As a child I loved tossing rocks into the water. I would throw rocks into ponds, creating ripples that spread to all parts of the pond. I would drop big rocks into streams, creating pockets of calm or funnels of commotion.
Always wondering “what-if?”
I still throw rocks into pondsOf course now sometimes the ponds throw back! , but the ponds are now organizations and the rocks are changes I make, always trying for something better.
Sometimes the ripples still reach the edge of the pond - and that fills me with the same childhood glee.
And that glee keeps me constantly learning and exploring new solutions. Each thing I learn goes into the mental toolbox for later use.
My take on business
Most of the business problems we face come from two main places, stock market investors and relying on our old mental toolboxes to run business.
Stock market investing drives companies to always show increasing revenue and profit at the cost of things that cannot be adequately measured on a prospectus. The focus on longer term growth, or providing employment as a benefit to society is not a consideration in most cases. The stock market itself is a needed investment platform but like any other tool it reflects the desires of its community, in this case the underlying instant gratification of our culture.
“Heavy pressure comes from Wall Street for short-term, quarter-by-quarter gains. These gains ignore variation, and each quarter they must go up. So managers rely on creative accounting, mergers, acquisitions, tax schemes, foreign currency swaps, and all sorts of finagling to boost the short-term profit. This disease, unchecked, we’ll ruin our economy”.
As leaders in our organizations there are always things we cannot change. Budget constraints or tightening employee benefits may be stock market driven, but there are many areas under our influence that we can make a huge difference in. It is our obligation to those under our care to do everything we can to improve their conditions. I firmly believe that if you take care of your people, they will take care of the business. If you put them first, they will put the customer first.
Most companies still try to apply structures that consider people to be a resource… something to be used up, something that is interchangeable. A s an industry we need to learn to think differently and carve out a safe place within corporations and their rules where we can do some serious good.
What do I know
I’ve worked across the spectrum of IT jobs, studied different methodologies like Scrum, Waterfall, Lean, Six Sigma, etc. They are not all about development, but each brings some aspect that can be used to make a better existence for your development department. Over thirty years I have grown through the ranks from a working in a college computer lab to my current Senior Director of IT role for a fortune 100 company (currently #66).
I’ve been the worker and I have been the manager, and for the past ten years a leader - and I have a love of trying to make things better each day.
Please send me your views, criticism, or general comments. There is great value in well considered feedback and I will gratefully accept that gift - and through that dialog we can learn from each other.
Professional credentials are accessible on LinkedIn.