All through August we’ve written a series of posts about the The 4 Deadly Sins of Service Management. In our post from last week we gave you a How To Guide that walked through ways to use your emotions as a trigger. We also looked at some basic reports that help identify any weak points that can be quickly fixed. Finally, we showed you ways to incorporate Agile principles into your help desk and how that can lead to forward looking ITSM policies.
Beyond the 4 Service Management Sins we’ve already explored (fear, hope, greed, and pride), there are 3 other lines of thought that can get you into trouble. Bias, transparency, and complacency can gum up your operation, so we’re going to explore them in today’s post.
Every one of us is hard wired with some level of bias and it can be difficult to remove it from the workplace. In IT, biases can lead to a variety of problems, for example unwarranted brand loyalty fuelling hardware or software sourcing choices. It can also prevent the proper sense of urgency when change is necessary. In some cases it can even affect how management ends up “scoring” end user opinions and concerns.
That last point, in particular, needs to be avoided if want to focus on getting better every day. When IT makes the mistake of overlooking outside opinions, they’re unable to fully realize their potential impact on the business.
“How so?”, you may ask. Well, given IT’s unique position as the voice of your operation, there’s a phenomenal opportunity to set the tone for relationship building.
What impact would it have on your operation if your end users felt more empowered and your techs knowingly operate as the face of your brand? What impact will that have on your resolution times? Imagine a scenario where positive interactions between submitters and responders is the desired outcome! This is where leadership in the IT department has to step up and add itself to the equation.
Closed Door Policy
The obsolete 90’s IT approach gave us a mixture of turf war and that’s not my problem attitudes. Thankfully, most modern IT departments have weeded these elements out of their operation, however few have managed to fully invest in transparency. That is a a missed opportunity.
Transparency can’t just be a buzzword, you have to inject it into your operation from top to bottom. A great example comes from a startup we’ve worked with recently where they make transparency a core business principle, weaving it into every level of their operation, their executive staff actively living the transparency mindset daily.
Case in point, whenever the C levels and Directors meet with the board, they schedule a follow up meeting the next day with the rest of the company. In this follow up meeting the executives share the slides they went over with the board, along with the feedback they received. They hold nothing back in the discussion either. They walk their team through every part of it, good, bad, and ugly.
The end result is that everyone knows where the company stands at all times. They can see how their work directly impacts board room decisions as well as the company’s bottom line. An added bonus that comes from this level of transparency is that the executive staff is comfortable with asking for the highest possible execution from their team. By showing that their responsibility isn’t just to the board, but to the entire company, they’re demonstrating true leadership!
Maybe you’ve got a Service Desk full of rock stars who operate at their highest level at all times. Maybe you shattered your SLA benchmarks last quarter and you feel comfortable turning on the cruise control for the time being. Believe it or not, that might be the worst position to be in, because it means complacency will start to creep in.
Always remember that you should focus on 'purchasing' an outcome with every business decision. Let’s say you decide to move your infrastructure to the cloud. Cloud service is not what you’re purchasing, instead, you’re purchasing the end results that come with moving to the cloud. When you hire a new tech to man your help desk, you’re purchasing their ability to resolve tickets for your users every day.
A good IT leader recognizes these realities and uses them to their advantage. A great IT leader takes it a step further! When there’s no outside pressure to excel, a great IT leader takes ownership and sets a high bar for themselves and their team.
Watch for our post on Friday where we’ll be kicking off a Twitter chat on User Experience. Also, keep your eyes peeled for our conclusion theme post on Wednesday where we’ll put a bow on the The 4 Deadly Sins of Service Management.