Being a great leader — whether you’re already in an executive position or looking to be promoted to one — requires strong emotional intelligence. And an important part of emotional intelligence is the ability to keep negativity out of your communication and interaction with other people. Negative thinking and emotion prevents you from getting results both for yourself and with others. What’s more, negativity can spread stress like it’s contagious — studies have shown that negative thoughts transmit stress-producing hormones that affect those around you.
Even if you have high emotional intelligence, you may be putting out negative vibes without realizing it. Here are five subtle but common ways you might not know you’re being negative, and what to do if you spot yourself engaging in them.
Not accepting compliments
For many people, responding to compliments with a demurral is an instinctive reaction. If you’re told you did a good job, your instinct may be to downplay the sentiment by crediting someone else, insisting it wasn’t that hard, or even saying you were just lucky. You may think you’re being humble — but this type of reaction actually undermines your confidence and makes it harder for other people to trust your skills or abilities.
Instead of demurring, learn to accept compliments with grace (and a dash of humility). Own your positive actions or accomplishments, even if your response is a simple “thank you” with no further discussion on the subject of the compliment.
Negating a positive
Negative inferences happen when you make a positive statement, and then follow it up with something negative that undermines the effect. For example, you might say, “My last performance review was fantastic, but I’m still not making the salary I should.”
The first part of this statement is positive and worth both consideration and discussion. But when it’s followed immediately with negativity, the positive value goes out the window — and suddenly you’re one of those people who always sees the glass as half empty. Negative inferences crush enthusiasm and prevent others from taking your side.
Instead, keep your positive statements positive and focused on your options. For example, you might say, “My last performance review was fantastic, so now I’m going to work on presenting my accomplishments better so I can negotiate a higher salary.”
Reacting too quickly
When something goes wrong, people have a tendency to react — and in the heat of the moment, your reaction might be less than emotionally intelligent. For instance, if a team member says something unfortunate during a meeting, you might approach them after the meeting with a comment along the lines of, “That was a stupid thing to say!” This type of reaction is not constructive, and can quickly break down relationships.
A better way to handle moments like these is to focus on responding, instead of reacting. When you respond to a problem, issue, or negative situation, you give yourself time to consider what really happened and why it might have happened — and then formulate a thoughtful reply that is constructive and considerate.
“Yeah, but…” mode
Everyone’s said it from time to time. Someone makes a suggestion, and you want to agree, but you immediately calculate the problems with the idea and your response sentence starts with “Yeah, but…”
This opening is a blocker. The word “but” dismisses anything positive that came before it, and makes collaboration with other people difficult. If you find yourself saying “Yeah, but” frequently, people will lose interest in listening to you.
Instead of agreeing, and then immediately disagreeing, focus on validating ideas that you believe are worthy, and offering possible changes or alternatives for those that don’t quite seem there yet. Keep the “but” out of your responses.
Bringing others down to raise yourself up
Emotionally intelligent people understand that the path to success is not forged by blatantly stepping on others along the way. However, you could be engaging in a more subtle form of diminishing other people, through statements that contain gossip or put-downs — even if they seem innocuous.
Besides the risk of having these negative comments get back to the people you’ve made them about, the person you’re talking to may wonder what you’re saying about them to others. If you’re tempted to put someone else down in order to feel better, ask yourself what your real motivation is for making these damaging statements. It might be insecurity about your own performance, jealousy of someone else’s abilities, or simply just a bad habit of engaging in gossip.
This type of negativity can be the most difficult to overcome — but it’s also the most rewarding. When you have genuine respect and kindness for others, they’ll reciprocate, and you’ll be better positioned for leadership.
Want to learn more about being an emotionally intelligent leader? Contact the staffing and recruiting experts at The Armada Group. We can help you find – and retain – the best in IT management and professionalism.
The role of the IT manager is changing as rapidly as technology itself. And while the normal mode of operation for IT concerning internal end users used to be rigid control over technology choices, many of today’s CIOs and other IT leaders are realizing the benefits of saying “yes” to user requests for new technologies, while finding ways to maintain standards and mitigate risk.
