Change Happens

Change Happens

Change is all around us. It happens every day to everyone. 

Some people are more comfortable with change than others. Many struggle with it. Nevertheless, it happens, and it is happening a lot these days, especially in business. Business climates are demanding disruptive and transformative change to meet the growth and innovation challenges they face. Although change is a good thing, it is also a stressful thing.  

Okay, what has that got to do with IT? 

IT is often, maybe always, the downstream recipient of business change drivers. Business drivers push for systems changes which IT is asked to produce. Most of the time, the changes IT makes in response to business drivers and strategy are disruptive to the employees of the organization. Can you see the cycle? 

IT people are people first, technicians later. Changes dictated by the business such as restructuring, acquisitions, and reductions in force just plain hurt. That hurt leads to non-productive behaviors and poor performance. What some may not realize is that often IT is informed of these changes before the rest of the organization due to the need to make broad systemic changes to support them.  Many times, they have to execute on these changes without the benefit of public forums or discussions. This cycle leaves IT wondering without the benefits of asking – “How will this change impact me?”, “Will I have a job?”, “What about my friends?” 

Planned systems changes are just as disruptive to the business community. Have you noticed how the love for an old system grows (despite years of complaints) when faced with the prospect of it being replaced for new one? The devil you know is always perceived as better than the devil you don’t. As IT leaders, we owe it to the business to manage through these changes. 

It is an interesting challenge from an IT leader perspective. A challenge that needs to be managed on multiple fronts. 

Change management is a term that is bantered around freely. Sometimes it is blamed for poor performance – “The project failed because we did not focus on change management.”  Sometimes it is used as an excuse for not supporting a direction – “The risk of that process revision is not worth the change management effort.”    

Theories behind change management are quite complex, draw from many disciplines and sciences, and are probably better left to the experts. I am sure you are all relieved that I am not going to talk psychology and behavioral sciences with you! 

I do want to share my perspective of the underlying impact of change. Change does not happen in isolation; it impacts the whole organization. 

The first step in leading through change is to understand and address how people are impacted.  People impacted by change go through an emotional curve from shock to depression to acceptance and commitment.  

The change curve model is based on a model originally developed in the mid-1960’s by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to illustrate how people deal with grief. It is easy to relate to the model. When I look at the model, it brings back the same emotions I have experienced during major change or loss. 

As I stated earlier, individuals deal with change differently. Some go through it quickly, while others take much longer. The challenge for leadership is to help people through their own change curve by understanding what phase they are in, and what support tools they need to transition and embrace the new change. 

With that being said, we will be starting a new series of conversations on change management. I am not an expert on the science and discipline sides. Therefore, I will be reaching out to several of my respected friends and colleagues to help us out here. If I can’t beg or bribe them, I will wing it with my opinion. 

I am here if you have questions. 

Until next week!  

Mary  

ITeffectivity LLC was founded in 2013 with the mission of helping IT Leaders bring order to their ever-changing world. Since then, Mary has advised over 80 leaders on behalf of Fortune 100 firms to small non-profits.  

Mary Patry 
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach   
 480.393.0722 (AZ) 
 Mary.Patry@iteffectivity.com 
LinkedIn: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/mleonardopatry 

Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

Life happens…and then I learn.

Life happens…and then I learn.

“I Have Learned” has shown up on the internet many times over the last 20 years under many versions attributed to various authors.  

The first time I was exposed to it was April 1999. This very long poem was printed on a sheet of paper found in my then recently departed husband’s, Tony Leonardo, file folder of personal inspirational poems. My head was not on straight at the time, and I was not yet able to absorb the meaning of this poem, much less read without tears. I recently rediscovered the file folder. Finding it again opened the door to contemplating my life lessons and sparked my curiosity about the author.  

My search led me to a short article attributing the poem to Kathy Kane Hansen.   

http://skdesigns.com/internet/articles/prose/hansen/i_have_learned/  

The 2008 article provides the original prose and informs us that Ms. Hansen is the original author and that it was written around 1971. My continued search to learn more about Ms. Hansen, her purpose in sharing her lessons learned, and where might she be now hit a brick wall.  

