Weekly Special #3 from the IT Manager Institute

ACE Your Next Performance Review

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s SPECIAL OFFER is ACE Your Next Performance Review. Includes a 1-hour video plus BONUS Executive Report that will give you a simple step by step process and tools to help you boost your performance and get great Performance Reviews.

Getting better Performance Reviews leads to more money, promotions and self confidence – ALL GOOD THINGS. Make it happen with insight and resources provided in this package by investing $15.00 in your career today.

$99.00 value for only $15.00

Getting better performance reviews happens when you perform better, but there is much more to it than that. For one thing, your manager has to know you are performing better and unfortunately this doesn’t always happen.

You need to TAKE CONTROL of the situation if you truly want a better Performance Review. The training video includes a 3-part program that will give you exactly what you need to take control and get better Performance Reviews.

The Guide to Better Reviews section gives you a simple step by step process anyone can use to achieve better reviews. These steps helped me go from getting an average review to consistently achieving outstanding reviews. It made a positive difference in my career.

The 20 Tips to Influence Your Review part will also help reinforce the things you can do to improve your Performance Reviews.

Finally, the Task Management & Workflow System provides Performance Planning and Review insight from a senior management perspective of more than 30 years that can make a huge difference in how you go about your work. This section can literally make a huge impact on your career.

This package includes a BONUS Report that will reinforce everything that’s in the 1-hour video plus it gives you a special offer to one of the best organization and workflow systems for IT managers that I’ve seen.

Weekly Special #2 from the IT Manager Institute

15 Key Tools Every IT Manager Needs

Tools and templates can make your work EASIER, help you be more PRODUCTIVE, and reduce STRESS. This week’s SPECIAL OFFER gives you access to what I consider are my TOP 15 IT Manager Tools & Templates at an incredible price.

Included is a 1-hour video that discusses each tool in detail and shows you how to use them plus a download link giving you access to the 15 tools so you can use them immediately “as is” or customize as you like.

 

Order now below or CLICK HERE to Learn More. Please note, , , the offer on this linked page changes frequently.

Are you using ALEXA at work?

Thought this might be a good poll – “Are you using Amazon ECHO (Alexa) or a similar technology at work?” My doctor has an ECHO DOT in each of his waiting rooms and I can tell you firsthand that it makes it quite convenient to pass the time waiting for his visit. In my case I play Simon & Garfunkle or Beach Boys music.

 

Using Alexa can go much deeper than simply listening to music. If I were at a corporate office, I would think about putting DOT’s in strategic areas for my employees to access. How many times a day do you think they GOOGLE a question they have or look up a reference to a topic they are working on?

QUITE OFTEN, don’t you think?

 

Weekly Special #1 from the IT Manager Institute

Interviewing For a CIO Position

This week’s SPECIAL OFFER will prepare you for a CIO interview or other IT level interviews. Plus it includes a FREE DOWNLOAD of my book, What To Look For In a CIO.

Order now below or CLICK HERE to Learn More. Please note, , , the offer shown on this linked page changes frequently.

Manager Takeaways From Tiger Woods’ 5th Masters Win

Tiger Woods may have just completed the greatest comeback in the history of sports. His 5th Green Jacket win at the 83rd Masters has some great management principles worth noting.

Observing things and learning how they can apply to success and management is something I’ve been doing my entire career. This year’s Masters Tournament has some valuable lessons.

Background
Just a year ago at this time the sports analysts were saying, “Tiger may not win again, and he probably will not win another major championship.” My, how much things can change in a year.

Tiger had not won a Masters since 2005 and his last Major win was the U.S. Open in 2008. Health issues leading to four back  surgeries literally crippled the greatest golfer of our time. Eleven years of mediocre play, recovery after recovery, and challenges we probably don’t even know about would be real reasons for most to question any possibility for major success in Tiger’s future.

