Fresh Links Sundae – July 28, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28379626Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or whose ideas resonate with me. I hope you will find them at least thought-provoking or something of value.

We live in an environment where consumers can display their loyalty for a product or service by switching without much effort. Robert Plant uses a recent personal example to advocates why companies should not squander the hard earned customers by letting customers slip away due to service failures. We Appreciate Your Business. Please Stay on the Line. (Harvard Business Review)

Author Robert Fulghum has inspired us with his famous book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Julie Montgomery reminds us what general IT management lessons we also can take away from implementing ITSM. All I Really Need To Know I Learned From In My Service Management Office (Plexent Blog)

Most of us are familiar with the concept and principles behind Project Management Office. The Service Management Office or SMO concept is also getting attention in the ITSM world. Rob England discusses why he believes the SMO concept is a good idea and what are some potential deliverables from a SMO. The Service Management Office (The IT Skeptic)

There is a saying that we are our own worst enemy. Part of personal growth is to expose our own blind spots, so we can at least be aware of them and adjust our behaviors if needed. Bob Lewis outlines his WPAM (Ways People Annoy Me) personality indicators and what they can do for us. What Myers-Briggs is good for … and what it isn’t (IS Survivor Publishing)

A number of organizations have implemented service catalogs solely for the purpose of speedy provisioning of IT services and equipment; however, we must also pay attention to the IT backend process. Melanie Karunaratne reminds us why planning a Service Catalogue project require holistic thinking. Service Catalogues: Don’t Build a Vending Machine (LANDesk Blog)

According to a CEB research, network performance is a valuable behavior that CIOs should encourage in their teams. Andrew Horne explains what network performance is and approaches for improving employee’s network performance. Network Performance – The Most Important Behavior in IT? (CEB’s IT Blog)

The Fast Track blog recently posted an article about overcoming resistance to change. Jason Little added his practical suggestions on how to handle change resistance effectively. Practical Advice for Managing Change Resistance (Jason Little)

The recent financial crisis and the following sluggish economy may have left a less-than-favorable impression on large corporations and capitalism. Jim Taggart believes that responsible capitalism is still doable and explains how it can be achieved via the Triple Bottom Line principle. Are You Minding Yours Triple Es and Ps? (ChangingWinds)

Although resume is still an important vehicle for job search, social media also has given us additional opportunities to present ourselves. Mitch Joel challenges us to take the time to craft and share our perspectives and extend ourselves beyond a piece of paper. The New Resume (Six Pixels of Separation)

Many leaders practice openness and inclusiveness, but overdoing them can also create staff dependency. Marshall Goldsmith explains how leaders can improve their effectiveness by minimizing the dependency and letting go. Get-Out-of-My-Face Time (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – July 21, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image5686314Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or whose ideas resonate with me. I hope you will find them at least thought-provoking or something of value.

Many of today ultra-competitive businesses seem to be run by mercenary leaders, who focus almost exclusively on maximizing shareholder value, with people considered after the fact or not at all. Susan Cramm tells us what “Border Guard” leaders are and why we should have more of those leaders. Would You Want Your Child To Work For You? (Startegy+Business)

It is human nature to have some elements of pre-conceived notion and prejudice involved when we make decisions about people or situations. Jarod Greene advocates that we should always challenge our assumptions or preconceived notions when dealing with situations or when interacting with individuals. Hoodie IT (Gartner Group)

Technology advances are changing the operating nature and the role of many IT organizations. Julie Montgomery talks about four forces that are shaping IT and how we in IT interact with our constituents. 4 Ways IT Is Changing…For The Better (Plexent Blog)

Is IT something that can be fully managed from a box on the organizational chart without the help from the rest of the organization? Maybe not! Donald Marchand and Joe Peppard remind us that decisions about IT today actually have little to do with technology. IT Cannot Be Only the CIO’s Responsibility (Harvard Business Review)

During the requirement elicitation phase of a project, the participation of the stakeholders is crucial. What can a BA do when some of the needed stakeholders are not available? Adrian Reed suggests three things a BA can do while waiting for the stakeholders to become available. 3 Elicitation Techniques You Can Do Without Stakeholder Access (Bridging the Gap)