Nevertheless, I find myself continually reflecting on how these “I Have Learned” lessons apply to my life, and this reflection encourages me to journal my thoughts. Without a doubt, all of my greatest lessons were learned from my greatest challenges. I am inspired to share the poem and my reflections in memory of all the people who influenced me, including Tony, my parents, and other loved ones no longer with me.   

“I Have Learned” 

by Kathy Kane Hansen 1971  And… by Mary Patry 2019 

I’ve learned – that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved.  The rest is up to them.  

And I’ve learned – that I must love myself first to be open to love and that love from others is a gift, not an entitlement.   

I’ve learned – that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back.  

And I’ve learned – that my caring for others is not a reciprocal state but one from my heart.  

I’ve learned – that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.  

And I’ve learned – that my integrity is too precious to compromise for any reason.    

I’ve learned – that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.   

And I’ve learned – material belongings are just things; people are what matter most.  

I’ve learned – that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something. 

And I’ve learned – that charm is fleeting; substance survives all challenges and circumstances.  

I’ve learned – that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do.  But to the best, you can do.  

And I’ve learned – that seeking to be the best me is far more rewarding than worrying about how I compare to others.   

I’ve learned – that it’s not what happens to people that’s important. It’s what they do about it.   

And I’ve learned – shit happens. My ability to pick myself back up is all that matters.   

I’ve learned – that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life 

And I’ve learned – to take a breath, ask clarifying questions, and count to 5 before putting my foot in my mouth.  

I’ve learned – that no matter how thin you slice it, there are always two sides. 

And I’ve learned – not to fall prey to the stories people tell themselves as well as those I tell myself.   

I’ve learned – that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.  

And I’ve learned – I am a work in progress, living a life of trial and errors to become my better self.   

I’ve learned – that it’s a lot easier to react than it is to think.  

And I’ve learned – sometimes it is okay to do nothing.  

I’ve learned – that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them 

And I’ve learned – the hard way that each goodbye or good night might be your last. Don’t waste them. 

I’ve learned – that you can keep going long after you think you can’t.  

And I’ve learned – that I am much more resilient than I realize.  

I’ve learned – that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel. 

And I’ve learned – that we cannot blame others for our decisions and actions. The buck stops here.  

I’ve learned – that either you control your attitude, or it controls you.  

And I’ve learned – no good comes when I have a bad attitude and go to a dark place.   

I’ve learned – that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.  

And I’ve learned – friendship and laughter are the foundation of long-term passionate relationships.   

I’ve learned – that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.  

And I’ve learned – there are few true heroes in the world. Those that have performed heroic acts were open to stepping up with courage at the time.  

I’ve learned – that learning to forgive takes practice 

And I’ve learned – forgiveness is my best policy. 

I’ve learned – that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t know how to show it.  

And I’ve learned – people often show their love for you in other ways, in addition to flowers and I love you.  

I’ve learned – that money is a lousy way of keeping score.  

And I’ve learned – that money is a lousy indicator of success.  

I’ve learned – that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.  

And I’ve learned – that my best friend and I do not need anything to have the best time together.  

I’ve learned – that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up.  

And I’ve learned – that sometimes people will surprise you when you least expect their kindness and consideration.   

I’ve learned – that sometimes when I’m angry, I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.  

And I’ve learned – that there will be times when I am angry and reflecting that anger onto others is not good for anyone, including me.  

I’ve learned – that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.  

And I’ve learned – that true friendships last no matter where you go in the world. It only takes a phone call or facetime to reconnect.  

I’ve learned – that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.  

And I’ve learned – that my expectations for love may not match those whom I love. It is okay if we both know what to expect.  

I’ve learned – that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.  

And I’ve learned – there is a difference between my age and the wisdom of maturity. My graying hair and wrinkles do not define me. I am the sum of my experience.  

I’ve learned – that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.  

And I’ve learned – I benefit from allowing myself the freedom of childlike hopes and dreams. My world would be very gray without rainbows. I would not expect any less from a child 

I’ve learned – that your family won’t always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren’t biological.  

