As I’ve changed positions twice in the past five years, I’ve had to adjust my model slightly to suit each of the companies and their needs. The good news is I’ve been in IT Service Management for the past 15 years, with a heavy focus on process engineering. More recently, especially in the last five years, it’s been about people empowerment. I’ve changed my approach to be around helping leaders identify their own strengths and those of others around them, to leverage them in the appropriate roles for those teams. Fixating on just building processes alone will not get you to the end game, nor will the very best tools for instrumentation of better workflows and automation. The real key is people, and having highly engaged associates that feel valued and can connect the dots. Whether it’s insurance, financial services or healthcare, regardless of the industry, nothing matters more than associates feeling that what they do matters, and that they have a sense of “purpose” each and every day.
Quality. If the speed of movement is too fast, there may inevitably be a lessened focus on quality. Producing more and quicker of a bad product will not yield good results. However, with that said, adopting a good process for identifying quality issues and addressing them in tandem with the accelerated growth is key.
"Approach for Helping Leaders Identify Their Strengths"
The Biggest Enabler
By maintaining a laser focus on what matters the most, and staying steadfast in prioritizing that. For best results, I look to planning in 3 year increments, to start. Then I take it down a notch to the annual goals, outlining a real “roadmap” to share with the entire organization. From that roadmap, we have target dates and we map specific goals as well as business drivers/ changes on it, so we can get a bird’s eye view of all that matters. Each quarter, we meet as a complete organization and we review our accomplishments from the prior quarter, and the top priorities/ goals for the current quarter. We keep moving the needle little by little, but we celebrate the success at every possible junction. In my opinion, the biggest enabler is momentum. There is no problem that momentum can’t solve. So getting momentum and maintaining it is absolutely a factor in overcoming obstacles. Getting the team charged enough to want to make specific deadlines because they want the “big win” is also key. As a leader, when you make your goals align with the organization’s overall strategy, and your people can connect the dots on how what they do matters and achieves those goals, then you’ll go further into making your goals theirs, seamlessly.
Skills that Drive to Success
• A thirst for learning.
• A high emotional IQ (aka “EQ”).
• A flexible attitude towards change.
These three ingredients are a must. Although these may not be traditionally seen as skills, they are traits that make for a successful leadership style that helps navigate the never-ending and treacherous landscape of technology evolution. Leaders that bury their head in the sand, obsessed with some tools or processes that they have grown familiar with but that haven’t evolved with the times will suffer down the line as their relevance becomes more and more obsolete with time. As such, being in a constant “learning mode” is very important for leaders and their teams. Realizing that much of your success as a leader comes from leveraging the strengths of the individuals in the team, and embracing the diversity is a smart way to evolve. Many don’t place a high value on leadership emotional IQ (EQ) versus experience, but when it comes down to it, leadership is influencing others to do what you want, but because they believe in it themselves. Sensitivity and good listening is a huge part of that, and often overlooked. You can’t truly get the most out of your team members until they feel you care about them, individually. You really do have to touch their hearts first before expecting them to trust and follow you, and this oftentimes means that they have to see you as vulnerable and real. Finally, maintaining a flexible stance towards others’ ideas, and keeping an open mind to things that at face value go against your grain can go a long way. The tolerance for creative solutions that go outside your norm is oftentimes the differentiator between stagnating teams and progressive teams. Encouraging others to take risk and doing what “scares you” can be unnerving, and it’s true, most people don’t like or want change, until they see what’s in it for them, and they understand the why of the change. I’ve always realized that I can’t be the smartest person on the team, and if I am, I need to be on another team so I can learn and evolve myself. Having different strengths and talents from others on the team is different, and leveraging each other is truly Nirvana.
The Future Technology
Simplicity of access to information, at the consumer level as well as the corporation level. It wasn’t too long ago that information had to be accessed in very unique ways, specific to the industries; example, bank statements had to come through the mail, healthcare records had to be faxed or printed out for the patient, and even map directions required a combination of web searching, printing and interpreting while on the road. There is now an onslaught of “smart” devices, from what fits in the palm of your hand (phones), to on your wrist (fit bits, apple watches), to what fits around an asset (car, home, etc.). You can in the matter of minutes get your weather, itinerary, restaurant reservations, movie rental, current pulse/activity level, bank balance, and flight ticket all with minimal effort. Ensuring that this information is secure is the challenge, but I’ve always looked at the glass as half full and not half empty; we all as consumers and providers have to apply a high level of due diligence towards securing data in its ever-changing formats, however that doesn’t eradicate the immense benefits we’ve seen and will see in the future. I look forward to all the “smart” ways to live better, healthier and worry free. Can’t wait for that Smart Car!