Effective leadership must be anchored and guided by a set of moral principles. Jim Taggart gives two examples of how leadership without a functioning moral compass can be wasteful or even destructive. Your Moral Compass: The Key to Leadership (ChangingWinds)

We sometimes encounter the difficulty of writing things down and expressing what’s on our mind. Mitch Joel suggests 5 tips for overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way. The End Of Writer’s Block (Six Pixels of Separation)

With changes and potential troubles lurking around every corner, Rosabeth Kanter explains how we deal with those uncertainties is what matters the most. Surprises Are the New Normal; Resilience Is the New Skill (Harvard Business Review)

As a coach, Marshall Goldsmith has learned to work only with dedicated leaders who are committed to improvement. He explains how he arrived at that conclusion. If They Don’t Care, Don’t Waste Your Time (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

At times, we work hard trying to convince the skeptics that our work has merit. Seth Godin believes that there is another way of using that time better and more productively. Proving the skeptics wrong (Seth’s Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – July 14, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28379626Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. They maybe ITSM related or not quite. Often they are from the people whose work resonates with me, and I hope you will find them at least thought-provoking or something of value.

Business can be dynamic, and it is not possible to define rules that will cover all situations. Robert Stroud tells us a story about striking a balance between following processes and keeping the business needs in mind. Ask For Permission First or Forgiveness Later? (CA Technologies)

Based on a recent survey, the current maturity levels of some critical ITSM processes continue to lag behind the others, even after two decades since ITIL was first published. Tim Sheedy believes that the trend is changing, and the emergence of business technology is going to benefit ITSM. Does ITSM Still Have Relevance In The Empowered BT Era? (Forrester Blogs)

Many organizations use new technologies to help drive changes or to move the business forward. Once the technologies become ingrained into the business, what do you do if your business needs to move in a new direction, but the technologies already invested will not support the new business model? Bob Lewis makes a suggestion on what to do in those situations. Technology. It drives everyone forward. While it holds everyone back. (IS Survivor Publishing)

Even though social media may appear to be something new or revolutionary, Rob England explains that being social is nothing new, perhaps how we conduct social activities differs. Similarly, the need for ITSM has always been around, but how we conduct ITSM before, now, and in the future might look different. Progress (The IT Skeptic)

A number of new businesses have sprung up from the opportunities created by technological innovation. Anna Farmery explains why curiosity can be a prerequisite for seeing and excelling with technological innovation. How Curious Brands Gain Through New Technology (The Engaging Brand)

Customer retention is a critically important for any business. Jeff Haden gives his perspective of how to assess a business’ effectiveness in retaining its customers. Best Way to Calculate Customer Retention Rate (Inc.com)

Leadership can have a productive or distracting influence on the team. Stephen Lahanas outlines his suggestions of the productive leadership qualities. The Top 10 Tips for Team Leadership (Technovation Talks)

Thought leadership may seem to be a straight-forward concept, but how does one practice and become a thought leader? Mitch Joel explains what makes a thought leader and how to become one. How To Become A Thought Leader (Six Pixels of Separation)

The behavior of obsessing over a particular goal sometimes can cause us to miss the larger picture or mission. Marshall Goldsmith explains what changes each of us can make in order to avoid being overly goal obsessive. Goal 1, Mission 0 (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Umair Haque does not believe that being an expert at winning the games is leadership. He outlines six qualities that real leaders should practice. How and Why to Be a Leader (Not a Wannabe) (Harvard Business Review)

Fresh Links Sundae – July 7, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image5686314Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. They maybe ITSM related or not quite. Often they are from the people whose work resonates with me, and I hope you will find them at least thought-provoking or something of value.