And I’ve learned – that my family won’t always be there for me and I cannot expect them to be. My chosen family of friends have taught me to trust people, and they know they can trust me. I know families do not need to be biological.  

I’ve learned – that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while, and you must forgive them for that.  

And I’ve learned – that I’ve made mistakes and that others will too. I choose to forgive, in hopes they will decide to forgive me also.   

I’ve learned – that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.  

And I’ve learned – I find it easier to forgive others over myself. I must continue to work on being kinder to myself.  

I’ve learned – that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.  

And I’ve learned – that I won’t die from a broken heart even when I feel I will. I know I will grow from it. 

I’ve learned – that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.  

And I’ve learned – my early life experiences sucked and were not my fault. I do not wish they were different as they helped shape who I am.  

I’ve learned – that sometimes when my friends fight, I’m forced to choose sides even when I don’t want to.  

And I’ve learned – to distance myself from friends in a fight as I want to be there for both of them when it is over.  

I’ve learned – that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.  

And I’ve learned – arguments do not define my love for you and that making up is so sweet. I’ve also learned that not arguing means that I don’t care enough to bother.  

I’ve learned – that sometimes you have to put the individual ahead of their actions.  

And I’ve learned – that my caring for you is more important than the outcome.  

I’ve learned – that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.  

And I’ve learned – my friends grow, and I grow. It is delightful when find we have landed at the same place.    

I’ve learned – that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever 

And I‘ve learned – that not all secrets need to be known. Some are left buried.  

I’ve learned – that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.  

And I’ve learned – that perspectives are in the eye of the beholder, and we can learn from our differences. 

I’ve learned – that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.  

And I’ve learned – that to expect to protect my kids from all harm does more harm than good. I’ve learned to be ready to catch them when they fall.  

I’ve learned – that there are many ways of falling and staying in love.  

And I’ve learned – love comes and stays with me when my heart is open with realistic eyes and the mind to remember why.  

I’ve learned – that no matter the consequences, those who are honest with themselves get farther in life.  

And I’ve learned – lying to myself is the worst form of dishonesty and will only come back to bite me in the butt. Don’t. 

I’ve learned – that no matter how many friends you have if you are their pillar, you will feel lonely and lost at the times you need them most. 

And I’ve learned – that if I am always the pillar, they aren’t my friend and that I need to be open to people who can be there for me too.  

I’ve learned – that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.  

And I’ve learned – that when I pay attention, I am often surprised by how good people are when I allow them to be.  

I’ve learned – that even when you think you have no more to give when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.  

And I’ve learned – that I can find a reserve I did not know I had when someone I care about needs me. I am resourceful, especially when I am needed.  

I’ve learned – that writing, as well as talking, can ease emotional pains.  

And I’ve learned – that when I journal, I have the best conversations with myself.  

I’ve learned – that the paradigm we live in is not all that is offered to us.  

And I’ve learned – that I am more than my paradigm, and I don’t let it rule me.  

I’ve learned – that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.  

And I’ve learned – that I am a decent human with no need for letters behind my name.    

I’ve learned – that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon.  

And I’ve learned – life is too short no matter how long my loved ones live. Enjoy each other today. 

I’ve learned – that although the word “love” can have many different meanings, it loses value when overly used.  

And I’ve learned – when I say I love you too often, I am desperate to convince my heart that it feels something I think it should. I’ve been there – have you? 

I’ve learned – that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings and standing up for what you believe.  

And I’ve learned – that I will always stand up for what I believe and must use decorum and politeness while maintaining that stance. Integrity and kindness are not divisive.    

I invite my readers and followers to reflect on their life lessons. I trust that along the way you will be amazed at the wisdom you’ve accumulated. To make it easier, I created a tool to support you on this journey – link here to download: Life Lessons Worksheet 

Until next week, I wish you a safe Memorial Holiday weekend.  

Mary 

ITeffectivity LLC was founded in 2013 with the mission of helping IT Leaders bring order to their ever-changing world. Since then, Mary has advised over 80 leaders on behalf of Fortune 100 firms to small non-profits.  