In the past, IT managers were able to tell employees and end users that they had access to the best technology available — even if it wasn’t completely true. But today’s employees have access to the latest apps and industry information. They’re savvy, they know what’s out there, and they want the right tools for the job.
On the other hand, allowing access to any tool your employees want to use can create security risks and productivity issues. Here’s how to balance end user demands for new technologies with best practices and a degree of control, so you can bridge the gap for end users across departments.
Give end users tools that work
Many CIOs are realizing that when employees use tools they don’t have permission to use, it’s not because they’re contrary or looking to break the rules. They just want to get their jobs done — and if a tool helps them accomplish that, they’re going to use it. Often this means the tools IT has made available to them simply aren’t working well.
It’s important to make sure you’ve authorized tools, apps, and services that help employees do their jobs. You may have enterprise solutions in place that are confusing, or that don’t integrate well with existing systems. This is when employees start to look for workarounds in the form of easier tools that may or may not be authorized.
How can you figure out what users want? One strategy is to use a cloud visibility solution like Skyhigh to see what services employees are actually using — and instead of restricting usage, look for common needs and deploy solutions that address them. For example, if a lot of end users are engaged in file sharing, look into the app or apps that would work best for them without risking security, and authorize its use.
Collaborate on tech budgets
Even as technology expands and advances, many IT budgets are shrinking. The primary reason is that other departments are receiving higher budgets for technology investments — marketing, for example, typically invests heavily in analytics and Big Data strategies. For many organizations, marketing departments are becoming the largest software centers.
Rather than fight this shift, CIOs and IT managers would fare better by cooperating with other departments and gaining a say in how technology budgets are allocated across the organization.
Separate departmental decisions on IT spending can fragment an infrastructure and cause more headaches for IT. Instead, tech leaders should focus on working cross-departmentally and acting in an advisory capacity for marketing, sales, HR, and others with budgetary discretion. It’s easier to create a unified solution that successfully integrates with multiple systems from the start, than to throw a bunch of disparate systems together and try to patch things over after the investments have been made.
The new role of the IT manager is to bridge technology gaps for end users throughout the organization, and keep things running smoothly, efficiently, and securely. Being open to saying “yes” more often, and willing to cooperate with other departments, is the key to success in today’s business IT landscape. For more information on how to use this knowledge to benefit your organization, contact the IT recruiting experts at The Armada Group.
What makes a great leader? There are nearly as many definitions as there are leaders in IT, but certain characteristics tend to stand out when you consider outstanding IT leaders. And if you’re aspiring to greatness as a leader in your field, emulating these characteristics will help you improve your own performance as well as your team’s — and place your career on the path to success.
Here are five tips that will help you understand what makes an outstanding leader, and how to implement best practices in your own leadership career to achieve greatness.
1. Communicate effectively
Do you assign tasks or projects to your team, only to find that the end results are far from what you had in mind when you implemented the project? Does your team ask you a lot of questions that you feel they should know the answers to? Are there frequent disagreements among your team about how, when, and with whom work should proceed? If these problems are present, you may have communication issues.
Great leaders are able to describe what they want done succinctly and clearly. The key to effective communication is considering not only what you’re saying, but how the people you’re addressing will receive your message. If you can’t communicate your vision, your team won’t be working toward the same goal — and the end results will suffer.
2. Embrace delegation
Some people in leadership positions subscribe to the philosophy that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what leadership is all about — motivating and inspiring others to perform to the best of their abilities.
The ability to delegate is an essential quality for a great leader. You can’t do everything yourself — and you shouldn’t, because your team will suffer. Failure to delegate tasks (without micromanaging the implementation of the tasks you’ve assigned) demonstrates a lack of trust in your team, which leads to a breakdown of loyalty and motivation.
