Tag Archives: motivating employees

Assign a paparazzi to your IT team

PhotographerYou should assign a paparazzi to your IT team and start documenting your journey. You may not realize it, but right now may be one of the best work experiences in your entire career.

There are three companies I look back upon in my career and think of them as my best experiences. Much of what made these situations special has to do with the people I worked with, part of it was the type of work we were doing, and some of it was even the client experiences.

There are two things I wish I had done earlier in my career:

  1. Kept a journal
  2. Taken more photos

No excuse for not keeping a journal, , , just didn’t think about it back then. Wish I had because there were many memorable moments that I know would be worth remembering now.

I keep two journals now, , , one for business and one that’s personal. I don’t write in them every day but try to capture important events and a few things I think will be worth remembering when I’m in my 80’s and 90’s. 🙂

On the photos issue, I do have a reason for lacking more photos. Early in my career we had to use film, , , digital cameras were not around yet. So, the hard copy photos I have are far and few between and many have been lost over time. Digital is so much better. Wish we had digital cameras when I was a kid!

When I stumble upon a hard copy photo from my early career, it usually brings back good memories, , , like the one below.

Mike_BryanThis is Bryan Hathcock, my first IBM manager and one of the best managers I’ve ever worked for, awarding me a $20 gold coin for helping sell the most IBM software applications during a contest period. I remember working hard to help my primary Sales Rep, Jim Cockerham, focus on this objective. Jim is also in the photo (far left) and just seeing Jim and Bryan brings back so many great memories of my “IBM days”. Note the wide tie and jet black hair!

I st$20_Gold_Coinill have my $20 gold coin which is now worth more than $1,000.

I talked to Bryan just last week which may have prompted me to think about writing this post. He is in his 80’s now but hasn’t changed a lot. Hoping to stop by and visit him when I’m in Atlanta in April for our niece’s wedding and share some memories.

Back to the paparazzi idea, , , why do I recommend you assign a paparazzi and start taking photos? Well, there are several reasons:

  • Capturing memories at work may be appreciated later in your life. Like I said, these times may be some of the best you will experience in  your career.
  • Develop slideshows with high energy background music for some of your IT staff meetings, , , especially if you do an annual IT Kickoff Meeting. Your employees like to see themselves on “the big screen” in a slide show. Trust me, it’s great motivational material in a staff meeting. How do I know? Simple, I’ve been an employee and liked it and I’ve also seen it work great with employees who have worked for me.
  • It’s fun, , , and having fun at work from time to time is beneficial for both you and your employees.

In each of my IT Manager Institute classes I assign a paparazzi on the first day to take photos during the class. At the end of the class I give students a flash drive that contains IT management resources plus a file of all the class photos taken during the week. Some of them are truly memorable like the ones below:

CoinsDubai Institute managers showing off their MDE/IT Manager Institute coins

Institute-Tanner_Sep2014-2Tanner Medical managers in a fun class photo

IT Manager Institute - DubaiClass photo of one of my favorite Dubai Institute classes – October 2012
I have delivered 16 IT Manager Institutes in Dubai through 2015
I’m standing next to our paparazzi, Mohammed Abu Deeb from Saudi Arabia

kickoff_photosA small class but what a great group!!! I stay in contact with several of them.

kickoff_6Monika really enjoyed this desert!

18bEd presents Heitor a “Dead Chicken Award” – lots of laughs!

21cLjubljana Institute managers in our “Blues Brothers” pose

21bI’m 5’10” tall, , , Matej and Timor are 7′ tall – material for a memorable photo

institute39-bLagos Nigeria class presents me a painting that now hangs in my home office

Call me sentimental or foolish, but I like to reminisce and remember some of the “fun times” in my career. As you get older, you may discover it happens with you as well.

What type of photos do you want your IT paparazzi to capture? Good question, I recommend the following but don’t limit it to just my ideas:

  • Company events
  • Awards
  • IT employees at work
  • IT employees with your clients (Managers and Users)
  • Meetings
  • Off-site events
  • Cameo or ad hoc photos of your employees

Be creative and have some fun with the process, , , it really does not take a lot of time or effort.

photagrapher_2Take advantage of the motivational aspect work photos give you during IT staff meetings; I think you will find it has much more impact than you believe it will. Over time you will amass quite a library of photos that can be special to show your people “scenes of the past”.

SMILE, , , you are on Candid Camera !!

IT Staff Motivation & Development: build a world class team

IT Staff Motivation and Development: build a world class team
Your competition wants your best people. Keep them with you when you motivate and develop them. This material will not only help you retain your key employees, , , it will also lead to a stronger and more capable team.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Create an enthusiastic team that has everyone focused on the same target and ‘watch out’. Not only is it powerful and something you will remember forever, , , it is also a lot of fun.

This publication goes to the heart of empowering technical resources so they feel good about what they do. Nothing feels more rewarding than when your company and client tells your team that they are doing an excellent job.

Table of Contents

Book excerpts



Buy the entire
Practical IT Manager GOLD Series


Are we having fun yet?

Managing an IT organization is challenging. I believe it is the most challenging and difficult management job in a company.


Primarily because you have to understand the business needs and issues of all departments in the company, , , not just in the IT organization.

Not only that, these issues change often if not daily and even if they did not change, , , technology is changing at such a rapid pace that it puts tremendous pressure on an IT organization.

To say your IT management role can be stressful and include lots of pressure is an understatement. Even when the client isn’t pressing us, , , our personality types cause us to place pressure on ourselves.

IT managers are their “own worst critic”, you know.

You need ways to relieve or reduce the pressure. Work needs to be fun, , , we need to enjoy what we do for a living. If you do not, I can tell you life is too short. If you don’t find ways to enjoy work, , , your life may be much shorter than it should be.

I’ve seen far too many people stay in jobs that are not fulfilling for them and certainly not something they enjoy. Don’t let this happen to you.

I’ve been in a couple of company situations that were awful for me. I’ve also been with companies that were tremendous, , , so I recognize the difference.

From personal experience I can tell you about how stressful it is when you find yourself in a situation where it is all you can do to get up and go to a terrible job that you literally hate what you do.

I can also tell you how exciting it is to be doing something you truly love to do and that you receive gratification in doing. You work harder and longer, but work does not seem like work, , , because you enjoy it so much.

Start today by identifying what makes you happy at work. Better yet, what is the type of work that you enjoy doing. It may be something totally different from what you do today. For me it became a slightly different focus of what I had been doing for over 20 years.

When you find something that makes you want to “jump out of bed each morning and get to work” because you love what you do, , , you are onto something very powerful.

Find this thing you have real passion for and watch out, , , great things can happen.

Learn to have fun at work. Find ways to do things with your employees that helps them have fun as well. An IT organization deals with negative issues much of the time, , , don’t let this be what defines your organization.

You will see, , , when people start having fun at work, can laugh at themselves and others, , , when they enjoy being part of your team, , , tremendous things happen. Create a work environment of “work hard and play hard” and you will see a big difference in what your team can accomplish.

It starts with you, , , if you aren’t having fun and enjoying the challenge it is transferring over to your employees. Find ways to enjoy and embrace the challenges so you can help your team do the same.

Make it a point and remind yourself to do one thing every day that is simply a fun thing to do at work. Over time, it becomes easier and easier to enjoy your day and ultimately it just becomes a normal thing for you.