Thursday, March 14, 2013
The WHATs and HOWs Of A Great IT Service Management Leader?
There are two types of leaders:
1. The Designated Leader - who has been appointed or promoted into the position.
2. The Self-Empowered Leader - who is not in a position of authority the same as A “Designated Leader”, but who demonstrates many of the qualities of a good leader.
I’ve talked about Self-Empowered Leaders in an earlier post. And if you’ve been following what I’ve said and written over the past couple of years you’ll know that the concept of “Self-Empowerment” is close to my heart.
Today, however, I want to focus on Designated Leaders. Designated Leaders in IT Service Management will usually have a title such as CIO or Director. They may even be the head of a more discrete team or project.
No matter what their title, this is WHAT we need from our Designated Leaders:
- Understanding of the greater goals of the organization, division or department. These “greater goals” are those which this Leader’s team have to support.
- Definition of relevant goals for their team. Whether it’s the whole of IT or a discrete team within IT - the Leader’s team needs to have their own objectives.
- A focus on the future - what it looks like and how we get there.
- Definition of the strategies and approaches to be adopted to achieve goals.
- Ability to clearly explain goals & strategies. Not just what they are, but why they’re important.
- Continual re-explanation and reinforcement of goals & strategies on a frequent basis.
- Provision of capabilities (resources) to the team. This includes funding, tools, knowledge & skills and time.
And these are the traits we need to observe in HOW our Designated Leaders go about their business:
- Honesty - telling the truth and not sugar-coating bad news.
- Integrity - walking the talk.
- Reliability - being available when needed, and providing consistent direction.
- Being true to their values and always doing the right thing.
- Showing a positive, confident and optimistic attitude.
- Determined and persistent - sticking to the task when the going gets tough.
- Inspiring and empowering others to act.
If the Leader can deliver on all of the above then they’ll generate trust, confidence and the respect of all they interact with - not only subordinates but also peers and higher-ups.
At Pink we’re considering how we can recognize the great leaders in our industry (watch out for more on this very soon). One thing’s for sure - anyone gaining recognition as a great ITSM leader has to have a profile that covers most of the WHATs and HOWs I’ve just outlined.
Friday, March 01, 2013
Most Frequent Searches On This Blog
Every now and again I peek behind the curtain to see what people are looking for when they come to this blog. I thought you might be interested to see a handful of the most recent:
ITIL COST REDUCTION
HOW TO MEASURE ITIL PROCESS COMPLIANCE INCIDENT
ITIL V3 PROCESSES FRAMEWORK
FREE ITIL RESOURCES
ITIL EN TOYOTA EXAMPLE PROJECT
I DON’T ALWAYS TEST MY CODE BUT WHEN I DO I DO IT IN PRODUCTION
Friday, February 22, 2013
Just Back From Pink13? Now What?
Whether you just got back from Las Vegas, or whether you participated vicariously thanks to social media - here’s the key “now what?” question you should be challenging yourself with .....
The big message that kept coming across was “It’s all about People”.
Tools and Processes and Strategy ....
.... and Frameworks and Business Goals and Metrics ....
.... and Security and IT Governance and Social Media and Big Data ....
.... and Metrics and Innovation and BYOD and The Future and ... and ... and ....
.... all need some of your attention and understanding. But managing relationships, understanding team culture, setting expectations, motivating, empowering, involving and informing each other - that’s what needs the most of your attention.
So what are you going to do about that? What ideas and intentions do you have to work on the People aspects of ITSM?
The “experts” told you this is the most important criterion - so what are you going to do about it? Specifically, what????
So what are you going to do with the knowledge you got from Pink13 earlier this week?
Hopefully you set out for Pink13 with the intention to learn some new ideas, bring them back to work and apply them - right? (Oh I so hope that was why you went!)
So I say again ....
.... What are you going to do with the knowledge you got from Pink13 earlier this week?
Please let us know we’re going to all this trouble for a good reason.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
What’s The First “Thing” You Have To Get Right In ITSM?
We talk a lot about “business/IT alignment” (or “business/IT integration” - whatever!) The reason for this is because it makes sense to assure ourselves that ITSM practices are relevant and valued.
As a starting point I’d like to suggest a little thinking exercise (it’s a good idea to stop and think from time to time, right?) So think on this, and answer this question ....... what is the first “thing"ITSM must achieve in your business? I’ve listed 10 possible answers below. Can you chose THE most important objective for YOUR organization? Maybe it isn’t even in my list!
