Daily Archives: June 7, 2010

Make a decision: Get in the game or get out

Yesterday was a tough, tough day of golf, , , sort of like the archer trying his hardest to hit the bulls eye above but missing time after time. I played about as bad as I can remember, , , seems like this happens more and more.

On Saturday, I didn’t score all that well but I felt I was getting better and positioned to play golf more like I know I can play. The problem is that in the last three years, I’ve just not played very many rounds, , , and like anything, you need to play to be any good at something.

What does this have to do with IT management?

A couple of things actually.

1)  Be thankful for your opportunity
On the worst day, being able to play a round of golf at a beautiful course is a good thing. Far too often, we think of the downside of situations rather than the positives.

When you have a bad day at the office, perk up, , , the odds are good that it is going to turn around, , , tomorrow could be one of your best.

2)  You must prepare yourself
It’s difficult to execute properly when you haven’t prepared yourself. In golf, this means at least some amount of practice and play, , , not three to six times a year like I’ve been doing.

In IT management, it means developing the skills necessary to manage the situations you are going to encounter.

Let’s face it, IT managers have a very difficult job, , , possibly the most difficult management position in your company. It is hard to find anyone in your company who can help you learn the skills necessary and coach you to become an effective IT manager. Senior management can’t help you, , , department managers can’t help.


Because they don’t understand technology or IT people, , , nor do they really want to. Even if they wanted to help you, most would not be able to, , , so IT managers are generally left to figure out things on their own. This can be a TOUGH situation.

To get help, you need to find a mentor or training from someone who has actually managed IT. If you are fortunate (most of us aren’t), , , you have a senior IT manager in your company, , , or possibly someone you know, , ,  who has proven success and can help you develop the management skills you need.

To succeed as an IT manager, you need many different skills, , , most of which were not developed when you were the technical expert in programming, systems administration, , , or even as a Help Desk representative.

You need some key skills, such as:

  • people management
  • client service and client management
  • business assessment
  • IT assessment
  • strategic planning
  • project management
  • budgeting
  • organization and delegation
  • communication
  • leadership and motivation

IT managers are very busy with a lot going on around them. If you aren’t prepared, , , you will constantly find yourself in a reactive mode. Reactive managers have no control over their destiny, , , they end up wherever the wind blows them, , , not a good situation to be in because you rarely end up landing where you want to be.

If at first you do not succeed, , ,
Yesterday when I got home, the final round of the Memorial Golf Tournament was on TV. The ultimate winner was Justin Rose from England. Justin is 29 and it was his first tournament win in the US. He hit the golf stage with a bang as a 17-year old at the British Open (you Brits call it “The Open”). He finished near the top of that tournament and holed a short wedge shot on the 18th to rousing cheers from the gallery, , , a truly bright young Englishman with enormous talent was destined to break onto the golf scene with much success. He turned professional the following week, , , ready to take on the big guys.

Move the clock forward, , , Justin misses the cut in the first 21 tournaments he plays in after turning professional. When you miss the cut, you don’t earn money. He goes from being “on top” as a young amateur who did so well as a 17-year old at The Open to essentially a non-participant for his first year on tour by missing cut after cut.

Finally, after 12 long years on tour, Justin wins his first US tournament this weekend. He did it because of two key attributes within himself:

  1. Perseverance  –  a great attribute for anyone who wants to be successful. Most successful people will tell you that their success did not happen overnight.
  2. Commitment to improvement  –  Justin was an amazing talent at 17, , , but to be competitive on the professional golf circuit, he realized he had a lot to improve to be successful.

3)  Take charge
Just as Justin Rose took charge by committing to improving his game by learning and practicing hours upon hours to get there, an IT manager has to do the same. Sure, you can attain a certain level of success by simply learning the long and hard way through trial and error. Unfortunately, that’s how most of us have had to learn to manage an IT organization.

Or, you can create a targeted improvement program for yourself by learning what you need to know from mentors or from management training programs to develop the skills you need in IT management.

The key is to work with someone who has experience and knowledge in the area you are trying to improve, , , and a track record of success.

The parallel I started with in this BLOG post is with my own personal golf game. Right now, it STINKS!!!! You can “flower it up” and pretend it’s not so bad, but the reality is that my golf game today is pretty awful.

I have two choices just as Justin Rose had, , , and it’s my choice. I can either do something about it, or I can continue to play poorly, , ,  and lower my expectations.

You have the same choices in your IT manager role. You can decide to improve your management skills and your ability to take charge of your career, , , or you can continue to learn as you go along and develop at a slower rate.

For me, I have always been a person who decides to do something about a situation, , , so I’m committing today to start hitting golf balls at least 3-4 days a week, , , and to get some coaching help from someone who understands the golf swing. I may not play that many more rounds but putting in practice will make a difference. I expect the improvements will start showing up in a few weeks.

Hitting more golf balls through practice and play will certainly help, , , but I need a coach if I really want to make a difference in my game, , , someone who can mentor me along and tell me what to do that WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. The positive results I expect will happen much quicker with a golf coach.

If you are interested in learning the processes and skills you need to succeed in your IT manager role, I can help you. Our IT Manager Institute program is recognized by managers in all parts of the world as one of the best and most practical programs to improve IT management effectiveness right out of the class.

I may not know how to fix my golf game, but I do know how to develop successful IT managers, , , by teaching them the things that helped me succeed in over 20 years of managing IT organizations.

Can’t attend a class, take a look at our online Self Study program.

I’ve decided for my golf game, , , it’s time to get in the game !

I encourage you to take a look at your IT management situation. If you want to do something about it, I have a proven formula for success.

When we take charge of our situation, no matter what it is; we can expect to hit our target.