How many of us have continued to do something in hopes of what we want the outcome to be will all of a sudden just happen? I know I’ve used this thinking from time to time. Putting on an old pair of pants and just hoping “Maybe this time they will fit” even though I haven’t changed a thing about my exercise or diet routine. Even in business we do it. We make excuses for our budget issues, our staffing issues, our sales issues, and even our IT issues. So what do we do about? Well since I am speaking from a bully pulpit of an IT company I will try and address it from that point of view but much of this can be transitioned to anything we want to change.
We meet with many business managers and owners where the conversation starts like this; “We just can’t rely on our IT. It is always down and it takes way too long to get back up and running.” When we ask how they are operating their IT they may say; “Tim who works in X department deals with it for us day to day” or “I know a guy that comes out then we call with issues” or even “The kid in my neighborhood does it for me”. Not saying Tim isn’t smart or the guy they know doesn’t have good intentions or that the kid from the neighborhood doesn’t know how to setup a router and use Google to fix issues. We may then hear that they have tried several versions of the above over the years with similar results. We may here that they think IT is way too expensive and just not worth the effort. But that is the same thinking that resulted in us sitting down to talk with them and if we use it to move forward we will likely end up with very similar results. So what do we do different?
So to me the place to start is with the end result we are seeking. Beginning with the end in mind as Stephen Covey says is always a good idea. In the case of IT for most of us we want it to make our staff more productive, be available more than it is down, be easy to use by our staff and be cost justifiable. This last item is part math and part feelings I know. But you really need to consider if the current state is really costing you money. Either in the form of real money or lost productivity improvement. Trust me this will matter later. Now we aren’t defining the path to get there yet just the end result we want. We have to get into the details of each of these outcomes and understand how to measure them and quantify them. The next step is to evaluate the details of what you are doing today. What isn’t working and what is. In that effort you are defining things you want to keep or emulate in the new path to success and those you for sure need to do differently. After you have clarity about what you are currently doing you should look to peers of similar size and maturity. With me so far? From this point start looking to find resources that seem to speak to the results you have defined and about how they would address the path to get there that aligns with how you see it working differently and better. Now in a lot of cases doing it differently will come along with a different financial structure. You see I intentionally stayed away from saying “More Expensive” because if you defined your outcome and the value of that new normal you will be aligning that with this new structure. If you find that the desired new normal, the new path and the new process to get there don’t align around value then you have to redefine or refine part or all of the plan. From there you start out on a new path with new thinking and new ways of measuring success.
Now I know you might be thinking this sounds like a lot of work and it is. That is because to truly find a new way of thinking and a new path to new results takes energy that your current plan doesn’t have in it. You may also say that what I have told you isn’t enough to help you execute differently enough and I would agree. Just to get the basic framework down has taken us many years of working to define a new way of thinking and putting this much of it down in writing has taken me most of an afternoon. Yes I know I don’t type fast. To fully flesh it out will take more time and energy which I am currently investing for you. What I would ask is if you want to explore this more, sign up for our upcoming event on November 5th (www.businessroadmap.net) where I will spend an hour going into the details and answering you questions so you can apply this new way of thinking to your IT and other aspects of your business life. If after that event you still think you need more help you can let me know and we will be glad to come out and sit down with you to talk even more.
So if you aren’t happy with what you are getting will you do something different about it?