1. Is it to resolve incidents and problems quickly?
2. Is it to expedite changes quickly, with a high success rate?
3. Is it to keep the lights on with a high % of availability?
4. Is it to reduce the overall number of outages (reliability)?
5. Is it to be available to support customers at times when they need assistance?
6. Is it to directly help the business generate more revenues?
7. Is it to reduce costs?
8. Is it to secure data?
9. Is it to increase efficiency and productivity out in the business?
10. Is it to help the business grow?
I can imagine you’re thinking “Yes - it’s all of those things!” But which is the most important? Is it possible to identify what’s most important? Is it even helpful to do so?
I think it is, because no matter how well you do SOME things, there’s often an initial objective that must be met before all others become relevant.
I’ll tell you why I’ve been pondering this. Elsewhere I’ve been asking myself the same question - to see if, as a customer, I can identify what’s most important to me when choosing (and paying for) a service provider. This was all prompted by a book I read just last week written by Christopher Hitchens called “Mortality”. It was his last book. In it he described the healthcare he was receiving after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. You may say that the most important criterion would be something like: being treated by the best doctors; or being provided a choice of treatment options; or having access to the most effective treatments; or the most affordable treatment; or a treatment regimen that doesn’t impinge too much on your quality of your life; etc. For me, in that situation, it would be have to be speed of access to services. The reason for this is because it doesn’t matter how good, or how cheap or how affective the treatments may be - if there’s too long of a delay in seeing someone to get started ....... well, you know ......!
Here’s a few more examples:
Choosing A Restaurant.
There’s lots of criteria to assess, but for me the #1 is whether I feel safe eating there. Is it clean and no risk to my health? If I look through the window and don’t get a good feeling for how clean the place is, then I don’t care about the plaudits, or the quality of food, or the value for money, or the ambiance, etc.
Choosing An Airline
Usually the in-flight announcements say “Safety is our #1 priority ...” and I’m always glad to hear that. But to be honest, I assume that most airlines operate to similar safety standards, so the #1 selection criterion for me is “Do they fly to the place I want to go on the day and time I want to travel”. Some people might make the cost of the ticket the #1 priority, and I can understand that, but often there’s not a lot of difference in fares because it’s so competitive. So I gravitate to the schedule when making my decision. Sure, I compare one airline against another in areas of seat comfort, food & beverage service (or lack thereof!), customer service, rewards program, etc. But whoever goes to my destination on days & times closest to what I need usually gets my business.
Choosing A Supermarket
Being just around the corner is not good enough. Advertising the lowest prices isn’t that big a deal either. What does attract my scrutiny is the quality of the non-brand name produce and how well it’s prepared, packaged and presented. The store has to have stuff that looks appealing (and safe!) to me. I react positively to fresh, healthy food presented in an attractive way. I’ll even pay a little extra for that.
So, what do you think the first “thing” is you have to get right in ITSM?
Leadership • Practices • Rants • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Interesting Feedback From Customers This Week
Still at the Winter Education Symposium in Orlando!
Here’s some random facts and opinions I’ve been hearing these past couple of days:
- Four people this morning in the SOA class said they were very unhappy with the performance of their ITSM tool in how it supports/enable the Service Catalog.
- Instructor-Led-Online courses are generating a lot of interest. People are attracted to the idea of not having to leave home to get the training they need. Although everyone agrees coming to a physical classroom is the ideal solution.
- Six out of six people I talked with over lunch said they had come to Orlando with their families. They either spent a few days in advance of their ITIL Intermediate class visiting the Theme Parks, or they were doing so this coming weekend (after they get the exam out of the way tomorrow afternoon!)
- We’re all impressed with how Disney manages changes in their Theme Parks (“Pardon Our Dust”), but their IT systems seem to be having a bad week this week. There’s been many reports of room keys not working in the hotels, and the front desk not being able to re-program new keys.
And there was time for a little diversion this morning. Sitting in the SOA I was “tackled” at the mid-morning break by a couple of participants who wanted to know what I could do to help liven things up. Until now Rich Petti had set a very high standard over the first 2 days keeping everyone engaged and entertained, but for the first hour this morning the material was quite dry and there was a general feeling of “hump day” affecting the mood. I must admit I wasn’t quite on the same page but I thought I’d play along anyway. So a few minutes later, as Rich was introducing the subject of SLM, I challenged him and said “So, that slide you have there says the Service Catalog is a database or a structured document ........ so which is it? A database or a document?”
