The Madden Approach to Systems Management

John Madden retirementWindows administrators can learn much from the career of John Madden. Like many in my generation I do not remember when John Madden wasn’t behind the microphone. Though I have faint memories of Howard Cossell, it’s the larger than life Madden who reigns supreme. His approach was simple. He believed that the average sports fan was smarter than his colleagues gave them credit for.

Granted that there is abundant stupidity in some organizations, however the days of spending five hours trying to teach Rodney the fine art of double-clicking is by and large in the past. Around us lie some intelligent people who aren’t in our field of choice, and in honor of the Maddster I think we should recognize them and do what he did; teach.

When I say teach I don’t mean that you train the user to someday take over your job. After all, Madden wasn’t training us to be sports broadcasters. He was teaching in a way that allowed us to better understand the game and as a result, better enjoy it.

For those who didn’t know Madden’s style, he would explain to them what the coaches and players were doing, why they were doing it, and what the ramifications could be. The rest was natural. The fans understood the game and actually walked away smarter than when the game started. Imagine the joy if your customers not only understood what you did for them, but why you were doing it and what would happen if you didn’t do it.

He was also humble. He wasn’t in your face reminding you that you first learned about scrimmage strategy from him. When the game was over he quietly got into the Madden Cruiser and went to the next assignment.

Way to go, John. Enjoy the retirement. You’ve earned it.