Re: Technology Is A Human Endeavor
This definitely goes hand-in-hand with the piece Dave wrote the other day innovation and people-oriented culture; I'd recommend anyone who enjoyed this to go give that a look as well. The great thing there was that some of these same leaders shared precisely how their culture-first approach paid dividends. Mr. Ruiz said that his small team was precisely what enabled him to make surgical kinds of innovations by keeping his team tightly knit and focused, rather than spread out and spread thin - "If you start to pay attention, you can create a deliberate, vibrant culture.". Mr. Bradwell explained how putting IT staff in conversations they woldn't normally be in helped AARP to launch that tablet. They made a conscious decision to do more than shave costs, and eventually noticed innovations waiting to happen.
I'm a big fan of the term 'lip service' - it describes a problem that's all too common in IT; something that's talked about but never actually done. The idea that people come first certainly gets enough lip service - it sounds great in board meetings to say how your technology services will tangibly impact your customers, and it sounds great in HR/PR to say you don't treat your IT staff like numbers (like tjgkg is saying). Fortunately it's also the truth that things will turn out better for you if you do it, not just say it. To that end, I do think we could have done with a few more examples here of specific gains these leaders noticed from being 'people-first', specific projects or initiatives they were able to complete because of it, or anecdotes that made them feel like they had made correct decisions. It's not that I doubt their honesty - it's just that, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.