Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Most Destructive Force in the IT Operations World

What's more important:  Your job and income, or your personal right to get what you want?  Back up a second.  Do you even have a right to get what you want?  I'm talking about within the employer/employee relationship realm of course.  Legally speaking however, even in your personal life, you have no such guarantee of that "right" whatsoever.  You barely have a right to "pursue happiness", but even that has conditions taped all over it.  But, back to the question at-hand...

Which is more important:  The success of your employer, or your job?

If you said your job is more important, than you are like most Americans after a few beers or Xanax pills.  When they open up and give up on resisting their honest opinions.

This is aimed squarely at you folks who work in IT shops which are part of larger companies and organizations.  Big enough to have a "CIO" or maybe even a "CTO".

Based on discussions, emails, and social media indications, all anecdotal of course, but tempered with 30-plus years of working in the IT world (I'm allowed to add some seasoning to this meal), here's 5 examples of what most IT professionals seem feel about their jobs:


  1. They don't feel their opinions are given much value.
  2. They don't have confidence in their upper management as it pertains to decisions revolving around technology.
  3. They feel too much focus is on a dollar, rather than a solution, and that in most cases, the proper solution would yield more profit.
  4. They feel upper management is too easily swayed by articles and vendor marketing pressure.
  5. They don't feel that their skills are being used properly or effectively.


Adding to item 3 above:  If your business doesn't match every cost-cutting move with a revenue-generating move at the SAME time, the business is doomed. You can only control revenue bleeding for so long, but unless you start work immediately on the healing part, the patient is going to die.

It seems that in the great American race to satisfy shareholders, win awards for revenue goals, and securing that big contract announcement, we lost sight of the really cool part of American business:  Innovation.  I'm not talking about tweaking and optimizing.  ANYONE can do that.  Innovation however is different.  In 2014 when it comes to setting our sights on innovation, we might as well be Stevie Wonder in a dark forest with an unloaded gun.

In fact, we're not even sitting on the right mountain anymore.  We sold that off to foreign interests.  America has ripened like a fat grape, and how we practically begging the rest of the world to come and pick away.  $5.99 a pound.  America, it seems, has outdone itself in the area of empowering every individual with the unwavering belief that they themselves are most important, and all other things are less important.

But getting back to the soul of this rant:  what is the "most destructive force" in the IT operational world?

Ego.

If you can't put ego aside to focus on the good of your business, well, you're fucked.  Sorry if my language offends, but that's the honest truth.

Some exercises that may help mitigate the effects of ego on your business:  Line your staff up and have them repeat the following phrases aloud:

1. I am not a master of anything, but I'm trying my best every day.
2. I will put aside my personal emotions to do my job the best that I can.
3. I will research everything before claiming I have the best answer to a problem.
4. I will listen to all inputs before making a decision.
5. I am not indispensable.  Graveyards are filled with indispensable people.

If you can't manage to get your team to buy into this, then try it yourself.

And then, ask yourself this:  Am I doing this task right now for the sake of being truly innovative, or to meet some deadline or cost-control initiative?


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