It was almost prophetic for Tiger to be awarded the Ben Hogan Award for the “best comeback on the PGA Tour” on the evening before the first day of play in this year’s Masters. It was a sign of things to come, I think.

His win at this year’s Masters was somewhat predictable if you look at the trend of his play in the recent tournaments that are  most important on the PGA Tour:
–  2018 Masters*                   T32
–  2018 U.S. Open*             Missed Cut
–  2018 British Open*             T6
–  2018 PGA Championship*          2
–  2018 PGA Tour Championship     Won

* (Major Championships)

Tiger was in contention the back nine of the last round in each of the last two majors plus he won the Tour Championship at the end of the year. His progression was like an army on a force march to the next battle. Even so, the pundits were still questioning his ability to win another major before the start of this year’s Masters.

David Duval, a golf analyst on the Golf Channel and former #1 player in the world, got it right. He picked Tiger to win this year’s Masters Tournament based upon Tiger’s demeanor and how he was going about things. It was not completely about how well he was playing although that was certainly part of it. David’s explanation was that Tiger had the look again and seemed calm, diligent, and with purpose in what he was doing. If you watched the tournament, you could definitely see it.

A key point with this is that your IT Organization’s success is dependent upon how you and your team go about your business as much as what you do. It’s not all about doing things technically correct. Soft skills and communicating effectively make huge differences with your IT support clients.

6 Takeaways from Tiger’s Masters win
There are 6 things I got out of Tiger’s miraculous win that I think are worth noting because they can be beneficial for IT managers to be aware of and appreciate.

1.  Plan – Tiger had a plan. Well, “That sounds obvious!”, you might say. Most players have a game plan going into a tournament. Tiger’s plan was pretty simple and ultimately comes down to this:

  1. Keep the ball below the hole. (Augusta National greens are notoriously fast and putting from below the hole lets you be more aggressive.)
  2. Put the ball in the right spots on drives, iron shots, even on long putts. If you miss, miss it in areas that give you better odds of recovery.

Takeaway:  For IT managers to succeed, you have to have a plan. Those who plan achieve more success.

2.  Preparation – Tiger prepared even when you might not have realized it. In the few tournaments he played leading up to the Masters, he worked on specific shots that he knew would be important at Augusta National. Things like drawing and fading a driver off the tee and moving the ball left or right and high or low as required with his irons. . . in tournament pressure situations . He has been preparing for this tournament since winning the Tour Championship last September.

Takeaway:  Preparation is key to success. Teaching your employees how to prepare and what to prepare for will help your IT organization achieve more success. When they succeed, you can succeed.

3.  Experience – Tiger had to regain the experience of winning. He had to relearn how it feels to be in contention on the final afternoon of a major. He did that with the British Open and PGA Championship last year, then winning the Tour Championship boosted his confidence to a point that he knew he could win major championships again.

Takeaway:  Experience is critical for success and confidence comes with small wins that lead to bigger wins. It’s all about the process of doing the right things that lead to success.

4.  Knowledge – Knowledge and experience played a huge part in Tiger’s win. His knowledge of his game and how he was playing plus considerable knowledge of Augusta National’s course and the greens were big advantages for Tiger in my opinion. He also reinforced within himself to remain patient throughout the tournament, something that’s hard for most of us to do. Even when things were not going as well as planned, Tiger remained patient and stayed confident about the good things that were to come if he kept doing the “right things”.

Takeaway:  In IT, we must gain the knowledge of what is required to support the business so we are in sync with what the business needs and positioned to deliver business value for our clients. It’s not all about technology. Our IT success is dependent upon understanding the business.

5.  Focus – If you watched the tournament, you saw Tiger focused like a laser. One of the scenes I loved was when Tiger and Rory McIlroy were practicing in a bunker side by side on the 2nd day. Rory kept glancing over at Tiger, but Tiger never once looked away from what he was focusing on. He was like that on the course as well, truly focused on what he and he alone was doing.

