How's your MTC?
What makes an IT Company great? Do you feel like your IT Firm or Technology Team are at times falling short of their potential? Let's dive into the core attributes that make ordinary IT companies, exceptional IT companies.
- Great IT People do make great IT Companies
- Align an individual's competencies with their responsibilities
- Provide support and make changes if needed
The Full Scoop
Many years ago, in a galaxy very close to home, a good friend called me for some help. He had been studying web design and had been hired by a local Tampa business to make changes to their website. This is a skill set he had been working on developing, and he was very excited about having a new opportunity in technology, there was only one problem... he could not code.
Years ago a book came out, StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. In it Tom explains, we shouldn't try to fix our flaws; instead we should go all in on developing our strengths. When I read it, I'll admit, I didn't entirely agree with all of his positions on personal development. What about Rocky?!?! What if Rocky had given up at boxing and stuck with Paulie at the meat packing plant, only focus on your strengths; how un-American!
Well, there needs to be a balance; right? While we don't give up on something, just because we are failing, that does not mean we cannot become great. We have found that employees need three things to thrive; Competency in a subject matter, Motivation, and Training.
What you don't have in one area, needs to be made up for in the other. I have met engineers who were not well trained - but they were so incredibly motivated, and competent, that they could figure out any challenge thrown at them.
On the other hand, I have met individuals working on IT Helpdesk's who have had exceptional amounts of training (you could even have solutions scripted out for them); but a lack of motivation and competency, just made it not work. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
On an individual level, we want to see that someone is self-motivated, competent in an area and trained. If they come in the door without all the skills they need, fine - not a deal breaker. An aptitude to learn, desire and a schoolroom of opportunity can do wonders. Some of our best engineers and technicians, started off with positive attitudes and a desire to learn and grow; and they flourished.
Great individuals make up great teams and companies. When someone is struggling to perform, identify where the core issues reside. Is it a motivation issue, hopefully not - that is a near impossible one to fix. Is it a training or process delivery issue, we can solve that. If it is competency and the individual is well motivated and has been trained, perhaps you need to find areas within the team were the individual can be successful. Unfortunately at times, the best decision is to part ways. The broader team and company can't be held back, if someone is not a good fit for their position.
As you focus on the core elements that make a team member successful, avoid casting blame or rushing to judgement. Failures within an IT Business are often the result of many conflicting issues, not just one problem and not just one person. Find and speak openly with your team about their core competencies, and when they are self-motivated and properly trained; you will begin to enjoy great successes as an organization.
Great People (with the right tools and preparation) make Great Companies.