Rich paused for a second, a little startled that his fellow-Pinker was apparently about to get difficult. But in truth, he hardly broke his stride. “It can be a database OR a document”.
Then someone else chimed in “But the next bullet says you should publish the Service Catalog. How can you publish a database?” Rich paused for another second and then came right back and said “Well, you can electronically publish, so your service portal might contain Service Catalog information that it pulls from the database ....”
I looked at my two “trouble-maker” compatriots and I could see we were all thinking “He’s good, we can’t fluster him”. So I decided to try and keep the disruption going by picking on the instigator. I turned to Jeff (our playful customer) and feigning annoyance said “Are you trying to cause trouble or something?” Jeff continued playing along and started to argue back at me “He thinks he knows everything (gesturing to Rich) ....”
Well, at his point Rich suddenly paused for just a bit longer. Now we had him. He didn’t know what was going on. “What’s happening here? A minute ago you were arguing with me, now you’re arguing between yourselves”.
We all just laughed out loud. Service Level Management with a smile!
Certification • Events • Practices • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
My 1, 2, 3 of ITSM: Or, What Is IT Service Management REALLY All About?
It seems to be something about human nature that we’re always seeking quick and easy solutions to our problems. We prefer not to admit that some challenges are complex and need a lot of consideration. Instead we get sucked into the idea that there must be a simple “flick of a switch” solution. The so-called “Magic Bullet”.
The world of IT Service Management is no different. Sourcing an eclectic mix of infrastructure and applications and managing it all with close to 100% availability and reliability. Oh - and do it for less than what it cost last year!
That’s a complex challenge, right?
No - it’ll be quick and easy if we just buy this state-of-the-art ITSM tool; or if we implement a best practice process framework (such as ITIL). Better still - buy one of those tools that come with ITIL out-of-the-box. (“I’ll have that big tool over there, and a pound of ITIL please!”) Problem solved!
Those Magic Bullets never work. What does work is the hard graft of making sure those working in ITSM know:
- What the business needs from IT; so we know what’s important, and what isn’t.
- Which IT objectives and priorities truly enable the business; so we know what activities we should be focused on.
- The ITSM metrics that really help; so we know when we’re on track.
- What everyone’s responsibilities are; so we know how we can work together effectively.
- How to deal with out of order situations; so we can keep things going when we’re under stress.
- The policies and procedures that govern our decisions; so we can apply them, or not, with confidence.
Notice everything I’ve just said is not dependent solely on which tool we use. Tools help with productivity and consistency, but they don’t always drive the right thinking or the right behaviour. Same goes for Processes. A well documented process will guide us to be efficient and consistent, but doesn’t help much when it comes to understanding WHY we need to do something. This is where good communication and thinking skills come in.
The most valuable variable in any ITSM organization is the quality of the People. Enabling people is more about giving them intangibles like knowledge, time and support than fancy tools & techniques.
I remember a survey of business managers a few years ago asked the question “When your staff under-perform, what are the reasons?”
The answers were not “They don’t have the right Tools” or “They’re working with no Processes”. The actual answers were startling:
- They don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing.
- They don’t know why they should be doing it.
- They don’t know how to do it.
- They don’t know when they’re doing it wrong.
- They work on the wrong things.
Seems like there’s a bigger management and leadership problem than a staff problem.
IT Service Management, like many other business functions, is all about leading and managing people. That is, providing an understanding of the purpose of ITSM and truly enabling people to be successful.
Sure, Tools and Processes have important roles to play, especially today when we’re trying to be so super-productive and avoid repeating errors. But it’s the People on your team who do the day-to-day thinking, make the decisions, produce the plans, prioritize activities, deal with out-of-order situations and ultimately deliver worthwhile outcomes. So, if you’re an IT leader, you need to enable them with knowledge, time and your support as well as tools and instructions.
By the way, I regularly see references to the “PPT of ITSM”, where PPT = People, Processes & Tools. My version looks like this:
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Thursday, November 22, 2012
Talking About The Past, Present & Future Of Pink & ITSM
I was recently contacted by Oleg Skrynnik of Cleverics - an ITSM services organization based in Moscow, Russia. Oleg wanted to pick my brain about Pink Elephant and the future of ITSM for his blog. The interview was later published on the itSMF Russia website.