3. Generate confidence
Outstanding leaders know that confidence breeds confidence. This means remaining confident in the abilities of your team when things are going right — and when they’re going wrong. One small crisis can set off a chain reaction of issues and problems, especially in IT. If you react negatively to everything that goes wrong, you’ll create an atmosphere of uncertainty and doubt that will severely impact productivity.
Maintain a positive attitude, and remind everyone on your team — including yourself, if necessary — that setbacks are natural and expected. When you remain calm and confident through a crisis, you help to keep everyone on track and working toward the common goal.
4. Walk the walk
When making a distinction between bosses and leaders, it’s common to point out that bosses talk, but leaders walk. The very best leaders are those who lead by example — you can’t expect your team to turn in their best performances, unless you’re putting forth your best efforts too.
Commitment is a vital quality for outstanding leaders. You need to demonstrate through your actions that you’re committed to producing great work right along with the team — in other words, you need to be the person you want to lead.
5. Hone your sense of humor
One of the easiest ways to spot a great leader is to observe the workplace environment. Are the employees excited and engaged? Do they show up every day with a positive attitude, and look forward to tackling the challenges ahead? If this is the case, you’re sure to find a leader with a great sense of humor at the head of the team.
The ability to find humor in struggles and challenges can transform your work environment, creating a happy and healthy space that your team will enjoy coming to every day. Learn to laugh at yourself, even in the midst of crisis, and you’re well on your way to becoming an outstanding IT leader.
If you need more help distinguishing these characteristics in your management team, or yourself, contact the recruiting experts at The Armada Group today. We know what it takes to cultivate a strong leadership team, and have a wide talent network of top candidates who exhibit the five traits mentioned above.
Working from home is a dream for many IT professionals. It’s great to imagine reducing your commute to a few steps down the hallway, wearing pajamas to work, and never having to deal with office politics again — not to mention being able to set your own schedule and rates, and making enough money to have an in-ground pool as your office.
But the fact is, while the work-at-home lifestyle is portrayed as easy and carefree, it’s not so easy to actually work while you’re at home, surrounded by endless distractions. It takes some serious discipline and practice to stay focused, but it can be done.
Here’s a great collection of must-read advice for staying productive while you work from home.
Let go of telecommuting myths
When you work from home, you’ll be your own boss and have plenty of free time — or will you? It’s important to realize, especially when you’re first starting out, that you’ll have to work hard for several different bosses on all the freelance IT projects you take to reach success (but ultimately, you have the final say in what you do or don’t work on).
Microsoft’s Crabby Office Lady takes a look at common telecommuting myths, and offers tips on getting work-from-home to work for you.
Learn the 10 Commandments (of working from home)
From actually getting ready for work in the morning — even though you’re not going anywhere — to making time for your physical and mental needs, this checklist is a must-read for anyone considering or already working in a telecommuting environment. The bonus commandment also helps you maintain your friendships, which will be invaluable when the isolation of working from home gets to you.
Thou shalt read and remember the 10 Commandments of Working From Home.
Find out if you’re the work-from-home type
Telecommuting is not the right choice for everyone. If you don’t work well without direction, or depend on interaction with other people to get you through the day, you may flounder when the only person holding you accountable and keeping you going is you. You also need to have a real working space, and the ability to separate your personal and professional lives.
Find out why Entrepreneur.com says that Working From Home is Hard Work.
Get the lowdown on eating well at home
A lot of people who work from home find their eating habits dropping drastically into the poor to disastrous range — they might end up constantly snacking at the computer, or “forget” to eat for hours (or days). It takes a little planning, but balancing your nutritional needs with your work-from-home lifestyle is essential for keeping up motivation and productivity.
Lifehacker discusses how to eat well while working from home.
Avoid becoming a hermit
Another common problem for telecommuters is the sense of isolation. Spending the majority of your day alone, when email may be your only contact with other people, can take a toll on your mental health, creativity, and ability to produce. Fortunately, there are many ways you can alleviate the isolation and still work from home successfully.
Inc.com discusses this and more with 8 Ways to Be Happy and Productive in Your Home Office.
