The 4 Obsessions of an IT Pro

Stuart Crawford (Calgary, Alberta)

IT Professionals are a strange and unusual bunch. I know - I have been one for a number of years, almost 12 years working as an IT Professional in many different lines of work across many different industries. I started working with Banyan Vines based networks in the 1990’s to Windows 2003 Servers a few years ago, prior to hanging up my screw driver. Now I primarily focus on working with Small Businesses so they can understand how technology works to benefit their business.

During my travels I have come up with four obsessions of the small business IT professional. What makes us tick? What makes us excited to be out doing what we do every day? Why do we work those super long hours? Why do many of us stay in this stressful and thankless career path?

  • Obsession one – It is all about the end user experience, when we can enrich the end user experience, you will find the secret to success in Small Business IT. The great IT professionals live this obsession daily; these are the professionals that ensure that every patch is installed, that every user account in the Exchange Global Address List has the proper spelling and capitalization of everyone’s name, to ensuring that each user’s signature file in Outlook is setup with a standard for the entire company. Why is this important? You can do a million things right in the back office; however, if you upset the user experience you might as well pack your bags. Obsession one is to ensure you enrich the end user experience.

  • Obsession two – Do every job great, no matter how horrible it is and smile. There are a number of daily tasks that Small Business IT professionals must do to ensure that their clients are happy with the service that they are receiving from your firm. Not every job gets the spotlight and the great IT professionals know this and do these tasks without asking for anything in return. These are the guys that give of themselves every day. These are the professionals that are here to serve their clients and are grateful that they have many wonderful business partners.

  • Obsession three – It is all for the greater good. No matter what curve balls a software manufacturer or vendor can throw at the IT professional that understands and lives by obsession three they will find a way to get through it. Often deflecting known bugs and issues to ensure that their clients can take care of their business without technology getting in the way. A professional understanding the greater good will ensure a work around is in place and that no blame is passed along to anyone.

  • Obsession four – The one with the best relationships wins in the end. This is a simple yet very difficult obsession for my IT professionals to understand. The professional that understands obsession four will be able to go through their day understanding all the obsessions and how they all come down to creating the best relationships with everyone that they work with. Relationships that are self sacrificing are the key to success, the IT professional that understands it is not about taking from vendors or clients it is about being a servant to them and working as one collective group that will eventually succeed in obsession four.

When we can tie all of these core obsessions together, we have the formula to succeed in our businesses. This business that we work at everyday is a stressful business with deadlines being imposed on us, working being interrupted because of a freak power outage that hits many of our clients and leaves us scrambling to keep up, right through to a new patch breaking a line of business application.

These things happen in our business, it is how you present and understand the obsessions that make the great IT professionals great and those wishing to be great wondering what they need to do. Here is a tip, practice these obsessions.


stuart crawfordStuart Crawford provides mentoring services to Microsoft Small Business Specialists across the world. Stuart engages with Microsoft Small Business partners to ensure that their business has the tools required to succeed in the marketplace. His number book combination on obtaining wealth as an IT professional is now available at Join his free monthly IT Professional conference calls at

Comments (1)

  1. ye110wbeard says:

    Sums it all up for me… 🙂

    I guess Obsession 3 covers "Giving creative stories to technical support so you can GET your technical support on that un supported platform".

    ISP Support. You’ve determined the DSL line is dead from the outside.

    "Hello.  Support here.  Time to troubleshoot and waste your time."


    "Are you running Windows or Mac OS/X" (It’s a router)


    "Great thanks.  And what model of DSL modem are you running."

    "…It’s the Sesame Street DialOMatic, seems strange to me too, they shipped it yesterday…"

    "Ok.. Great.  Well we’ve determined the problem is at your end, because we don’t like computers…"

    "Ahhh… That would be a fine answer except the phone has no dial tone and is dead."

    "No no no.  We’re certain it’s your PC."

    "NO NO NO.  It’s your side I CAN be certain of that."

    "Why is that you say?"

    "Mostly due to the fact that there was a huge fire on the phone room and we need a tech down here to demarc all our phone drops."

    "Oh.  Hmmm.  Let me get a supervisor…."

    (Maybe not to those extremes, but I’ve actually had a couple where you get on the phone and a ‘Certain Major Provider’ immediately asks for the credit card since it’s a billing issue.)

    Therefore internet dead from no payment.

    But they were quite insistent on sending you through the 90 minute loop of unplugging and rebooting when there’s a BIG FLASHING LIGHT on the screen saying "BILL NOT PAID".   Then the final question….

    "Uhhhhh, is your Credit Card expired?  It seems your bill isn’t paid"

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