 

Mary Patry 
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach   
 480.393.0722 (AZ) 
 Mary.Patry@iteffectivity.com 
LinkedIn: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/mleonardopatry 

Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

Starting Out On Solid Ground

Starting Out On Solid Ground

Congratulations, you are starting a new role. Youve made it through the selection process, accepted the offer, and signed the paperwork. You will be working with a new team at a new company in an IT Leadership role. The only thing left is to anticipate the first day.   

Do you know what to expect on the first day? Your company’s employee onboarding process is typically designed to make a good impression on you. There is a perception that the higher up in the organization you go, the less importance onboarding plays in your success. Not true!  

First impressions can have a lasting impact. The onboarding process should be about making you, the new employee, feel welcomed, valued, and prepared to succeed in your new role.  

What about your new employees? How do they feel about your arrival? They know the new boss is arriving. The water cooler talk is abuzz wondering what you are all about, who might know someone who knows you, and what changes will you bring about. Do you know what they have been told about you?  

Impressions go both ways. Onboarding is an opportunity to make your new employees feel good about you. Here are eight ways to move your new team from anxious to eager anticipation of your arrival. It will not only make them feel better; it will set you up for success.   

  1. Participate in preparing for your arrival. Work with HR and your hiring manager to prepare your employees for your arrival. Request that an announcement is sent and make sure to have a hand in its content. The communication will surely share your role, responsibilities, and experience. Push for it to include as much of your personal information as you are willing to disclose – your family, your favorite activities, the things that bring you joy. Express your philosophies about life and work. Invite new team members to connect with you on LinkedIn. Encourage them to stop by to meet you on your first day. Let your authenticity and transparency show through. When employees are made aware of their new boss, they are better prepared to assist you on your first day.  
  2. Get to know your direct reports. Get to know your direct reports by taking the time to learn more about them outside of the interview process. When an employee feels valued by their team on both a personal and professional level, they are more likely to stick around for the long haul.

  3. Get to know your team. Ask for a team roster that includes names, titles, and responsibilities. Look them up on LinkedIn with the intent of putting a face to a name. Enlist your new direct reports to walk you through their organization. Not only will you learn who is who, but, but you will also be better prepared to meet with them. It will also reveal a lot about your direct reports management and working style. The more they can share, the more engaged they will be. The more engaged they are, the more engaged their employees will be

  4. Workstation. Be proactive in assuring your new workstation is ready to go. Ask to interact with the end user team to understand what technologies are deployed and to assure the desktops and mobility tools you need will be available. As a new employee, nothing is worse than not having access to the tools you need to be successful. Taking a proactive approach not only sets you up for success, but it also enables one or two of the employees to meet you before your arrival. You can count on your behavior and treatment of them to be relayed to their peers. 

  5. Systems and tools. Know what systems you will need to access and use as part of your job.  In line with assuring that your workstation meets your needs, you should also make sure you know what programs, software, and electronic files you will need during your first days. Ask for training materials that can be accessed offline. Assure that you have an “app mentor” for each of the tools, even if you have used them before since every application has the opportunity to be configured to the needs of the company. Taking this action will reduce the stress of your learning curve as well as enable you to be productive sooner. 

  6. Introductions. Manage the introduction process by seeking help from your new manager or assistant in scheduling meetings with key people and departments during your first day. You may not remember everyone’s name, but this exercise will give you a good start in understanding how the company works and who does what. It will also allow key people to meet you and start the relationships off on a positive note

  7. Plan a team gathering. Work with your new manager or administrative assistant to schedule a team gathering with your direct reports and their team members the first week. Ask them to come prepared with their questions for you. If your team members are remote, make it a virtual gathering using video Skype or what ever video conferencing tools you have available.  This will help break the ice and allow the employees to get to know you, their new leader, in a relaxed environment. You don’t even need to leave the office to do this. It could be a bagel breakfast or employees could bring their lunch and gather in a conference room (or online if that is the only way to gather). There should not be a formal agenda. Share a little about yourself.  Include fun facts and then allow them to ask their questions. Keep it light and make it fun. 