Know how to work from home…with kids
For a parent, working from home can be a fantastic opportunity to earn a living without having to shell out for daycare and juggle transportation. The ability to have a flexible schedule and be there for your kids is priceless — but making things work when you’re surrounded by little ones can take some extra effort.
One work-from-home mom shares her secrets to success in How to work from home without losing your mind.
Discover your personal productivity boosters
Everyone has different work habits. The best way to be successful as a telecommuter is to find what makes you most productive, and work it into your routine. There are plenty of out-of-the-box strategies that can help you keep things running smoothly in your home office.
Check out these productive work-at-home hacks from Lifehack to get started.
If you need help implementing successful work-from-home tactics, or are searching for a career with flexible hours and telecommuting options, contact the recruiting experts at The Armada Group today.
What web-based company has the world’s largest Hadoop cluster? Surprisingly, it’s not Google, Facebook, or even Twitter — it’s Yahoo!, with 455 petabytes of data stored on over 100,000 CPUs in more than 40,000 servers. The company’s biggest Hadoop cluster, at around 4,500 nodes, is around four times the size of Facebook’s largest cluster.
Hadoop is a hot topic in today’s tech world, especially when it comes to Big Data. As more organizations work toward mining and implementing Big Data strategies, the use of Hadoop on a larger scale is set to become the new standard for practical, results-driven applications of data mining.
What is Hadoop, and why does it matter?
At the most basic definition, Hadoop is a free, open source software library that makes useful, cost-effective processing of Big Data possible. The Hadoop library, developed by the Apache Software Foundation, is built on underlying technology that was invented by Google to index the massive amounts of data collected by the search engine and transform it into relevant results for searchers.
Hadoop consists of four modules — Hadoop Common, Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), Hadoop YARN, and Hadoop MapReduce — and includes several compatible add-ons such as programming languages and databases, which enhance the real-world applications of the library.
Providing scale and flexibility for large data projects, on a basis that’s affordable for both enterprise and small business, makes Hadoop an attractive solution with endless potential.
The appeal of Hadoop
As Yahoo! has come to realize, Hadoop provides a wide range of flexible, scalable capabilities and vastly increased potential for the real application of Big Data. In most large organizations today, data is siloed — stored and worked with in separate systems with little to no cross-functionality. Large-scale Hadoop installations make it possible for organizations to share data quickly, easily and effectively, with strong security measures still in place to prevent data breaches and malware attacks.
With an organization’s data stored collectively, Hadoop installations can then run YARN to manage data ecosystems. Hadoop YARN is a framework that provides job scheduling and cluster resource management, enabling the system to spread resources out sufficiently across multiple machines and deliver increased flexibility. The YARN framework also maintains redundancy to guard against data loss and system failure.
With YARN, engineers and developers can work immediately on small clusters within a larger deployment, and collaborate with others without sacrificing security.
Combining Hadoop with other systems
Within Hadoop, there are several distinct systems that can be operated independently, but still remain part of the larger ecosystem. This includes elements such as Hbase, the non-relational distributed database for Hadoop; Pig, a high-level platform for large-set data analysis; and Hive, a data warehouse infrastructure.
Hadoop has the capabilities to handle large swaths of an organization’s data needs, but depending on the individual company, other systems may be used to supplement a Hadoop installation — and the library integrates well with popular enterprise systems. For example, Yahoo! employs other systems for email serving, and photo serving in Flickr, but stores copied data from these systems in Hadoop.
The rise of Big Data and the need for efficient, cost-effective analytics has paved the way for Hadoop to become standard in organizations of all sizes. To find out if your organization should be undergoing a Hadoop installation, contact the IT experts at The Armada Group.
Most IT departments are, by nature, results-driven. And because IT loves numbers and formulas, you’ll find myriad combinations of analytics and KPIs and data charts designed to measure success — usually in terms of output or dollars. But how good are these measurements in gauging the success of your career on a day-to-day basis?
