Out of touch

Have you ever tried using a windows laptop without a mouse or a touchpad? It is impossible. The feeling of helplessness quickly turned to irritation, as I kept tapping and massaging the touchpad hoping it would come to life. I was all set for an online ‘Town Hall’ an all-hands meeting where we had some important announcements to make, and a whole host of new people to introduce. My well-planned day was about to take a tumble. From being all set and ready to go, without warning my laptop’s touchpad stopped working and I was disconnected from my world.

Maybe if I restart the laptop it will sort itself out, I thought to myself. I still had about 30 minutes before the Town Hall was scheduled to begin. I decided to press the restart button, before I pressed the panic one. Three minutes later I was staring at the same screen which I could not navigate past, feeling really irritated now.

Okay, think Nikhil. What else can you do? Connect an External mouse maybe? Yup, that sounded like a good idea. Another few minutes was spent finding the rodent that had been hidden at the back of a cupboard and then plugging it in. Suddenly the arrow of the cursor appeared and I heaved a sigh of relief. But my joy was short-lived. I could move the cursor around but nothing was clickable.

“Calm down, and google it” I told myself. The first site I landed on gave me these instructions “Press Windows key + R to open up a run box. Then, type ‘control’ and hit enter to open control panel. Inside control panel, navigate to hardware and sound, then click on mouse and touchpad. … “ I did as instructed and seemed to be making headway, but the clock was running out on me. I was making progress but there was more to be done before I got it working again and there was no way for me to know how long it would take.

At this point, I did what I should have probably done in the first instance. I called the magician who is Mr. Fix it from our IT team. Let’s call him Mr. Lifesaver. To my good luck and his credit, he answered within a few rings. Patiently heard me out. Told me to try a few things and when none worked he took remote access of my computer, uninstalled and reinstalled the drivers for the touchpad, and voila, I was back in business. When you know what you are doing the complex and complicated look so easy to navigate.

At one level this little touchpad episode reminded me of the importance of being self-reliant. Of learning how to manage the basics when it came to my environment and my ecosystem. At another level, it reminded me of the value and importance of having an ecosystem that is responsive and supportive.

The smart worker has to be able to sort stuff out him or herself or at least make the effort. The smart worker should also know when to ask for help. The balance between doing it myself and getting the expert on the job, is a delicate one to navigate. In this particular instance all was well that ended well. I managed to get logged into the Town Hall with minutes to spare and in a mindset that was positive. It was a wonderful hour spent with the team thanks to the teamwork and support from team IT and Mr. Lifesaver.

However, it could have been a different outcome. If Mr. Lifesaver did not answer his phone. If I had to log in from my phone and not have my presentation handy. My presence and participation would have been so very different. It takes so little to disrupt a day and throw it off course. It is so easy to lose touch with what is going on and lose the connection with people. Everything else in my laptop was working but without that connection, nothing actually could work. That is the reminder my laptop gave me ahead of our “Town Hall”. I was shown the importance of staying connected and staying in touch. It is an everyday affair, and as my touchpad reminded me, the smallest thing can result in a disconnect. When that happens work fast to fix it. Knowing what is wrong is so important. If only fixing relationship disconnects was as easy as uninstalling and reinstalling a driver.

Stay in touch with your people, if you don’t, you may find your touch pad is not working when you need it most.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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