Takeaway:  IT employees can’t focus if their manager doesn’t provide the focus. Let me rephrase this a bit. Employees will focus on what they think is important; it’s up to IT managers to help insure their focus is targeted appropriately.

6.  Positive thinking – Tiger Woods has a huge capacity for thinking positively. Just listen to his press interviews and you pick it up immediately. I think this has a lot to do with how his Mom and Dad raised him; it’s part of who he is. In one interview after a round where he missed several short putts, he was asked about his putting. His response was,  “My lines are good and as long as I’m leaving myself below the hole like I have been, I’ll be ok.”. . . meaning, he was hitting the putts on his intended line but they just weren’t going in due to speed or a misread. Because he was putting uphill, he didn’t 3-putt much.

Takeaway:  This is key! As long as you are doing the right things and making your best efforts, ultimately you will be successful. It may take a while and you may fail several times before you reach that success, but if you are patient and persevere in continuing to do the right things success will find you.

I can hardly wait to see how golf’s next major championship unfolds and learn from it.

New IT Manager Training Planned for 2019

My main focus for IT Manager training in 2019 will be developing new Practical IT Manager Training Series classes. Plus, I’ll delver 2 or 3 online IT Manager Institute & ITBMC Certification classes this year.

Take a look at the planned classes for the months ahead:

Appreciate the good things

Life goes in cycles. So does work and your career. There are good times and there are, , , well, let’s just say “challenging” times. We all experience it, and it occurs both professionally and personally.

My thoughts about all of this are that, “If things are good, enjoy and appreciate the good times because sooner or later something is going to disrupt it.”

Likewise, if things are going badly for you, hang in there because eventually your situation is going to improve.

How you look at a situation can make a big difference.

I could give you many examples of this, but I’ll share a current situation.

My family was recently in the hospital and a skilled nursing/rehab facility for just over 2 months (from February 10th thru April 12th).

Our son, Eddie, had a fall and broke his left elbow badly. The surgery to insert a plate and screws went very well, but he had major complications with a drug reaction to the antibiotics.

He got a severe case of what is called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. It’s really bad and can even be life threatening. Eddie had a very bad case of it. Look it up and you’ll see just how dangerous this situation is.

Should have been a 2 or 3-day stay after his surgery that turned into a 2-month ordeal. The worst part was that Eddie was in excruciating pain due to the rash and blisters that covered him from head to toe, , , it was like serious burns both inside and outside his body.

All of this is complicated by the fact that Eddie suffered a massive brain injury in 1993 from a car accident. His short term memory is very bad so when he has an issue, Dorine or I are always with him. Some might call this being “over protective”, but our reasoning is to insure those who are caring for Eddie always have accurate information, something he is not always able to give them.

We were finally able to return home just over a week ago and Eddie is improving daily so the most difficult times are behind us. Home Care nursing and physical therapy have begun to help him along. Eddie still has challenges but good times are ahead of us.

The reason I share this story is to emphasize the need to always look at your situation as a “glass that is half full”, , , not “half empty”.

This is hard to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal challenge or maybe a professional challenge you’re facing.

Staying positive is hard at times, but it’s important for you and those around you for you to be as positive as you can.

One of the things Dorine and I believe very strongly is that Eddie’s recovery from the auto accident 26 years ago was helped because we kept looking at “what can be” versus giving up when the doctors and nurses kept telling us he will never be able to do anything based upon the severity of his head injury. You only need to meet Eddie once to see he has far surpassed all of the expert’s forecasts.

My point – positive reinforcement does make a difference.

You also don’t have to look far to see a situation that is far worse than your set of circumstances. Believe me, our family knows this well.

So here is the thing that I try to reinforce with myself often and want to emphasize with you.

Learn to appreciate the good things! 

If things are going well in your life and professionally, , , appreciate the fact that they are. Setbacks hit us all at one time or another so enjoy your successes and happiness that you are experiencing right now.

