“Life is about risk. It’s important to take risks. Just don’t be reckless.” – Richard Holbrooke, HBO Documentary, The Diplomat
I grabbed this gem as my last four years in banking could easily be summarized by saying, “We didn’t take a lot of risks. In fact, they beat the risk out of us.” How do you run an innovative and agile organization without risk? Not easily.
Some organizations get this. Many do not. It’s an important to be risk adverse, but not risk intolerant. Just don’t be reckless.
“Technology is not a panacea for whatever ills. Technology is only an enabler and needs to support people, process, content and connectivity needs. Starting with technology has proven disastrous for many companies…” – Deloitte Development, Knowledge Management 2016
Is it possible for companies to have too much technology? Is the knee jerk reaction to behavior to deploy a technology versus a people solution? Take employee wasting time on social media. Line managers know it exists, but do they confront their people to set behaviorial expectations? Far easier to avoid those conversations and let IT handle. Technology is the enabler — for good and bad.
Although this quote was in the context of managing knowledge, it’s just as true for every aspect of the business of managing people. Start with people first.
“‘Reinventing the wheel’ sounds pretty benign but ‘failing to learn’ and ‘reinventing failure’ are actually what many organizations are facing today… especially troubling given the pace of change…” – Deloitte Development, LLC on Knowledge Managemennt 2016
What a great insight. So many companies who don’t have a knowledge management strategy with staffing turn. The fundamental problem of “teaching smart people to learn” and the invisible costs this comes with.
I am happy to announce I have accepted the position of Director, IT Infrastructure with Lanvera, Ltd. I am excited by this opportunity to work with leaders John Baldridge, President, Steve Taff, CIO, and Ronnie Howell, CTO, leading this organization to the next technology evolution.
Thank you to those close friends and colleagues that helped with leads and encouragement. I am honored and humbled to have an great collection of network of professionals.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison
“Thank you for being an agent of change. Continue to be a voice for ideas for empowering our department to the next level. We don’t always express appreciation for the people who care about us.” – A Manager in Accounting
Agent of change. What a great way to describe a person. Please read “5 Characteristics of a Change Agent”. This picture from the website describes it perfectly:
“Unless you are an OS vendor or tools company, If your business has to care about operating system end-of-life announcements, IT has failed. If your business has to care about audit/compliance exposure due to old operating systems, IT has failed. If, as a business what operating system you run is a point of contention, IT has abdicated its responsibility.” – From Can You DevOps from Windows, Steven Murawski (Blogger)
Heavy conversation this week around engineering technology infrastructure, cloud, DevOps, and why companies are struggling with this shift. This article popped into view and perfectly explains the problematic nature of IT at large organizations. Steven describes it as “The Passivity of Enterprise IT”, liking IT leadership as order takers and janitors of the software world.
DevOps core values are described by the acronym CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measurement, and Sharing. DFW hosts an DevOps user group and the re-occurring theme is not the A-M-S, although there are legacy challenges there too. In my experience, start with C, Culture.
What’s the point? This week’s quote is about IT’s real role: providing business value. Steven goes on to say, “IT is not just responsible for executing projects. IT is responsible for making sure the project will return business value. IT is responsible for making sure projects are done in a supportable manner.”
What’s your IT look like? Are you an order taker or doing what information technology’s real role is: provide business value. And please read Steve’s post. How Microsoft does DevOps will continue to garner large interest. How that’s done will get you a hundred different answers.
“Some animals were meant to carry each other, to live symbiotically for a lifetime – star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not those animals. The slower we move, the faster we die. We are not swans. We’re sharks.”
– Ryan Bingham, Up in the Air (2009)
I was sitting at a table with a collection of other IT professionals this past week at a local networking event, when the conversation turned to turning forty. And, while I expected the usual aches and pains conversation, the informal comments and questions were on assessing careers at that milestone. Are you making and meeting your goals? Are you staying engaged or keeping the status quo? Are you slowing down as time goes on or keeping pace with the competition?
This quote popped into my mind during the event. We are sharks. We stay engaged. We practice life long learning. We improve and grow. And we teach. Because we are sharks.
David Marcus: Lieutenant Saavik was right: You never have faced death.
Kirk: No. Not like this. I haven’t faced death. I’ve cheated death. I’ve tricked my way out of death and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing.
David Marcus: You knew enough to tell Saavik that how we face death is at least as important as how we face life.
Kirk: Just words.
David Marcus: But good words. That’s where ideas begin. Maybe you should listen to them.
– Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn (1982)
Reflecting on this week, I’ve been confronted with the word death more than a couple of times. My good friend and former colleague had a father pass away. Another colleague is leaving the city he grew up in and characterized his departure as “the death of this chapter, the birth of the next.” In my own life, I described divorce as a death. Especially one having spent fifteen years which produced two children. The longer the marriage, the longer the pain. Feels like death.
Losing a job which you loved is also a death. This is the third time I’ve unexpectedly lost a job due to economic realities, forced downsizing, or the company moving and not relocating it’s people. Putting your soul into your work means you leave a part of you behind. Building IT is like a birth. Leaving IT, to never see it again feels like a death.
So, this week’s quote is from Kirk’s son, David Marcus. Where Kirk is dealing with the death of his friend, Spock, and the advice given is my reminder of how we should go on: How we face death is as important as how we face life.
March 30th marked the end of my four year journey with Santander Consumer USA. Looking back, there were many challenges faced and difficult decisions made. Likewise, I’ve shared in the victories and enjoyed collaboration while influencing a challenging culture. Where we failed, we learned. Where we succeeded, we shared with all. And each time, my team was there and did their job.
I wish I could say it was all me, but it wasn’t. I had great leader who took time to mentor and coach. I had a peer that was both grounding and supportive. And I had a group of guys who cared as much as I did. Each time, we grew as a team, focused and determined to deliver amazing service.
To my former team and SC colleagues, let me leave you with these words by Ed Marx, “Insignificance is not my calling. Nor is it yours.” Do not coast, do embrace challengers, give credit to the team, build villages, not castles, love when you want to hate, people first, and serve, not be served.