  8. Last but not least – your boss. Get to know your new boss on a deeper level than possible during the interview process. It is best if you have at least one conversation before your first day exploring his or her needs, expectations, and communication style. Be very cautious not to use this meeting as an opportunity to show how ready or smart you are. Make the conversation about them – asking openended questions will reveal so much more.  

Successful on-boarding sets you up for success. Why leave it to chance?  

I am here if you have questions. 

Until next week!  

Mary  

ITeffectivity LLC was founded in 2013 with the mission of helping IT Leaders bring order to their everchanging world. Since then, Mary has advised over 80 leaders as well on behalf of Fortune 100 firms to small non-profits.  

Mary Patry 
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach   
 480.393.0722 (AZ) 
 Mary.Patry@iteffectivity.com 
LinkedIn: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/mleonardopatry 

Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

CIO = Big Job

CIO = Big Job

Do you identify with the statement: “CIO = Big Job? Many others are right there with you, me included.  

 What does being a CIO mean to you? What challenges do CIO’s face  

 The CIO faces pressures from all sides.  

Did you know that 50-60% of newly appointed executives fail within the first 18 months of their assignments and these statistics have persisted for years? That outcome does not need to be inevitable. Success requires architecting for success, preferably before you are in the role. The good news is that it is possible to catch up.  

What drives anyone to want to be a CIO? It is a big job, it is a hard job, and it is also a great job. In my opinion, it’s the best job. In what other position can you have as deep and broad of an influence as in the CIO position?   

Let’s look at the history of this position. In the past, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) led the data processing and IS (Information Systems) departments. The focus was on transactional and operational processing. The measures of success were system availability and mean time between failure. 

Today, the job is very different. The skill set and responsibilities are worlds apart from what they were a decade or two ago. The role continues to adapt to the changing face of the modern business enterprise. In today’s tech-focused, competitive business environment, what do CIOs bring to the table?  

I can say, without gambling too much, that everyone reading this article with a CIO title has unique job requirements. The CIO job title tells us it’s an executive position dealing with the IT needs of a company. A CIO title doesn’t have the same role as an IT director who deals with the day to day tasks of keeping the lights on. Many CIOs are starting to distance themselves from operational responsibilities, but that does not mean they aren’t accountable for them.   

Today’s CIO role not only enables business capabilities. It also gives CIO’s the opportunity to innovate alongside their business peers. It may be the only executive role that has the opportunity to partner with the business in discovering the new approaches and processes that can be directly tied to business results. The depth and breadth of IT’s influence is only limited by the creativity of the CIO and the capability of the IT team.  

That is a tall order. CIO’s are business leaders partnering with the business to drive results. Join me in continuing this discussion at the upcoming CIO VISIONS Leadership Summit June 2-4 at the Red Rocks Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas where I will be presenting Monday June 3 at 4PM on the topic:   

“You’re the New CIO. You made it!  Now what?” 

Use code ENT19SPMPITE for a FREE conference pass on us! Register here:  Quartz Events CIO Visions Midmarket Summit  

At this session, we will discuss areas not to focus on with the intent of encouragement as well as provide you with tools that you can apply immediately. I hope to see you there.  

Until next time, have a great week!  

Mary 

ITeffectivity LLC was founded in 2013 with the mission of helping to bring order to the ever-changing world of the IT leader.  Since then Mary’s has advised over 70 leaders as well as conducted over 20 major consulting assignments on behalf of Fortune 100 firms to small non-profits.  

 Are you interested in learning how Mary might assist you?  Let’s Talk Link here to schedule a complimentary consultation designed to explore your possibilities.  

Mary Patry 
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach   
 480.393.0722 (AZ) 
 Mary.Patry@iteffectivity.com 
LinkedIn: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/mleonardopatry 

Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

Engaging your Employees in Seven Simple Questions

Engaging your Employees in Seven Simple Questions

According to Gallup (2018), only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged, and one-quarter of employees report that they are actively disengaged. The result of disengagement ranges from turn-over to productivity loss. The costs of this situation are staggering in terms of employee turnover alone. For IT teams, additional costs include unmeasurable institutional loss, decreased end-user satisfaction, the potential for increased error rates, and huge challenges to adopting and adapting new technology. More importantly, it does not make for an enjoyable work experience.   