If you’re an IT pro, and you want raises and promotions and accolades (and who doesn’t?), all those analytics won’t help you much in the way of personal advancement. There are better ways to track your progress that can alleviate the daily stresses of your job and help you become more satisfied, productive, and promotable.
Here are three of them, relating to the most common issues IT professionals face in the workplace: prioritizing, communicating, and building relationships.
Prioritize: Measuring where all your time really goes
For an IT pro, there are never enough hours in the day. Your workload always seems to exceed the amount of time you have to spend on it, and every week you feel further behind. But the good news is, you’re probably spending a lot of time on tasks you don’t need to worry about — and you can focus your efforts to increase productivity and decrease stress.
Take the time each day to write down your top three-to-five priorities. Then keep track of what you do all day, and how long you do it. Once you have these lists, figure out what percentage of time you’re spending on your priorities versus everything else, and prune out the clutter. If your workload is actually too heavy to accomplish your core tasks, you can show this data to your boss and ask to have non-essential activities reassigned.
Communicate: Measuring the effectiveness of what others are hearing
Good communication is essential in the workplace. As an IT pro, you need to communicate not only with the rest of your team, but also with your supervisors, management, people in other departments, or even customers. And the most common barrier to communication is that not everyone you need to convey information to speaks the same language.
When you’re communicating something, the tendency is to think only about what you have to say. But the key to effective communication is to understand how the other person needs to hear it. If you’re speaking to a non-tech person, you can’t use jargon or complex terms. If your style is straightforward and to the point, a less direct person may find you abrasive or intimidating — and therefore will only hear your tone, not the words you’re saying.
Consider the communication issues you’ve experienced in light of your audience. Is it possible they could have misunderstood you because of their listening style? To measure your effectiveness in communicating, pay attention to nonverbal cues that suggest they’re confused by the terms you’re using, or tuning out your words in favor of your tone. You can adjust the way you convey information to make sure everyone’s clear, resulting in smoother daily operations all around.
Relate: Measuring your workplace relationships
Relationships make the working world go ‘round. When you have strong relationships in the workplace, your career will flourish — but weak relationships can hamper or cripple your progress. You may get along great with like-minded people, but what about those from different generations, different cultures, or even different departments?
Improving your workplace relationships will help you get ahead, and make for a more harmonious environment for everyone. It only takes a few minutes at a time to build rapport — you can choose a day to sit with a different group at lunch, or invite a co-worker you don’t know well for a cup of coffee. Make it a point to offer authentic compliments on other people’s work, especially those in different departments, and send a quick thank-you when another person does something that positively affects your work.
Charts and analytics are great for measuring the technical ROI of your work, but these real-world measurements can help you achieve personal satisfaction and advancement. Speak to the experts at The Armada Group today to find out how to take a better measure of your IT success, and enjoy lowered stress and higher productivity.
With the rise of easily accessible technologies like the cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the digital landscape is more competitive than ever. Organizations looking for an edge need to focus on innovation — especially when it comes to apps.
App development is the new frontier for innovation and organizational change. The best way to achieve this is to give your developers room and encouragement to innovate, by making their lives easier and providing them with the tools they need to produce great apps and secure valuable intellectual property (IP) for your organization.
The following tips will help you help your developers, leading to increased innovation and driving competition in a fast-paced technical world.
Go all in with the public cloud
For most organizations, building an in-house infrastructure with enough servers, storage, and services to provide developers with sufficient resources for innovation just isn’t practical, or even feasible. The public cloud is a faster and more economical choice, both for developers and the organization as a whole.
Public clouds offer highly efficient, flexible infrastructures that can scale up as needed, and consume only those resources developers actually use. Embracing the public cloud reduces project completion times and product time-to-market, and saves you significant money.
Broaden access to tools and services
With the rise of SaaS and PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), the many tools and resources employed by developers can be readily available. In the past, most organizations relied on long-term contracts for services and tools, often spending hundreds or thousands on legacy and enterprise software in the interests of cost efficiency over time — complete with drawn-out approval processes and lengthy installations and rollout.
