“Oh man, that angry customer Stanley that I just spoke to is back on my line. Who wants to deal with this?”
“You should probably get a manager.”
“Yeah, I could hear that call, sounded brutal.”
Sound familiar to your shop or call center? It shouldn’t, it but probably does. The hot potato at your workplace could be a dissatisfied customer phone call or take other forms. It could be the task you don’t want to do (payroll timesheets), a vehicle that keeps coming back to the shop with an intermittent problem, a daunting project with an impending due date… the hot potato can take many forms. Regardless of what type of spud you’ve got, here are some things to think about:
- Hot potatoes aren’t a problem to eat, just to hold and handle. Just eat it.
- Our mouths can handle hotter temperatures than our hands. This is due to the increased moisture in our mouths and the ability to dissipate heat. The relevance is that it’s almost always easier to do the thing than we think it’s going to be. That bad news phone call you’re reluctant to make? It’s never as hard as we make it in our minds.
- Once you cut the potato open, the heat dissipates rapidly. Slice it open.
- Slice open a hot potato and watch the steam pour out of it. In less than a minute, the potato has blown off most of its steam and is significantly cooled off. Start the thing, let it vent off its initial heat and then dig in.
- Potatoes are easy to segment. Cut it up.
- Whether consuming the challenge at hand by yourself or with others, it’s often not critical to eat it all in one bite. Wedges, waffle cut, shoestring, or my favorite tots, all are more bite-sized than an entire baked potato.
- Add seasoning. Don’t sugarcoat but add value.
- I can’t think of a sugary potato treat and don’t care to introduce yams into this analogy, but one of the potato’s best features is its ability to be a blank canvas for other flavors. Perhaps there is a metaphorical pat of butter or Mrs. Dash seasoning to add to your hot potato.
- “If it kills you, you never have to eat it again.” Just eat it.
- I loathed this quote as a child and have learned to love it as a parent. The takeaway is, again, it’s not going to be as bad as you think and needs to happen, so just do it (using any and all of the above helpful tricks to make it easier and more palatable).
Catch, hold, and eat that hot potato, friends.