What does Employee Engagement Mean to You?  

As is often the case, Wikipedia’s description of Employee Engagement resonates with me:   

Employee Engagement is a fundamental concept in the effort to understand and describe, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the nature of the relationship between an organization and its employees. An “engaged employee” is defined as one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.”  

How do you know they are engaged? Based on limited research backed by close to 40 years of management experience, I rely on the follow questions to make my own assessment of an organization’s employee engagement:   

  • Meaning: Do employees find meaning and purpose in their jobs? Are they happy at work? Do they participate in meetings?   
  • Autonomy: Does your team have the power to shape their work and environment in ways that allow them to perform at their best? Are they empowered to decide HOW to execute against goals and desired outcomes? 
  • Growth: Are employees stretched and challenged in ways that result in personal and professional progress? Are professional growth opportunities taken advantage of?  Is progress acknowledged and celebrated? 
  • Impact: Do people see positive and worthwhile outcomes and results from their work?  Do they participate with enthusiasm in celebrations of team success? 
  • Connection: Do employees feel a sense of belonging? Do they connect to the mission, values, and direction of the organization? Do they offer to help each other without having to be asked? Do they hang out with each other at lunch and outside of work?    

Who Should Take Responsibility for Employee Engagement?  

Employee engagement is everyone’s responsibility, from executive-level leadership to HR, team managers, and employees. Although roles and activities differ, every individual and team should be held responsible for the success of your organization’s employee engagement initiatives. Unless employees assume some responsibility for their own engagement, the efforts of management will have limited effect on improving engagement.  

At the same time, I’ve seen too many organizations placing the total responsibility on the employee. I contend it is the accountability of management to commit to actions and behaviors that enable and foster engagement. For instance, many employees are frustrated because they feel like they have to read their manager’s mind. They don’t know how they are doing and how they can do better. The annual performance review is sometimes their only chance to find out, and that event is so stressful and formal that the environment is not conducive for improvements. 

This situation is not completely the fault of management. In some organizations, spans of control have become so large that managers have 15-18 direct reports with a broad range of technical disciplines to watch over.    

Engaging and mobilizing employees can feel like a daunting challenge on top of an already busy schedule. There are many simple strategies to engage and mobilize employees. They cost almost nothing to implement, can be put into place immediately, and have huge impact. 

For instance, one opportunity that many leaders have, even at the C-level, is to give more frequent and informal feedback about how each employee is doing. That way, everyone in the organization knows what is expected of them and how they can get better. 

The Seven Questions 

There are seven simple questions every leader must answer and communicate to employees. As with advertising, frequency counts. Small, informal conversations go a long way in building employee engagement and performance – especially when they include teachable moments about different situations and details. The questions include: 

  1. What do I expect from you?  
  2. What are you doing well?
  3. What, if anything, can you be doing better?
  4. What, if anything, do I want you to do better?
  5. (If appropriate) What will happen if you improve (e.g., more responsibility, more time with leadership, more desirable assignments)?
  6. (If appropriate) What will happen if you don’t improve?
  7. How can I help? 

While all of these questions are important, the last question is the MOST important. It shows the employee that the leader cares and is not merely abdicating responsibility or shifting blame. 

Employee Engagement Self-Assessment 

To see how well you are doing engaging and mobilizing your employees, take our free self-assessment: click here. 

Until next time, have a great week! 

Mary 

ITeffectivity LLC was founded in 2013 with the mission of helping to bring order to the ever-changing world of the IT leader.  Since then Mary’s have advised over 70 leaders as well as conducted over 20 major consulting assignments on behalf of Fortune 100 firms to small non-profits.  

 Are you interested in learning how Mary might assist you?  Let’s Talk Link here to schedule a complimentary consultation designed to explore your possibilities.  

Mary Patry 
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach   
 480.393.0722 (AZ) 
 Mary.Patry@iteffectivity.com 
LinkedIn: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/mleonardopatry 

Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry.