Have you ever taken over some new responsibilities only to discover little problems or issues? As you dig into the root of the problem, was it is much bigger than you first thought? I have called these little surprises Easter Eggs. Why Easter Egg? My kids are past the phase where they want to hunt for Easter Eggs. When they were little, we would have an Easter Egg hunt at my parents house every Easter. The kids were good, but they rarely found all the eggs that we had hidden.
Over the course of the following year, we would find some of the orphaned Easter Eggs. We would see them shooting out the mower discharge, step on them while trimming the bushes or raking leaves. Sometimes, we would find the money eggs, or eggs with toys inside. We would also find rotten candy or a rotten hard boiled egg inside, hence the term Easter Eggs. You never knew what you were going to get when you opened the egg.
I looked up the term “Easter Egg” using the authority on all things internet, Google, and I found two definitions for easter eggs:
The Easter Egg (Media) is defined to be an intentional hidden message, in-joke or feature in a work such as a computer program, web page, video game, movie, book or crossword. I would like for Wikipedia to add another definition – Easter Egg (Life), which let’s refer to as EEL. The defintion for EEL is a surprise problem or issue that has been hidden by someone else, which when discovered, pleasantly or unpleasantly surprises the finder.
It is important to remember that Easter Eggs are almost always uncovered long after they have spoiled. Lets look at a few examples:
- An employee turns in his resignation because his previous manager promised a promotion and salary increase.
- A client protests when they receive an invoice for services that their project manager told them were free.
- You get a deliquency call from a new vendor, only to find out one of your employees has signed an agreement that they should not have.
- A not-to-exceed project you just inherited has billed all the services revenue, and you still have 25% to go till completion.
- Your Microsoft partnership expires in two days, and you don’t have all the individual certifications that are required.
- You find out your husband of 25 years has a secret love child from 13 years ago, and you didnt find out till after he left his post as Govenor. (Now, before I get some hate mail, I am on Maria’s side)
All of the situations above can be resolved, though some may be real difficult (think #6). What do you do when you find an Easter Egg? When we find a traditional Easter Egg, we typically throw away the rotten egg. If we find money inside the egg, which rarely happens, we put the money in our pocket. The only difference for Easter Eggs we find in business is that we can’t always throw away the rotten eggs. Sometimes, we will have to deal with the rotten surprise, whether we created it or not.
Having to deal with the Easter Eggs is not always as bad as it sounds. Often, you are given leeway to resolve the issue, while getting some recognition as a team player.
I am sure we have all found Easter Eggs. The opportunity is how you deal with them. What Easter Eggs have you found? Click here and let me know.
Thanks for coming in today.