So between my RSS feeds and Pocket, I stumbled across a very cool, simple to use and great looking WordPress Blogging application called PixelPumper. Amazingly enough, it’s free and available on the Apple App Store.
This morning I was reading up on Marine Corps Sergeant Dakota Meyer’s bravery in being presented America’s highest military award The Medal of Honor. It got me thinking about the word “Service” It is embedded as part of our Industry of IT Service Management. There are Service Catalogues, Service Delivery, Service Strategy, Service Design and on, and on, and on. I realized that it is a word that we have completely over used to the point of it losing its core meaning.
In the fall of 1985 I first learned a defininition of the word “Service” in relation to what it means to be a United States Marine like Sergeant Meyer. Above all else is a Service to God, Country and Corps, in that order. Everything else falls behind it. It was a definition that meant something. Something worth fighting for. I would now of course, add Family next in line, but at 17, it was simple enough as a foundation to believe, fight and if needed die for.
Of course this is extreme, but in comparison to the liberal use of the word “Service” in our industry, it highlights the need to take a step back, define and reaffirm our committment to it. I took a little time today to do just that and I realized that I fight daily in the name of Service. What I didn’t realize is that I fight on as many fronts as I do to defind what I find important. I hear those in IT profess to understand what they do. In reality, I see many more who have lost sight of why they do it.
It is the why which defines my interpretation of Service and that which has put me in the bad graces of some for my stubborn attitude when it comes to doing things right. A manager I once had, broke it down to me in the most simplistic manner. He said:
“As long as you do what you feel is the right thing to do in the deepest depths of your being, you have something to defend and no one can question your justification for doing the right thing. It may not be right, but more often than not it will be, either way no one will question your motives and that you will be able to live with.”
Despite the individuals I have pissed off in my career, there have always been those above me who appreciate my passion for doing things the right way. For not avoiding the hard work. For not shying away from questioning leadership in defense of what I belive in, and giving 100% when those questions have been answered clearly.
What I have found, sadly enough is that for many, more time is spent looking for short cuts and quick fixes instead of “Putting in work.” As with anything else, you are only giving anyone a half-assed solution. If you have a clarity of purpose and a true understanding of the many types of Service you are accountable for, both personally as well as professionally, you can move ahead with a sense of purpose, pride and confidence well positioned to defend any who are looking for the short cuts and easy answers.
So to level set; in a general sense, everything and everyone that touches your life depends on you for some sort of Service delivery. Whether it is your kids, spouse, pets, familiy members or your business cutomers or peers in all of the technology towers you interact with. They all want a piece of what it is you have to offer. That is your Service. That is the responsiiblity that you have to deliver on.
More importantly it is your committment to all of those services which will make you successsful. It takes work and can be overwhelming at times, but understanding your role, what you have to offer with a sense of knowledge and awareness will guide you through making the right decisions, putting in the work necessary and staying focused on what is right, instead of looking for what is easy.
What are the Services you provide in all directions? Are you aware of them all? Do you have a sense of committment to each of them with a passion or are you just running on a treadmil for the paycheck? If not, then you need a gut-check.
Thank you Sergeant Dakota Meyer for winning the Medal of Honor and forcing me back to my basic understanding of Service.
Sgt., Rik Jones USMC (1985 ~ 1993)
- Don’t Abuse Delegation
- Support and Protect
- Understand the Consequences
- Listen and Learn
- Champion Champions
- Be Firm But Fair
- P.O.T.S. (Part Of The Solution)
- Teach and not lecture
- Never forget… Its NOT all about you!
A Scheduled Change is only a scheduled change if people know about it beforehand!
