Friday, March 10, 2006
The Five Mantras of my IT Department.
I presented this at my quarterly staff meeting yesterday. Generally my staff meetings are a fun two hours away from the office, a chance to take a break, blow some steam and come together a bit. This time I challenged myself to have some relevant material to present. The night before I pecked away for an hour or so, codifying five of the mantras that I use to guide my professional career. In totally raw fashion, here they are -
Proactively have an impact on every level.
Each level of our company, from the CEO to the gal answering the phone or the guy pushing the contracts, needs help whether they know it or not. Encourage an environment of unwillingness to accept the big and little hindrances in their world.
Particular attention should be paid to doing whatever we can to support our top sales reps, as well as the FSRs. We need to make sure that the clutter is out of the way so that they can concentrate on selling. This is the easiest way for LifePro and for you to make more money. In football terms, if you throw the brunt of yourself into blocking all the defenders out of the way then when you're laying flat on your back, even though you didn't see the touchdown, you'll know that the roar of the crowd is not just for the ballcarrier busting it into the endzone but for the whole effort it took to get him there.
This is harder than it sounds because often the rules we have - No you can't store that huge file, no you can't send that email until I proof it, no we can't just change the premium multiplier on that one case - are beneficial to everyone in the long run. It's a balance and we have to always move the pivot so that the user can come out on top without burying the other side. Have you ever seen a teeter totter in that smooth state where one person is higher than the other and is almost rising but not quite yet and for a moment it seems like the thing is defying the laws of physics? If you're really good at balancing, you can maintain that state - it's play, and it's actually a lot of fun. If you just can't do it, that's ok - get it back to balance or let the user rise. No bricks allowed on the rules side.
Be conscious of what we cost.
$300,000 is my estimate, based on salaries, expenses, rent for our space, etc. We have to create value above and beyond that figure. Learn what you do to create value and learn what you do that doesn't add any value. Then figure out what you can do to create even more value, and teach us how to compensate you when you do an extraordinary job at it.
Have fun in your world.
Other people do what you do and blog about it - read them, post comments, get involved in the community. If you're not passionate about what you're doing, find out why. Is it too monotonous? If so, is their a skill you can learn that would allow you to develop automations? Be careful with this. Not every part of your job is fun or can be made fun, and some of that unfun stuff is necessary. Keep track. Most executive types know that when you measure something it improves just because it's being measured, yet few apply this to what's really important - their quality of life. What percentage of your day are you having fun? Is it enough for you? If not, is their something you or anyone can do to change it, or do we need to explore other roles for you?
Want to make more money. Let us structure your pay plan so that you're properly incentivized such that your hard work will turn into $$$ in your pocket. I want to pay you more because it'll mean that LifePro is making more and that I'm making more. You should be making enough on incentive so that you don't accept slacking from yourself or anyone else in the company. It's easy to go to sleep when you're having a bad day or just don't feel like pushing. I want that to hurt you in the $$$ and you want that to hurt you in the $$$, bad enough that you don't let it happen.