We talked a little about my background before Pink, how Pink got started and then the really interesting stuff - what’s happening in ITSM today and what we can expect in the future. Here is an English translation of the transcript.
OLEG: David, first of all I would like to thank you for this wonderful opportunity and for your time. I guess you are quite busy with all the great things you are doing with your fellow colleagues at Pink Elephant, such as annual Pink Conference. Let’s begin from the beginning. What’s your ITSM story? How did you end up being President of World’s leading organization for ITIL and IT Service Management?
David: I began working as an IT practitioner in the UK in 1976, and in 1986 I left my position as “IT Manager”.
So as many good consultants you’ve started in IT, from the ground?
Yes – I worked for 6 years in IT operations, then another 6 years as IT Manager. In the manufacturing industry. Then I joined a consulting firm which was co-owned by a gentleman called Malcolm Fry. Malcolm became my mentor and taught me a lot of what I needed to know to be a trainer & public speaker.In 1991 I moved to Toronto, Canada and started my own education & consulting business with my wife, Fatima Cabral. That company was later bought by a Dutch company called Pink Elephant, which had been founded in the Netherlands in 1980. Pink Elephant was then itself bought by another big Dutch IT services company, Getronics. However, in 1999 Fatima and myself made an offer to Getronics to buy the Pink Elephant brand world-wide and we moved the HQ back to Toronto. So we’ve been operating here in Southern Ontario and serving customers across Canada, the USA and elsewhere in the world for over 20 years now. That’s the short version!
What is Pink Elephant today? In which countries are you present?
Pink operates in about a dozen countries around the world, and with a small group of partners in about half a dozen other countries. You can find “Pinkers” (Pink Elephant employees) in Canada, USA, Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, Brazil, UK, Netherlands, South Africa, Singapore & Malaysia.
How many employees are working for Pink?
There must be around 200 Pinkers by now!
What is bigger – education or consulting services?
Education and consulting are BOTH significant for us! In some countries one is bigger than the other. I think that’s because our teams in various places have one of those disciplines as a clear strength, and the markets are different - so opportunities present themselves differently from place to place.
How many happy course attendees did you turn on to ITIL last year?
I’m going to guess we probably trained upwards of about 20,000 people in the last calendar year. We know it’s been well over 250,000 in the past 20 years. Most of those are ITIL certification courses – but not all. We also have a range of Pink-developed “How To ...” courses. We go and deliver training in many, many countries around the world. And some customers make use of the online versions of our courses - either self-paced or instructor-led. So, with the benefit of the Web, no matter where you are you can do a Pink course!
Could you please compare ITSM culture in different countries?
This is a BIG subject!
People – and their performance – is the most significant criterion for success within IT Service Management. And the culture (a set of attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviours) is a product of the people. So understanding the culture is very important when we engage with our customers. You can easily fail in your objectives if you don’t take into account the culture within the organization. A successful approach in one organization might be a messy failure in another.
But culture in an organization is not just dependent on the country you are in. There are more cultures at play than simply the national culture. Identify a group of people who have something in common – an employer, an industry, a club, a country, in fact a community of any kind and you’ll start to see a common set of attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviours emerge. So businesses and industries have specific cultures too. It’s not just a national thing.
For example, if a North American multi-national sets up shop in south-east Asia we might see aspects of both types of national culture present. But if that organization is a bank – then there’s a banking culture you can expect to see too, and quite possibly the “banking culture” will dominate - strong on approvals, permissions and routine. People DO follow processes and respect the hierarchy in banks! (as they do in government organizations).
So it’s not about countries then?
This is a very interesting topic. A common mistake I see people making is to accept sweeping generalizations based on geographical culture. As a result of globalization you sometimes don’t see as many differences as you would expect.
Having said all that, you specifically asked about national cultural differences, so here is one example from our experience. As a general rule, workers in Asia are more likely to need to get permission before proceeding with a change – they do not want to by-pass the boss. While in North America people are often rewarded for using their initiative and not bothering the boss!
I am always careful to explain that cultural differences are just that - “differences”. Different does not mean better or worse, just different! But if you understand the culture of the ITSM group you’re working with then you can adjust your style (as a Trainer) or recommendations (as a Consultant).
Now let’s move on to the topic of great public events. Pink’s Annual International ITSM Conference is well known all over the world, and we even heard about it here in Russia. How it all did started? Why Pink did it?