This approach is detrimental to app developers, who may switch the tools and services they use from day to day and prefer to test out a tool before making a long-term commitment. You can encourage innovation by foregoing long-term contracts and letting developers self-select the tools they’ll use.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by giving them access to enterprise developer marketplaces, such as those from Windows Azure, Red Hat, and Heroku. These marketplaces allow developers to work with a wide variety of enterprise-ready tools and APIs, which help them build better applications, faster.
Encourage freedom from locks and controls
When your developers are locked down to a single platform or language, innovation is stifled. Allowing and encouraging them to design platform agnostic apps for the Web, mobile, and Internet of Things devices will save your developers a lot of time and grief.
What’s more, you can encourage innovation by limiting the controls placed on developer experimentation. Consider monitoring tools and API management solutions that take security measures into account, but still provide developers a window into network traffic.
Give developers time for pet projects
In general, developers are highly creative and love to make things. Regardless of what they’re working on for the organization, chances are high they’re also invested in a few personal side projects. They’ll work on these projects on their own — but your organization can benefit by allowing developers to pursue pet projects at work.
The ability to collaborate with co-workers on side projects and invest paid time in developing them often leads to positive, unanticipated developments, such as solving a business problem that was previously intractable. You may also end up with new products to add to your organization’s portfolio — AdSense, Gmail, and Google Hangouts all began as Google employees’ side projects.
If you provide your developers with tools and resources they can use without limits, and the time they need to pursue creative solutions, you’ll benefit from the innovative apps and products they turn out.
For more information on innovation – for your employees or your recruiting strategy – contact the innovative recruiting experts at The Armada Group. We know what it takes to stay at the forefront of our industry, and can help you with any staffing issue today.
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon is still under debate in many workplaces. Some employers have strict policies that prevent employees from using personal devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops at work. Others allow limited usage under guided policies — and some feel there’s no point trying to stop the flood of devices, and do nothing.
The use of personal devices is spreading faster than any new technology before, and there are already more smartphones than people in the United States. Should your company give in to the BYOD pressure? Here are the pros and cons of allowing personal devices in the workplace.
The Pros: BYOD and consumerization
Allowing employees to use personal devices at work can do more than satisfy their desire to check Facebook on their lunch breaks. BYOD has been linked to the consumerization of IT — an emerging process that’s helping to connect companies with customers, develop stronger consumer relations, and increase employee participation and job satisfaction.
The benefits of IT consumerization through BYOD for your company include:
- Faster communication and more efficient mobile employees through the internal use of personal devices
- Increased consumer relationship building and the ability to shape customer perceptions of your company with consumer tools, especially social networking
- Mobile devices as an HR tool: Younger employees rely on their smartphones and other devices, so refusing to allow BYOD will make it difficult to attract and retain fresh talent
- The self-supporting nature of consumer technologies allows BYOD policies to actually decrease the burden on your IT department and increase IT productivity
The Cons: Limited control and security risks
While there are many benefits to BYOD, there are also downsides — particularly for companies who manage sensitive information digitally that must be protected. Due to the lack of a unified device platform and the non-existence of regulated mobile security standards, a diverse range of devices in the workplace can be difficult to manage at best, and can sometimes pose a high risk for employers.
Some of the disadvantages of BYOD include:
- Managing security: Security is one of the biggest and most significant challenges for BYOD. With multiple employees using multiple devices, it’s difficult to meet both compliance and security standards, particularly for companies in industries that must adhere to certain security measures. There is also the risk of employee devices containing sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.
- Acceptable use control: In any workplace, especially larger organizations, there may be little control over the way employees use personal devices at work. Even with acceptable use policies in place, monitoring every device at all times to ensure that employees follow those policies is not a feasible or cost-effective strategy.
- Performance and productivity: While some BYOD workplaces achieve increased productivity, others see a drop in productivity when personal devices are permitted. This may be due to several reasons. Larger workplaces are unable to monitor all employees and restrict the use of personal devices. What’s more, the addition of multiple personal devices to the business network can strain resources, affecting network performance and connectivity speeds — and ultimately productivity, as employees’ workstations are slowed.
