As a manager I am sure you are always looking for ways to improve your managerial skills. Over the past couple of days I have faced a trial that really gave me a few good managerial tips to live by. The other night I was reading a good blog post on leadership and decided that I wanted to print it off to have for future reference. When I clicked the print button my computer screen flashed and the window shut down. Not thinking it was anything to be concerned about I went back online to the site and proceeded to click the print button again, this time as the article was printing I saw that the icons on my desktop were flashing and then disappeared. Once the article was printed about 20 windows one on top of another flashed up stating that my computer was at risk and that the hard drive was overloaded and if I wanted to correct the problem that I needed to click the okay button and purchase the software to fix the problem or I would encounter a total hard drive failure. Now I do know a little about viruses and am familiar enough with the scam that I needed to purchase something in order to fix my computer and once I put in my credit card number not only would my computer problem be solved but so would my good credit because they would sell my information to the highest bidder. So I shut down my computer and tried to reboot, but when I did I found that all of my documents and pictures files were gone. I tried to restore my system to an earlier date thinking this might fix the problem, but no matter how far I went back I could not locate my documents or pictures.
The kicker is, (meaning I could have kicked myself) I have an external hard drive on my desk top that I normally back up to, but I have failed to do so for the last 6 months. So when a crisis happened I could have been prepared, but by my own lack of foresight and discipline to back up, I was caught in a terrible situation. Lesson number one, don’t panic! I tried not to think about all of the documents, articles, presentations, not to mention several chapters of the book I have been writing that were missing at this moment. I sat and tried to think this through and began to look on my computer for my folders. How could a virus just eat everything up? I started doing a search for different picture and document folders that I had and when I did the search I noticed that it was flashing up all of the folders that I was missing, so maybe they were there, somewhere still on my computer. I thought back to when we had a similar problem that happened on one of our work computers and we were able to restore it with the help of a knowledgeable technician, maybe there was hope! Lesson number two, think the problem through. When I went to the office the next day I talked to our office IT person who said that the files were probably there and gave me a few things to try on my own to see if I could find them, this gave me more hope, yet I kept the thought in the back of my mind that it may not work out like I hoped, but no matter what I would try to put things together and move ahead as best possible. I tried all of the suggestions and virus CDs that he gave me, but still was unable to recover any of my missing files. I tried to think about what I did have down on paper as far as my articles and what was out there on websites that I could recover, but most of all I was thankful that I had a CD of each of my son’s and daughter’s recent wedding pictures that were also lost on my computer somewhere. That brings us to lesson number three, seek help from someone who has experience with the problem that you are facing. The next day I told our IT person that I had been unsuccessful at restoring my computer, he told me that after work he could come over and he was sure that he could fix the problem, because he had encounter this type of virus before. Well to make a long story short, our IT person came over and within one hour he was able to find my hidden folders and restore my computer back to normal. I am thrilled, I really had set myself up for a major loss. I am so relieved of the hours of work I have been saved trying to recreate what had been lost and as for my pictures there was no replacing them. As I pondered what had happened over the past three days I realized that these three steps I took while facing a personal crisis could apply very well to the workplace. 1. When a problem arises don’t panic. 2. Think the problem through, what could be possible solutions and lessons? 3. Seek the help of someone who has experienced the same problem and has been successful at resolving it. I hope that these lessons may help you when you face a problem, because if it is not today, it will be someday.