Thursday, October 06, 2011

Personal MBA: Great Artists Ship

I hate when blogs don't allow comments. That forces me to use my own blog to comment when I have something to add, and I have little traffic. I stand a far greater chance of somebody accidentally stumbling across one of my comments on somebody else's blog than on my own.

Josh Kaufman at The Personal MBA put up a post, a tribute of sorts, to Steve Jobs, who passed away yesterday. Steve had a heck of an influence on the world. I was thinking this afternoon how, not too long ago, if you wanted one song, you had to buy a $20 CD. Most of the CDs I have from that time period only have ONE SONG I actually wanted, along with 9 crappy ones. Steve largely influenced the world so that now, I can just buy the ONE SONG I want. I love it.

I was talking to a coworker today. I asked how things would change if we had the ability, like Steve Jobs did, to tell people "This is D work. It's not acceptable. Start over." In my industry, we're often forced to accept whatever work is given to us. Sometimes it's bad. I had a problem with my BlackBerry. Our telecom team couldn't figure it out, so they ordered me a new one. I still have the same problem, but I'm not likely to get it fixed with the people we have available, and I'm also not likely to get access to the BES to figure it out myself. So I'm stuck, but I have a new BlackBerry with the Version 6 OS, which makes me cool. Few others have it.

Still, as a manager, and a leader, I'd love to have the influence Steve did. I've love to be able to inspire people to produce greater work, rather than adequate work. I've found people will rise to the level of expectation you have for them. In the position I was hired for, I wanted to raise the quality of ticket documentation among my team. It took a while to get buy-in from another manager to back me up, but after he got chewed out for not being able to explain the status of a ticket when the tech wasn't available, I was able to sell him on my idea. We hatched a 3 step quality improvement plan, and over the next few weeks through a series of ticket audits, we managed to get our techs to document tickets once a day. Our rules were simple: if it's an "I can't do my job because something is broke" ticket, and it can't be closed by the end of the workday, just leave a note on the ticket explaining why, so if we get a call, we can explain it. Things improved quickly, and before I got moved to another branch in a reorganization, we could check the tickets daily and find them all up to date. I was proud of our team. We gave them an expectation, and they met it.
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