My experience in IT Service Management has been with large, global organizations either driven by fast moving global markets or supporting highly complex infrastructure and application sets. It is easy in these types of environments to forget the main purpose of technology support. When things break, it is usually all-hands on deck. Needless to say, it is a highly reactive environment. These types of environments suck technologist in to becoming focused solely on the technology rather than the reason for being.In 2003, I was asked to move back into my old support team to head up the group as my old Manager had decided to resign. During my absence the team had grown substantially and morale was less than desirable. The business was growing, as was the demands placed on the team. Having cut my teeth in this environment I was very familiar with the pressures of ensuring that the business was executing on all cylinders, with as much up-time as possible 24×7. This had, and was once again, taking its toll on even the senior support analysts on the team. One of the first things I did when returning to the team was to have one-on-one sessions with each and every one of the 20 team members to determine not just what they were working on, but more importantly where their heads were at. This was something that seemed the logical thing to do as a mid-level manager of a support team, which I likened to managing troops under my charge during my 8 years in the Marine Corps. I began every session with one simple question which guided the discussion from that point forward. It may seem like a strange question, but one vital to ask anyone in a support role:
Why are you here?
Profound in its simplicity, I was set back by the general response across the team. Most of the responses began with”I support X application,” “I perform monitoring on X systems” or “I respond to user calls about broken hardware.” In every case, in my mind these were all wrong answers. Of course these are the functions they perform while on the clock, but as to why they were there, I wanted to hear things like “To make sure the users can do their jobs,” “Make sure we can deliver to clients,” anything of that vein would have been more than welcome, but it was not what I was hearing. I asked myself why these individuals had lost touch with the basic business deliverable of not only IT, but that of the company as a whole.To me this is often an oversight of Management lost in administrative responsibilities more driven towards demonstrating delivery to leadership instead of establishing a culture of understanding as to an individuals up-stream contribution to the business strategy and bottom-line. Without that perception of self-worth any individual will quickly loose sight. As a result, you will not get the level of individual performance by a person in technology who is clear on their purpose and contribution to the corporate mission. Take someone in Sales for example, they are very clear on their goals, deliverables, contributions and value to the business. Their approach every day is to bring in new business to raise the bottom line as well as gain a commission, if that is the value structure in place. In technology, this front-line value structure doesn’t always exist to drive awareness of their contribution. For this reason, it is vital that managers keep as part of their responsibility matrix, the importance of communicating the team’s contribution to the overall business delivery model to its clients and how that helps the business be more successful in relation to other competitors. Reach out to the business and try to get your hands on the annual report information. That information is not only critical for you to understand, but ot use as a motivational tool to get everyone aligned with the business drivers. We used to love hearing this type of information and where our company sat in the market against our competitors. It became a subconscious driver to feel like we were truly part of the team. Not the IT team, but the corporate team, as a result we pushed that much harder to give the business the tools it needed to help the company compete with its competitors. As managers, it is easy to get wrapped up in the metrics and numbers in delivering technology. Just never lose sight on the PEOPLE who deliver that technology and helping them feel as a vital part of the business, not just a tool used by the business.
One the biggest problems with shooting pictures or video has to do with movement. Whether you shoot with a large SLR camera or a mobile phone, the problem is the same. Without becoming one with the earth, your shots will always have some impact by movement however slight it may be. So why the zen reference with becoming one with the earth? Simple, the earth is the most stable thing around you. Building foundations rest on it, chairs sit on it, cars drive on it and for the most part anything touching it is as stable as you can possibly get. So when possible, stop thinking that your hands and legs can hold your camera still enough to get a good shot. [read more...]
So where once I had a single blog, I have blown it apart and sent various posts to the wind. Now, I have about three different homes for the various posts I have strewn about. Posterous has become the new home for surching4me. What once originated as a blog in 2003 called Musashi2000 has evolved to become a very expeditious means of getting what is on my mind out. This is my “Personal” space. Nothing to do with my work professionally or my hobby personally. This is a little bit about everything that doesn’t fit into any of my other adventures. To date, I am well past the 450 post mark and that is saying a lot. Here’s to hoping I can lay out another 450 posts here at Posterous.