On his blog post a week ago, Bob Lewis advocates that many businesses can benefit from problem solving with an engineering mindset and approach. However, he also explains why the answer is not as simple as hiring more engineers. Ready to hire a refrigeration engineer as your next manager? Not so fast. (IS Survivor Publishing)

Performance and talent management practices are not what they used to be. Susan Cramm breaks down the employee’s social needs into five aspects and suggests what today’s progressive companies should do for their employees. Are You Leading Like It’s 1980? (Strategy+Business)

Drawing from a recent personal experience, Robert Stroud describes a failed service situation. He also explains why service management is more valuable than ever in this world where service automation is everywhere. “Your Call is Important to Us, but…..” (CA Technologies)

Mitch Joel believes that many marketers, who talk about the high potential of big data, actually have very little clues on what big data is or what it can do. He goes on to explain what big data can look like and should do. The Problem With Big Data (It’s Not Me, It’s You) (Six Pixels of Separation)

A number of ITSM initiatives implements processes and tools first and work on reporting only much later after-the-fact. Jon Hall explains why pushing reporting back is not a productive move and suggests ways to give reporting the deserved attention. Why does reporting get forgotten in ITSM projects? (Evolving ITSM)

In many IT organizations, it’s common to refer people outside of IT as “The Business.” Patrick Gray suggests that such us-vs.-them mindset is not productive for the organization. He also offers three approaches for working with colleagues from outside IT more effectively. Three tools for talking to ‘The Business’ (TechRepublic)

All of us have observed various leadership acts and behaviors from others. Jim Taggart talks about different types of leadership behaviors and what makes one leader more authentic than another. Are You an Authentic Leader? (ChangingWinds)

While measuring is necessary, Jeff Haden advocates that measuring what you need to measure and measuring it the right way is even more critical. Best Way to Measure Performance (Inc.com)

Sometimes successful leaders engage in unproductive behaviors because they confuse the “because of” and “in spite of” behaviors for their success. Marshall Goldsmith explains what changes a leader can make in order to avoid the “superstition trap.” Avoiding the Superstition Trap (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Personal branding has captured many people’s attention in our socially active and connected environment. While what people think of us does matter, Nilofer Merchant suggests that what matters even more is what we do and deliver. Your Brand Is the Exhaust Fume of the Engine of Your Life (Harvard Business Review)

When Hiring IT Talent, Consider GRIT Computing

One belief I have held about staffing is that the best employees are also motivated, progression-minded individuals. I recently read a paper “Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals” by Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., & Kelly, D.R. (2007). The paper also states that the grit quality entails working diligently toward challenges, maintaining effort and interests over time despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individuals are like the marathon runners, whose advantage is stamina. When obstacles set in and signal to others that it’s time to change path or cut losses, the gritty individuals usually stay the course.

In my experience, the best employees are not only gritty but also progression-oriented. They are diligent in doing the quality work and with the best results possible. They also have career goals such that they want to conclude their careers in a position that is higher or different than the one they began with. The paper also suggests that grit may be as essential as talent to high accomplishment in every field. I have also learned from my experience that those progressive and gritty individuals also exhibit the behaviors of being thorough, careful, reliable, organized, industrious, and self-controlled, the characteristics generally identified consistent with conscientiousness.

As a manager, how can you get some of these gritty individuals on your team and help them progress? Recruit the people not only with the skills but also with the gritty characteristics. Use behavioral interviews to uncover people’s experience where they showed their acts of dedication, passion, resilience, flexibility, commitment, and follow-through. After you get them on-board, help them get going with company specific know-how’s and tools to do their job. Get them aspired to perform and generate the necessary results by building the one-on-one relationships with them and delivering timely feedback. Furthermore, help them expand their capacity for excellence and for greater responsibility with on-going coaching and delegation. The good ones will leverage your support and their own initiative to manage their own careers.

Hiring well is hard work, but I cannot think of another managerial investment that yields a higher return than hiring and keeping capable employees around. In ITIL, people are considered as capability and as resources, and you need both elements to deliver values. That means you need not only capable people but also enough of them. When it comes to staffing, I especially like what Bob Lewis has written in his “Leading IT – Still the Toughest Job in the World” book. “Employees aren’t just collections of skills and abilities. They bring to their work motivation, loyalty, knowledge of the company, and most important of all the ability to drive success.”

Dedication: On this Fourth of July, I owe much of what I have today to those brave and “gritty” individuals who came before me in 1776.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org