If you happen to be in the midst of a setback, , , try to stay positive. It will eventually turn around and get better. Plus, who knows, , , the positive energy you create might just help turn your misfortune around.

I believe challenges and setbacks build character. You can’t truly enjoy and appreciate the good times if you haven’t experienced a few bad times.

We don’t have “highs” without having some “lows”. The setbacks you encounter may actually change your life for the better. I have seen this with my own career (a story for another time) and with others.

So, keep your head up, think positively, and do good things that make a positive difference in other people’s lives. I think you will find that it repays you many times over.

Watch my videos from the IT Leader GROWTH SUMMIT

Recently, I participated in the IT Leader GROWTH SUMMIT 2018, an all online event targeted to helping IT managers improve their success. The reason I participated was because it reinforces my company mission: “helping IT managers of the world achieve more success”.

There were over 50 speakers from many parts of the world during the 1-week agenda so it was truly an international event. Lots of fun plus I learned some things.

My participation was twofold.

First was an interview we recorded on the topic, “Attack the Triple Threat to IT Success to Achieve More”. It includes a short training segment followed by a candid interview with me about aspects of the Triple Threat that exists in companies around the world.

The second part was to lead a group discussion on the topic, “Let’s Chat About the Modern IT Organization”.

Discussions in this session include:
– What do you focus on initially in a new CIO role?
– How do you position IT more strategically?
– How can IT break out of the purely technical narrative?
– What is the role of the IT Leader in strategic business discussions?
– Who are the people in the C-Suite that the IT Leader should partner with?
– Is communication that important? And if yes, what type of communication?

Using Priority Matrix in IT – a Case Study

Priority Matrix is a powerful task management and workflow system that gives businesses in all industries significant advantages in productivity and accountability. While it delivers value for all levels of managers and employees, it is especially adaptable for IT organizations.

I discovered Priority Matrix by accident. Actually, people in Appfluence (the company that developed Priority Matrix) discovered and contacted me about the possibility of interviewing me to learn more about IT managers and IT organizations.

Inquiries like this happen fairly often and I don’t think too much of them, but on a rare occasion I stumble upon something special. This was the case with Priority Matrix.

At first, “I didn’t get it!” They gave me a demo and walked me through the system and I was impressed, , , sort of. Then I started using the system on a real project and WOW, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I suddenly realized that I had actually stumbled upon a system that will change the way you work and help you become significantly more productive as well as improve accountability and communication within your organization.

These are strong words so I think taking a look at a new user will be of benefit.

Background
Strattec is a large global manufacturing company based in Wisconsin. The company makes customized auto parts for many of the automobile manufacturers. Beth Ackley is their Director of Information Services. I first met Beth in 2004 when she attended my 4th IT Manager Institute. Since then she has put many of her managers through the program.

As I’ve gotten to know Beth I have always been struck by the fact that she approaches her IT support business very practically and she has a keen sense for supporting the business and delivering business value. In our discussions it is always apparent she is motivated as the Head of IT to help her company be more successful.

I worked with Appfluence for a few months to better understand the Priority Matrix system and to create some targeted IT manager templates. Then, I created an awareness campaign in late June of 2017 to make IT Manager Institute graduates aware of the power of the system.

One of the first to show an interest was Beth. Her comment to me was, “We were just talking about needing to find something that addresses our task management needs that will also help us attain better accountability and improve productivity.”

After doing her due diligence work and taking advantage of the Priority Matrix free trial period, Beth purchased licenses for her team.

I initially interviewed her after she had gained about 60 days of experience in using Priority Matrix. Then, we talked again after about a year of experience with Priority Matrix.  Here is what I found.

Implementation approach
Beth initially rolled the system out to just her IT managers and a few key people so they could gain insight and experience in using the new tool. This “test group” focused on discovering the best ways to use the system within Strattec and how to bring new users up to speed. Their implementation included internal training along with training from Appfluence plus I spent time with Beth to show her some of the highlights I had discovered in using the system.

