It’s a Wood Pecker!

It's a Wood Pecker!

How can we achieve excellence with limited resources, budgets, training; and a laundry list of IT Project needs and requests. Staying focused on your strengths is a good place to start.

Staying focused for exceptional IT Services and Support

“A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”

~Seth Godin, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit

The Full Scoop

Recently while on an outdoor walk, a passerby pointed to a telephone poll and excitingly exclaimed, "It's a wood pecker, I haven't seen one of those since I was a kid!!".   They were so excited.  As usual, I was too engulfed in my own thoughts to notice and appreciated it being pointed out, to be present in the moment; and I enjoyed viewing their excitement at something that some would consider a less than thrilling experience.

Wood Peckers are amazing creatures, and their success depends on staying focused and doing what they do best.   They aren't ducks, geese or swans; and that is okay - you can't be everything to everyone, but you can stay focused and do what you do best.  Seth Godin once said, “A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”

Our IT Services team often focuses on keeping the right people in the right roles to ensure we are on track for success.  Within our IT Helpdesk for instance, it is important to have people who are able to work with users in a patient, unscripted manner.  You need to be a good critical thinker.  There are some that would not be a good fit for a high pressure technical job, and if we were to place individuals in a position when they are not a good fit; they will fail.

Tom Rath wrote a book some years back called, Strengthsfinder 2.0.  My business partner and I have been reviewing some of his key points.  Not focusing on your weaknesses seems counter intuitive in our culture, but the point for us has been to not to ignore the weaknesses within our IT Services business; but rather to place individuals in the right positions, where they can focus on their strengths and become much more of what they already are.

If we try to use a Wood Pecker to fill the role of a Duck, we may be disappointed.  If someone has limited experience performing software development, but has a talent for debugging complicated issues on our IT Helpdesk; we are going to see if they would like more opportunities to expand their skill set. If a team member struggles with resolving challenging networking and server maintenance issues, but are very organized and people focused; we will move them to an account manager role.

Often organizations use people in the wrong way, and punish the individual rather than understanding where their nature talents reside.  We need to help people become the best of who they are, rather than forcing them into something they are not.  By aligning training with nature talents and experience, we will find our team becoming increasingly competent and competitive.