So you've hit a road block in your career. What do you do next?
If the problem is you messed up, you need to:
That should get you back on track. That and steady performance on upcoming projects.
Now for some more detail...
Criminals are making millions of dollars from ransomware, like WannaCry.
If you are a victim, there may be a way to avoid paying the average $700 per machine to 'release' your data back to you.
As WannaCry makes it's rounds, I've delegated to an expert on how to not pay ransomeware fees. The article is from Kreb's on Security.
The key referenced sites are:
If you only remember three things from this article they should be:
There are some really good points from How to Harden Your Computer Against Ransomware from Bleeping Computer. The key ones are:
Do you need a reason to run a virus free business? Here's four reasons to protect your company:
Being exposed to a virus can:
As I type this, hundreds of thousands of computers around the world are being held ransom by the WannaCry / WannaCrypt / WannaDecrypt virus.
WannaCry only affects computers running Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003. If you are running these Operating Systems, go to Microsoft's TechNet for more information and the links to download the security patches.
As this is a leadership blog and not a tech blog, here are tips for you to guide your IT Security Team so your ass doesn't get put into a sling with new ransomware.
If you're the leader of a company that is considering outsourcing, you've got some in-depth planning ahead.
With your executive team, you need to divide your services into essential services and support services, also respectively referred to as 'core' and 'non-core' services.
So how do you decide which services are essential and which are support?
When I was at a large multi-national IT firm, the corporate gurus implemented a program to reduce staffing costs and increase profits. They called it "LEAN". We called it 'Layoff Every American Now'. A funny take on an initiative that cut approximately 10,000 jobs from the North American workforce. Including highly tenured, competent people I had worked with closely.
You've found out your job is to be outsourced. What can you do?
At this point in the game, not a helluva lot. You're going to need to look for a new job.
Your corporate leaders have decided that reducing costs is the only way to stay competitive, maybe the only way to keep the business viable at any level. They have been tossing outsourcing around for months at the executive level. They have investigated what the competitors are doing and how they are doing it. They've looked at other industries to see what hurdles they've faced and what lessons they can learn.
So what can you do to land on your feet in the best possible position?
CIBC (a Canadian bank with $500 B in assets ~ $360B US) is eliminating up to 130 jobs in its Toronto finance department and sending the work to India. Staff losing their positions must train other local CIBC employees, who will then train workers in India to take over the jobs.
This alone sounds odd. Skilled staff training 'trainers' to train other people to do the work? Sounds highly inefficient. Talk about losing core knowledge.
When I worked for IBM, on every job I sold, nine out of 10 positions had to go to either Brazil, India, Russia or China. Terrible. But what can you do about it? I'll tell you what you can do about it. But first, let's look at the impact of outsourcing.
In 'The Golden Passport' a book to be published about now, journalist Duff McDonald states:
Citing a report from the Aspen Institute, Mr. McDonald explains that “when students enter business school, they believe that the purpose of a corporation is to produce goods and services for the benefit of society.”
Many decades ago, probably way before most of the readers of this website were born, and way before the internet was born, there was a President of the United States by the name of Ronald Regan. He had a Secretary of State, George Shultz.
Mr. Shultz has popped out of the woodwork, at the grand age of 96, to offer some advice to today's generation. That advice is to take one hour a week per week for quiet reflection. Mr. Shultz would tell his secretary to only interrupt him if his wife or the President called. The author called it the Shultz hour.
It's a great idea to take one hour a week for reflection, provided you do more reflection during the course of the week. Otherwise you will never be able to keep on top of items to progress your career.
Paradoxically, taking time out to get organized will make you more productive. It's called 'sharpening the saw'. A phrase coined by Stephen Covey. The theory is you make more progress cutting wood (working) with a sharp saw blade than a dull one.
When you're in a deep hole, and you want to get out, the first thing to do is to stop digging!
Uber hasn't seemed to realize this. They hire bright people, some would even say superstars, and then put them into a caustic environment that forces them out after a short stay.
The PR and Policy Guru, Rachel Whestone, saw that her influence could not change the culture at Uber. After a few short months, she's resigned. She was trying to put the best face on numerous scandals including underhanded techniques at avoiding regulation, attacking it's competitor Lyft and the numerous sexual harassment claims. Sometimes you need to get out to keep your sanity.
She is only one of many high profile people to leave the embattled juggernaut.
For corporate change to take place, the leader needs to articulate a vision, get people on side and then design and implement a plan to change the behaviour.
Uber is lead by a the maniacal Travis Kalanick, whose notorious behaviour enables many of his employees to emulate his behaviour, causing a caustic work environment. The only goal is 'winning'. With winning being narrowly defined as "getting a big bag of money, regardless of who gets stomped on and to hell with their feelings of worth as human beings."
Unless Travis changes, as I've said before, this company is doomed.
Uber is the exact opposite of what Level 4 Leadership promotes, which is helping companies succeed with leaders who care about people. Empowerment. Collaboration. Coaching. Trust. By creating a positive, safe environment for people to be their best.
If you're from Uber, let me know and I'll send you a discount code. Your team can use help.
In order to solve the problem, you need to look at the root causes of the problem, not just the symptoms. If you address the symptoms, the problem will reoccur. If you address the root cause, the problem will go away, leaving you looking like a genius.
In the pressure packed environment most IT professionals work in, time is critical. Time that a solution isn't in the hands of a customer is time your competitors are working to take your customer away from you. If your servers are down or running slow, customers may not continue with the on-line sale, or they may head off to a competitor's site to find the information they need. You can't afford those situations. You need to be always improving your service levels.
I took over one team that provided application management services. Part of the services were to review data logs first thing in the morning, before any development work occurred. Running through these logs took hours and no one was enthusiastic to be reading them. We're not talking Game of Thrones or Ernest Hemingway. These were dry statistics. For the most part, the report status was "operating within parameters". But the reports were detailed and the lines needed to be checked.
As our workload was increasing, we had to find time somewhere, as increasing our staffing wasn't an option. The reports were one of the areas we looked. We could have encouraged people to 'read faster'. We could have reviewed the reports every other day, instead of daily. We could have ignored the reports until the system alerted us to a failure. Those options would have had their own set of negative consequences.
The question we were answering was "how do we read through the reports faster?" Which was the wrong question.
The right question was "Do we need these reports"? The answer was "yes'. Which lead us to the follow-on question "What do you need about these reports?" The answer was "we need the exception remarks". We needed to know about items that fall outside of our normal operating guidelines.
We then set about creating reports that consolidated only the exception items. This resulted in our team saving many hours per day on reviewing reports, and allowing us to enhance other areas of our services.
By asking and answering the right questions, we were about to get to the root cause of the problem.
Leadership advice to advance your career.