When we started Pink Elephant in North America in 1997 we wanted to let businesses here know about this best practice framework called ITIL. We were quite nervous about what the reaction would be because ITIL had been “invented” in the UK and Americans, particularly, might not welcome anything that was “not invented here!” We decide to “launch” ITIL in North America via a conference. It was billed as the “1st Annual IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition” and we had a grand total of 61 attendees. That was December, 1997 here in Toronto.
We were encouraged by the response because we had people travel from all over the US and Canada. So we quickly scheduled the “2nd Annual IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition” for June, 1998. It was only 6 months later, but it was in the next calendar year so we thought it was OK to call it the “2nd Annual Conference”! Around 100 people came this time. By year 4 we were in Orlando in February, 2000 with over 400 attendees and it’s been growing steadily ever since.
How the idea developed over the years?
Our goals at the Conference are to Educate, Inspire, Entertain and Connect people. “Educate” might seem obvious – that’s what any conference should do; provide people with new ideas and information. But we also want to Inspire people to take the new knowledge and actually do something with it. And if we’re asking them to give up a few days and possibly travel a long way to be there, then let’s also provide an “Entertaining” environment. More recently with the advent of Social IT we have recognized the importance of “Connecting” people to each other – to continue the learning beyond the Conference.
Last Pink12 Conference, which was just held this past February, was huge – 16 years in a row, 15 tracks, more than 160 sessions, 40+ sponsors… How was it?
This past Conference went very well, thank you!
We had lots of positive feedback from our attendees and exhibitors. The exhibitors particularly value the event as it attracts exactly the target audience of decision-makers they want to connect with. People who attend the Conference for the sessions tell us they value the content most of all, plus the networking opportunities.
In Russia it’s very hard to sell the event of this kind with no free admittance – what’s Pink’s secret to get such a big crowd together for their money?
The success of the event is no secret. Anyone can do it if you have:
I am joking, of course, when I say “anyone can do it”! This is a VERY big project, and it can be very risky because so many things need to be just right if we are to be successful. Because the event is obviously tied to a particular place and a particular date, sometimes things outside of our control can get in the way, such as weather, natural disasters, political or social distractions, the economy, etc. etc. We have been affected by ALL of these over the years! But the Conference Team we have at Pink Elephant is very experienced and does a great job of managing all aspects of the event in which we DO have control. Such as project planning, venue management, content management, marketing, sales, on-site production and logistics, etc. I am particularly proud our the small team who identify the topics and select the speakers. This is so important if our event is going to be special and valued by customers. In fact, this is what our customers tell us they value most about the event, and it’s the main reason they keep coming back.
Overall, I know everyone at Pink is very proud of our Conference, and our Conference team!
So you even have a dedicated Conference team at Pink Elephant! What is the Conference for you now then? Is it an opportunity to promote your brand and services, a way to earn some money or means to grow the market?
We have always reinforced to the Team that our #1 priority is to be profitable with the Conference. This objective goes hand-in-hand with delivering something worthwhile for the customer. It’s difficult to have one without the other. So it’s important to treat the Conferences we do as a line of business, not a special marketing initiative. This forces us to look at the event from a customer’s perspective. We need to deliver value to the customer and not just do things that we want to do – which is what can happen if we just treat it as an extension of marketing. No one wants to go to a Conference and sit in sessions where you’re being sold to.
Being at the world’s largest (as far as I know) ITSM company, you no doubt know latest trends on the market. Could you please share with me your thoughts? In which way ITIL is moving? How ITSM principles are applied, what is hot right now? All the marketing buzz words such as clouds, BYOD, social – how are they influencing our precious ITSM world?
It’s more about IT service management than ITIL. ITIL is only one way to achieve your objectives. It’s good, but it isn’t a methodology with rigid “must do” practices. You can take some good ideas from ITIL, plus some good proven ideas from elsewhere, plus your own practices that work well – and establish a good IT service management operation.
In the market right now we’re hearing lots of buzz about other practices that can be adopted to help corporate IT. I think one of the key drivers for continual change in how we manage IT services is the very fact that many IT services are now outside the control of corporate IT. So this introduces the subjects of Cloud IT, Social IT and the consumerization of IT leading to BYOD.
These are all trends that tell us our co-workers, users and customers are becoming more sophisticated in their expectations and demands. So how does IT Service Management support or enable these trends? I think this is a very important question, and I’d like to see more of our leaders in ITSM step forward and acknowledge that the very core of IT – the infrastructure & services – is changing. People can get IT services themselves, they don’t always need a corporate IT function to do any heavy lifting, or give permission. We’re all “activating” web-enabled services and mobile devices with great ease, low - or no - costs and with startling results. I still think there’s a role for ITSM here, but we must stop thinking that the only IT infrastructure & services that matters is the stuff that’s bought, implemented, managed and supported in-house.
