There are many situations where you need to validate the facts before running with unsubstantiated information. It will keep you out of trouble, will prevent you from making big mistakes, and will keep the mud off your face.
I’ve had to learn some of these things the hard way. In fact, anyone got a clean washcloth so I can wipe my face?
Seriously though, here are a few areas to consider getting your facts straight before acting:
A. Hiring people – Always verify the resume information. Anyone can create a great looking resume.
B. Complaints about people – Bickering among employees is going to happen. Be sure you verify the specific issues before taking action; you may find that the circumstances are misstated or that there is misunderstanding of the facts.
C. Selecting vendor products and services – Verify what the vendor is telling you, especially for mission critical functionality or capability. Their customers will be able to shed light on whether the Vendor can deliver and how well they support their client. Ask for more than just two or three happy clients to talk to. Ask to talk to unhappy clients as well; they may tell you things that help you become a successful client of the Vendor.
D. Complaints about clients – Your employees may complain about external clients or company departments. Unless you know the specifics beneath their complaints and have an opportunity to verify these issues really exist, it is premature to try to implement corrective action. I’ve seen too many situations where the IT staff needed to make an improvement or change to allow the client to work with them effectively.
E. “Senior management doesn’t want that !” – There are often situations of the past that were issues where senior management required certain things that no longer exist in today’s environment of the company. What often happens is that the “rumor” that senior management “doesn’t want that” continues to perpetuate itself. An example is that I was in a company where everyone understood that senior management did not allow an overhead paging system. However, when the CEO was asked about it, he replied, “That was when our entire office was one small floor of people and we did not want to interrupt client visits with overhead pages, etc. Today, we are on multiple floors, even in different buildings. If implementing a paging system for our support units helps us support our clients better, then we should implement it by all means.”
F. Client complaints about IT – You need to be careful about taking complaints about IT from a client as 100% solid fact. I joined a company once where several managers in the corporate office suggested I needed to fire one of the IT employees. After looking into the situation, the issue was that there was a significant lack of resource to support our client needs, , , it was not at all a problem with this resource. Once we got the resource capacity in line with the client need, the complaints about this particular employee went away.
The message with all of this is that you need to validate the facts, get specific input to analyze, etc. before taking action. Issues can be very misleading until you get underneath them. You may also find that it is well off the mark due to misinterpretation, a lack of doing the necessary work to discover the real facts of the issue, or even a prejudice or emotional feeling that is coming from the source of the information.
All I can tell you is that when you conduct an IT assessment, you have to listen to the message everyone delivers, but verify the facts before deciding on any action. It will help you be far more successful, , , and “keep the mud off your face”.