Sometimes, visionaries can get in their own way when they try to take control of an established IT organization. ITSM veteran Peter McGarahan shares three lessons.

by Peter McGarahan
Date Published December 21, 2022 - Last Updated January 20, 2023

A phone image of twitter against a computer backgroundWe asked HDI thought leaders the following question: What lessons, if any, can the IT service management community take from the Twitter-Elon Musk meltdown? ITSM veteran Peter McGarahan offered his thoughts here:

There are so many lessons that can be shared with the ITSM Community regarding the Twitter-Elon Musk meltdown. As an instructed best practice, we were asked to select only three. Given the request, I read, reviewed and prioritized what I thought are the most impactful take-away lessons for continuous learning and improvement.

Thoughtful Decisions

It was obvious that Elon had a desired outcome in mind. He complicated it by expanding the involvement of irrelevant people whose opinion or influence would have no direct impact on the resulting outcome. It’s important for leaders to be thoughtful in their decision making. Making decisions or communicating without thought, impact and/or perspective will usually produce unrecoverable dire consequences. Building credibility and establishing your reputation as a thoughtful leader requires taking the time to properly think through everything that you say and do. If not, your reputation and image will suffer and you will lose the trust of your community which will be very difficult to recover!

Inspiring and Influential Leadership

Influential leaders are consistent in displaying their leadership qualities, especially during crucial/critical times when everyone is watching and listening. Leaders inspire people because they know their area of expertise and influence and have the discipline not to be tempted to get involved in situations that provide no benefit or win for anyone. Elon’s selfish meltdown had a very broad impact on Twitter’s employees and stockholders, forcing them to consider the serious consequences around Twitter's financial situation. In retrospect, Twitter was not the right platform or means to broadly communicate this message. Most leaders will spend the required time carefully crafting the message based on who the audience is and how to deliver it in the most respectful and relevant way.

Establishing the Right Relationships for the Right Reasons

Effective leaders have a network of relationships they value and utilize in many different situations. It’s a trusted source for the leader to reach out anytime for perspective, insight, opinion, and advice. They work hard not to let their ego or self-confidence interfere with how best to construct and deliver the message. They try not to get caught up in the moment where reasoning is trumped by reaction. Elon placed himself as the sole source of reason and used a communication platform unsuitable for the situation. The constant stream of messaging had a profound impact on a broad audience that would prove to be unrecoverable.

Peter McGarahan is senior director of IT at First American.

Tag(s): supportworld, best practice, IT service management


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