測量和管理

在強調使用數據在管理方面的重要性時後,有一句話經常會被引用,如果你無法測量,你將無法有效的管理。

有些人拿著這個念頭就聯想,只要有足夠的數據就可以解決問題。當收集與積累大量的數據以後,希望就可以找到關鍵的洞察力,而我們也能明確的知道在下一步該做什麼。

不過也許我們首先該作的是問一個這個問題,我們最終最希望看到什麼結果?以及我們需要在什麼樣的環境/現實中使用?

在確定所要的管理結果之後,我們再問需要的是什麼數據,以及收集數據的投資是否會超過了收益。

在測量之前,先問問適合的問題。所收集的數據將會更有意義。

Measurement and Management

“If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It” is frequently quoted when emphasizing the importance of managing with data, not just with intuition alone.

Some took the quote and ran with the metric gathering exercises. The data-gathering effort accumulates tons of data with a hope to find that key insight to show what the organization out to be doing next.

Perhaps the question to ask first is this. What outcomes do we all want to see and in what context/reality do we need to work with?

After determining the outcome/process to manage, ask the question of what data do we need and whether the investment of collecting the data might outstrip the benefit.

Ask the hard questions first. The resulting data collected will be a lot more meaningful.

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

Why I look forward to attending Fusion 12

I look forward to attending the upcoming Fusion 12 conference this October in Dallas. Can I say I really look forward to it? It is not because I am the track chair for “The Executive View” and will receive a free conference pass. I have paid for similar conferences and seminars out of my own pocket just because I liked the educational value from them. It is also not because I am married with two teenage children and the out-of-town conferences present perfect opportunities to get away. I often came back home from those conferences with a strong sense of guilt, knowing my wife would have loved to have the similar time-off. It certainly is not because the event will be held in the lovely city of Dallas. When I was in Dallas for the 2009 Fusion conference, we ran into major thunder storms for a couple of days. For someone who has lived in the sunny Southern California for the most part of his life, the thunder storms in Texas were big and scary. Even with the thunder storms, I still like the city of Dallas, just to make it clear.

So what gives? I look forward to attending Fusion 12 because…

First, I am very happy with the program line-up this year. The organizing committee received a record number of speaking proposals, and it took all track chairs significant effort to go through the selection process. They had to review all proposals and speak with many of the prospective speakers. The track chairs then needed to make the agonizing decisions of deciding whose proposal to accept into the program. We had to decline many excellent proposals due to the number of available speaking slots. Those were no easy decisions, but I feel the track chairs have put together a great line-up this year.

Second, I really like the sessions which are featured in “The Executive View” track. We will have accomplished professionals from a variety of companies and industries to come and share their knowledge. I was convinced from reviewing the proposals that they all have something unique to offer, and I believe the attendees of the track will find many actionable takeaways. Many speakers in the track are also non-recurring speakers from Fusion ‘11 or ’10, bringing with them new contents that have not been delivered elsewhere.

Finally, I look forward to the conference because I am proud of the work put forth by everyone on the organizing committee. I wanted to go the conference, so I can meet and thank everyone for their time and participation. Because of their effort, I can come to the conference knowing I am going to reap great value from this learning experience. I also want to let others know how rewarding it can be to take part in planning this awesome event. I hope to encourage some to consider taking part in the organizing committee for 2013. Diversity has been good to the planning and formation of the conference in the past. I think involvement from more people can only make the future conferences even better.