- Data retrieval: Finally, BYOD environments can pose a risk when employees leave the company, taking all of the data on their devices with them. This can be particularly problematic in sales environments, when employees often leave for competitors — but still have access to their previous company’s contacts and information.
When it comes to tech, employees are DIY
Today’s personal devices are engineered for simplicity on the user end. User-friendly interfaces mean that more employees are finding innovative ways to put personal devices to work for their companies — whether or not IT allows it. This can be either a positive or a negative aspect of BYOD environments.
In some cases, BYOD can improve productivity. With an endless list of business tools available on personal devices, from social media to Google Docs, Dropbox, Flipboard, productivity apps, CMS access and more, most employees need little to no guidance integrating their devices with their working lives. It makes things easier for employees — and for IT, who doesn’t have to babysit a network of personal devices and can focus on core responsibilities instead.
However, the perception of mobile devices as DIY technology can also pose risks in BYOD workplaces. Employees may not be as stringent with security measures for their own personal devices as is required for business-related applications, and can neglect to apply security features such as multi-factor authentication. They may also not change their passwords frequently enough, and fail to apply security updates as needed — leaving personal devices open for security breaches.
The decision to allow personal devices in a workplace rests on a number of factors. These policies can be effective in smaller businesses, or those without strict industry security regulations. But for large companies dealing with sensitive information, mobile device standards for security and platform unification may not be advanced enough to permit safe BYOD environments.
If you need help implementing a BYOD policy at your company, contact the experts at The Armada Group today.
Technology is irresistible to humans. We can’t help pressing buttons, flipping switches, or rearranging those tangled cords — and if we’re at work with no clue what we’re doing, it’s only a matter of time until disaster strikes and IT swears revenge while they spend hours fixing what took us seconds to break.
At InfoWorld’s Off the Record blog, IT professionals share anonymous stories of tinkerers, button-pushers, and clueless people who “know what they’re doing” — when it comes to bringing the office workflow to a crashing halt. Here are five of those stories illustrating why sometimes, your employees should really resist the temptation to fix things that aren’t broken.
Network admin disconnects the employees — all of them
A senior network administrator was showing off two relatively new servers in a data center to managers, boasting about uptime with claims that there was no need for an uninterruptible power supply. The admin touched the dedicated circuit breaker for the first server to prove the point — which promptly kicked 500 users off their server connection.
Apparently not satisfied with cutting office productivity in half, the admin then touched the second server’s circuit breaker and severed the connection for the remaining employees. Management decided to increase their investment in server infrastructure.
Operator powers down
A data center operator committed to easing workflows and expediting tasks noticed a loose ring on a piece of glass, and proceeded to improve efficiency by moving it. But the glass happened to be covering an emergency power-off button, which the operator managed to press — causing a blackout and a systems shutdown. The company experienced no long-term damage, but the operator decided to stick to a broader scale for improving efficiency, and leave the little details alone.
Newbie pushes the embarrassment button
A junior tech on a mission to turn off a non-critical server headed to the server room, located the machine, and pushed the button — only to instantly realize it was the wrong server, one housing files that were currently in use by more than 600 employees. Letting go of the button would wreak havoc, but there was no one around and his phone wasn’t getting service.
With a landline phone just 10 feet away, but out of his reach unless he released the critical button, the tech heroically took off his pants and used them to pull the phone over. Help soon arrived in the form of several eyewitnesses, who received the best office story ever in exchange for saving the day.
Paperclip panics the boss
It was a classic computer room — three mainframes with several attached tape drives, four printers (three line, one high-speed laser), dishwasher-sized disc packs, and a huge Halon fire suppression system to protect the investment. As the boss and the operators disagreed on handling shutdowns in case of fire, they met in the computer room for a test run that the boss insisted should include the main operators staying behind to take care of the mainframes.
Just before the test, a stray paperclip dropped into a control box, creating a short circuit that triggered the Halon. But the drill went as planned when the boss was the first one to speed out of the room.