At the time I caught up with Beth to explore how her team was using Priority Matrix she had 26 people in her IT organization using the system. Her ultimate goal was to have the entire IT team of about 45 IT employees using Priority Matrix by end of the year.

Her team stays very busy as do most IT organizations these days. In the interview she indicated they had approximately 65 active projects underway in various stages. Many of these projects are now managed and tracked using Priority Matrix.

While Beth’s IT team initiates efforts to standardize certain project types and processes using Priority Matrix, she stated that each person tends to use the system individually or a bit differently than the next person. This is an important aspect of Priority Matrix; it is very flexible so the system adapts to how you want to use it, not forcing you to use it in a predefined way.

One comment she made was that one of her senior software developers became productive with the system in about 10 minutes. My sense with this is that there are two reasons:

  1. The system is very intuitive.
  2. A quick orientation from a more experienced user makes the learning much faster.

Benefits in using Priority Matrix
Beth talked about many early benefits she and her management team are experiencing. Below is a list of key benefits she is getting from Priority Matrix:

  1. Master List – This feature allows you to see all your To Do’s for the week plus you can see across your team and what they need to get done. This makes you aware of what’s going on and puts you in better control. Beth believes this feature is really a strong selling point of the system.
  2. Eliminates confusion – Each customer has a Priority Matrix project which creates a single place to record all to do’s and issues that take place with the customer.
  3. Collaboration – The ability to collaborate in real time to resolve issues, complete tasks, and to discuss things proactively improves productivity and helps you get things done.
  4. Ability to find things easily – All the components dealing with a project, a client or whatever you use Priority Matrix to track can be stored in one place. This makes finding things easier and much more productive than the “folder chaos” we normally go through.
  5. Reduced e-mail clutter significantly – Because tasks and issues are handled interactively and updates are “real time”, significant amount of e-mail churn is eliminated. No more need to send e-mails back and forth to get updates on issues. This has a dual effect in that huge amounts of e-mail are eliminated plus being able to find prior correspondence is quick and easy by searching within the collaboration database. One of Beth’s quotes is, “It also means we don’t have to search through emails to find the tidbit of technical information that someone included in a discussion, but didn’t document in the product spec.”
  6. Deadlines and accountability – The ability to assign responsibility and due dates to tasks allows you to see what’s going on and anticipate things that need to get done. Beth mentioned that one of the great things was to be able to start Monday morning with the ability to all that needs to get done this week.
  7. Heat map – This feature helps you see the workload of your employees so you can make adjustments to balance workload when needed.
  8. Intuitive user interface – One of her programmers picked up the system in 10 minutes. Just a little insight makes using the system quick and easy.

Additional thoughts
Beth and her team are one year into the use of Priority Matrix and they continue to discover additional benefits as they use the system. Their initial experience appears that the system is delivering many tangible benefits and is changing the way they work so her team can become more productive and accountable as they get things done.

Discover more about PRIORITY MATRIX at:  https://appfluence.com/it-management-software/

IT Leader GROWTH SUMMIT 2018

I’ll be presenting in the first IT Leader GROWTH SUMMIT held by Xuviate the week of May 20-24, 2018. This is a FREE online event with over 40 speakers from around the globe on a great list of IT management topics.

REGISTER for FREE and you will receive free access to the presentations during the week of the Summit. They also offer a low cost lifetime All-Access to all presentations. If you decide to take advantage of this, be sure to use the discount code ITLGSMS104 to receive a 25% discount that I negotiated for my audience.

My topic is, Triple Threat to IT Success. In this program I’ll walk you through the 3 key causes of IT failure and what you can do to prevent them followed by interview questions and discussion with the Program Host. After my presentation, Mathias Tolken asks me a few questions and I provide candid input on a few things to help IT managers achieve more.

Many of the Presenters like me include BONUS tools and downloads designed to help you in your IT manager role.