Do you think that this will lead to the dramatic changes in IT Service Management as a concept? If so, what are those changes? Many experts believe that ITSM will stay intact, but we need to change the way we implement our processes to deliver services, and the services will be different, but the concept of IT-delivering-services-not-products will stay.
Correct! We still need ITSM. It’s just important to accept that IT services can come from other places, not just in-house.
What is the most important thing in ITSM for 2012? Why?
I’m not sure I’m a good predictor! Although we’re already well into 2012 and some things are becoming increasingly apparent:
Thank you for your time, David!
Events • Practices • Pink History • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Friday, November 16, 2012
Justifying Your Next Big Idea Means Entering The Dragon’s Den Of ITSM
One of my favourite TV shows is “Dragon’s Den”. At least that’s what it’s called here in Canada and in the UK. In the USA it’s called “Shark Tank” but I prefer “Dragon’s Den”!
The premise is that if you have what you think is a good business idea you can present a proposal to a team of rich entrepreneurs (the Dragons) and try to convince them to invest in you.
In ITSM, there’s 3 Dragons you need to keep in mind.
The CIO Dragon (see how small you are!)
The CFO Dragon (you’re still smaller!)
The CEO Dragon (small again!)
Each one has a different viewpoint when it comes to assessing your next big idea. So keep in mind:
The CIO Dragon - Is focused primarily on IT resources, particularly risks to current performance and existing projects. So what will be the impact of your Big Idea to what’s currently going on in IT? And remember, the CIO may well be your boss, so you have to make him/her look good. Promoting a Big Idea that jeopardizes IT resources, projects and image will not go down well.
The CFO Dragon - Is focused primarily on revenues and/or costs. So do you know how much your Big Idea will improve the bottom line of your organization? You better be ready to answer that. If you can describe the costs accurately and the end result is an improvement to business financial results - how can the CFO argue with you?
The CEO Dragon - Is focused primarily on business objectives. Do you know what they are?! If not - find out and make sure you make reference to the positive effect your Big Idea will have in enabling those objectives. The CEO isn’t really that concerned with what’s going on in IT, so he/she may well be an ally if your CIO is being over-cautious. Just as long as there’s a worthwhile business benefit.
Good luck, and let me know how you get on!
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
PinkChile12: My Keynote & “Dragon’s Den” Materials
Here are the materials from my two talks at Pink’s 3rd Annual IT Service Management Conference here in Santiago, Chile this morning.
First, the opening keynote, where I discussed the leadership qualities we all should identify and try to develop within us. You do NOT have to be in a position of authority to demonstrate good leadership qualities:
And my second session, where I discussed entering the “Dragon’s Den” when seeking approval for ITSM improvement projects. Go into the “Dragon’s Den” unprepared and you’ll be eaten alive! Make sure you’re well prepared by having ready answers to the Dragon’s predictable questions - and you can walk out of the Den with whatever you need - as long as your project makes sense!
Events • Leadership • Practices • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Plenty Of Opportunities For More Customer Service Training!
Sometimes, after being in the education & Consulting industry for over 25 years, I wonder if we still need to teach people the basics of stuff like customer service. After all, there’s hundreds of books, courses, blogs and conferences dedicated to this subject. Surely everyone who needs to demonstrate good customer service knows how it should be done?
As I boarded my United Airlines flight to Mexico City the other day I was greeted at the plane door by a surly Flight Attendant who took one look at my small carry-on bag and snarled “I’m gonna need you to check that bag.” I have traveled all over the world with this bag and never once been asked to check it. It fits easily in either the overhead bin or under the seat. So my immediate response - in a soft, pleading tone - was “Oh really? Are you sure I can’t fit it in?” What I heard next was nothing short of stunning to me.
“What is it about “I’m gonna need you to check that bag” you don’t understand”?
Really! Is there any need for such un-called for rudeness?
This is just a simple example of how it doesn’t matter what expensive tools, training, processes, websites, apps or gadgets a company might to chose to invest in, if the people working there have a poor attitude - the whole service thing just falls apart. It’s all about people.
