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"A Recipe for Success" - For IT Pros Newsletter -April 2015
April 2015

A Recipe for Success

My (Joe) father-in-law spent most of his adult life as a cardiologist. That's a highly specialized and highly technical area in the field of medicine that deals with the heart. Not every physician can claim to be a cardiologist. It requires rigorous training under the close supervision of an existing cardiologist. That period of training and supervision is called a fellowship.

Likewise, many building trades such as electricians, plumbers, and machinists undergo a period of training from someone with more experience. The Apprentice becomes a Journeyman, the Journeyman becomes a Master.

The world of IT leadership is not nearly as structured. Any individual contributor can be promoted into a leadership position. The company hopes that the new manager will share his technical expertise and acumen with his team.

The promotion comes with increased authority and responsibility. Unfortunately most often it comes without training or mentoring in his new role as leader.

That's a recipe for disaster.

What can you do if you're in that situation?

Seek out a mentor or coach to help you in your new role. A good mentor or coach can provide valuable insight and feedback as you grow in your leadership skills.

It's best to find someone within your organization. If that's not possible, look outside your organization. Learn from their mistakes, rather than stumbling around and making your own.
Seeking help and guidance from others who have walked the path before you, is a sign of wisdom and not of weakness.

So what are you waiting for? Start looking for a coach or mentor today.

Got a good story to share about help a mentor has helped you? Email me at
joe@fotitpros.com. 

Ask FITP

Question: 

I know as a new IT manager that it can be a mistake to just stick with the same ol’ routine established by my predecessor. But aren’t there times when it makes sense to stick with the status quo?

Answer: 

Absolutely! Sticking with the status quo can do good or harm depending on the wider organizational dynamics. If the organization is stable and functioning well, then sticking with the status quo can deny my team and my organization opportunities to do even better. It’s the old “nothing ventured, nothing gained” axiom.

In other words, if everything is going pretty well, doing the exact same things you or your organization has always done won’t improve outcomes. On the other hand, whenever organizations are going through periods of instability, uncertainty, or disruption, it can actually be a good idea not to introduce further disruptions especially in areas where the organization is currently doing well.

Let’s say your specific team is performing well in and of itself, but the wider company is having financial problems. Then now is not the time to experiment or introduce any costly, new processes or requests for an expenditure. In a situation like this, it’s best to make sure your team is meeting all of its goals and fulfilling all of the expectations of top management.

Once the dust settles, you can get back to tweaking activities of the team to improve team outcomes. Likewise, if your team is having a lot of communication problems with another team, say between a team of developers and a team of testers, now is not the time to embark on a process overhaul inside of the teams development work until those other problems are resolved. When things are dicey, it’s best to either weather the storm, for big issues, or focus on fixing the problem, for smaller issues.

Also remember that teams are only able to take on two to three new initiatives at a time. Even if things are going really well on your team and in the broader organization, it’s best to make sure one great new idea is fully implemented than to have lots of great ideas that never come to fruition.

Advice For New Technology Bloggers

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I travel and speak quite a lot. (Bizarre fact – I’ve been blogging since 2004 when blogging was a new thing)....

 Read more...

Leadership Tip of the Month

“My life - my personality, my habits, even my speech - is a combination of the books I choose to read, the people I choose to listen to, and the thoughts I choose to tolerate in my mind” 
~ Andy Andrews

Recommended Reading

In This Issue

  • A Recipe for Success
  • Ask FITP
  • Advice For New Technology Bloggers
  • Leadership Tip of the Month
  • Recommended Reading

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