VPs make executive decisions
Admins get a little worried when execs start poking around servers — with good cause, as this story proves. One day, in the middle of a difficult data center consolidation between two tech departments, employees suddenly found they couldn’t get email or connect to certain remote sites. IT traced the issue to server failures, which seemed to have happened all at once.
Amazing coincidence? Not exactly — a couple of VPs visiting the acquired company had ruled the critical servers “unused” with no impact on production systems, and had turned them off.
IT turns on itself
Non-tech professionals aren’t the only ones who make critical mistakes. A large, busy data center tasked an IT pro with deciding which servers were unnecessary and decommissioning them. The tech, perhaps having an off day, chose a critical management server to unplug and bring back to his desk, where he reformatted the hard drive. A flood of issues ensued with the loss of the database, extending to backups and firewalls. The tech was promptly transferred to a less disaster-making department.
While these stories are humorous, they all have a common theme – sometimes your employees need to be hands off. If you need assistance managing employees or finding better adept tech talent, contact the recruiting experts at The Armada Group today.
An uncertain economy has given rise to a variety of non-traditional employment scenarios. The expanding popularity of contractors, temporary employees, and freelance workers has launched a new variation on independent contractor arrangements, called micro-jobbing — and there are many ways this freelance-style platform can benefit your business.
What is micro-jobbing?
Like contractors, micro-jobbers are independent employees who contract their services to companies or individuals. The primary difference between traditional contractors and micro-jobbers is the length of the job. While independent contractors typically work on projects for several months to a year, micro-jobbers take on smaller tasks that can be completed in days to weeks.
Therefore, the scope of micro-jobbing projects is smaller than that of contracting jobs. Where a contractor might design and implement a new software application for a company, a micro-jobber may offer services as an independent tester, or create a new feature for an existing application.
Micro-jobbing and data science
Many people perceive micro-jobbers as third-rate outsourcers who may be from a foreign company and probably offer low-quality work for equally low prices. However, micro-jobbing is a viable platform for a lot of top talent — creative and motivated individuals who prefer not to work in an office environment, and enjoy choosing their own jobs and setting their own hours.
Data science is a complex field, but many skilled micro-jobbers have recognized the market value of this skill set and acquired experience in fields like information management, data filtering, and predictive analytics. There are a number of data science micro-job tasks that can add value to any IT department.
The benefits of micro-jobbing
Micro-jobbing arrangements are mutually beneficial for both companies and talent. For IT professionals, micro-jobbing provides a way to earn extra income without the restrictions of a traditional employment setting. And for organizations, hiring micro-jobbers allows you to gain valuable resources and services without the need for a full-time financial commitment.
Enabling micro-jobbing in your organization
For most companies, building the capacity for micro-jobbing requires a bit of organizational development and restructuring. Here are three steps you can take to pave the way for micro-jobbers in your organization:
- Understand the scope of micro-jobs. Be realistic when deciding on the tasks you want to assign to micro-jobbers. A full-time commitment of three to six months isn’t suitable for this platform — instead, choose tasks that can be completed in a few weeks or less.
- Work with procurement to fast-track onboarding. Because micro-jobbers are very short term, you’ll need a way to bring them into the organization quickly and efficiently. Be sure to discuss your micro-jobbing program with procurement and emphasize the difference between micro-jobbers and independent contractors, so they know what to expect.
- Recruit micro-jobbers with a custom platform. Most of the existing popular platforms for micro-jobbers, such as Elance and TaskRabbit, are focused primarily on low-skill, low-paying tasks. To recruit talented micro-jobbers, your company may be better off building a branded platform and marketing your site directly to the data science community.
Implementing a smart micro-jobbing strategy can help your organization take your data science to the next level. The available talent pool is huge, and bringing in micro-jobbers can not only strengthen your overall data science strategy, but also help to keep your in-house team sharp, focused, and challenged. Talk to our recruiting experts today to find out how The Armada Group can help your company implement its best staffing option.