Practices • Rants • Travel • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Friday, April 20, 2012
Raving Fan For PinkATLAS and Pinker Martin Erb!
Just received this comment from a good customer (withholding the name here because I haven’t yet asked for permission to attribute the quote!) about PinkATLAS - our online ITSM resource centre and Pinker Martin Erb.
Yes, we are pleased with the subscription. The information is helpful, but the real benefit is that Martin is very accessible and helpful. We love that we can submit a request to speak to a Pinker and we get a rapid response from Martin, and a meeting with Martin or another expert in a day or two (and helpful guidance too). None of the other SME organizations we use are so responsive. We have a lot going on in the catalog, governance / frameworks, and process integration spaces and Pink info has been very valuable. Martin was especially helpful in a call a couple of weeks ago on the frameworks topic, and Troy on catalogs a few weeks before that.
Nice job Martin!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
My Presentation - “4 Rules For Transferring Knowledge Into Results”
Certification • Events • Leadership • Practices • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Are You A “Named Leader” Or “Un-Named Leader”?
The more I think about the problems we face in IT Service Management (and I’m doing a lot of this thinking right now in preparation for the world’s biggest ITSM Conference coming up just over a week from now!) - it’s People and the way they behave (culture) that we need to pay the most attention to. The other 3 Ps of ITSM are important of course (Products, Partners & Processes) but to put a bit of a critical path spin on this I think People comes first.
So, focusing on People - it’s no good complaining about the way our staff behave if we aren’t showing some quality leadership. Our named Leaders are People too. And we should look to them for:
1. What’s the vision for what we need to do?
2. How are we communicating our goals?
3. How are we truly empowering each other?
And while I’m on the subject of “empowering” - this isn’t just telling people “I’m delegating this to you ....” To truly empower you need to supply resources and support.
If we have “named Leaders” then there’s the implication we also have “un-named Leaders”. To me that’s everyone else. If you’re NOT a manager or senior officer with people reporting to you, there’s still plenty you can do to lead. Leadership, to me, is influencing others to do the right things. So, as long as you’re a positive team player, helping and informing others to do achieve their objectives, and you speak up constructively - then you’re showing leadership qualities. Keep it up!
Another name for the “named leader” is Designated Leader.
Another name for “un-named leader” is Self-Empowered Leader.
Here’s an eloquent blog entry by Jeff Hilimire titled “Leadership is not something you’re given, it’s something you take” that supports my thinking.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
My Top 12 Tips For Developing Good Conference Presentations.
The past few weeks I’ve had my head down working on programs for Pink events later this year (and even for 2013!) - as well as reviewing some of the presentations we have lined up for PINK12 (the 16th Annual ITSM Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas next month.
I was even cheeky enough to give some “constructive feedback” to our Pinker speakers for PINK12. That made me think it might be a good idea to publish some of my opinions on what I think makes a good conference presentation. What you’ll see in the attached file is some advice that I’m sure you’d also get from many other people in the conference business - but I’ve also included one or two pet peeves of mine. Please try to avoid those if you see me in your audience!
Anyway, I’m publishing my tips here in PowerPoint format - so it’s easy for you to scroll through in slideshow mode. If you have additional tips you’d like to pass on, please put them in a Comment right here.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011
What The Utilitarian Philosophers Can Teach Us About Prioritization!
I’ve been watching - and loving - the series of lectures on “Justice” (freely available online) by Professor Michael Sandel from Harvard, and I can’t help thinking that what I’m learning can be related to some of the aspects of ITSM we find challenging. In Episode 2, for example, he discusses the concept of Utilitarianism originally introduced by 19th century philosopher Jeremy Bentham (the “utility” pre-fix gives you a bit of a clue as to where we’re headed here!)
Professor Sandel explains that one of Bentham’s proteges, John Stuart Mill, went on to promote how cost/benefit analysis could be done to identify which of our collective values, or preferences, were more “right” than others! Sound familiar? Now if only we could apply this to how we prioritize Incidents, or maybe how one Service should take precedence over another when our systems are under stress. Well - at least I saw the parallels, even if you don’t!
To illustrate the challenges of such a cost/benefit anaylsis, Professor Sandel facilitates a sometimes hilarious discussion on which of three video clips delivers the “highest experience of pleasure”. The choices are an excerpt from Hamlet, a promo for “Fear Factor” and a clip from The Simpsons. You might be surprised at what the students have to say to justify their preferences. I was quite impressed. But after all, these are the folks at Harvard!