They reach out to me because of my ability to transform individuals, teams, and organisations.


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Visiting address: Hichtechbuilding, Sergelgatan 14, Stockholm.

Phone: + 46 72 188 48 90
e-mail:  michael@msoderling.com

  • Gray Edin Ikon

COPYRIGHT © Michael Soderling AB. Design: Michelle Dandenell Photo: Peter Knutson Translation: Darren Packman