Tuesday 30 November 2021

End of work year 2021

Listen attentively first

It has been a wonderful work year with much to celebrate even if the challenges and the frustrations that seemed to greet one at many turns. The job of being a subject matter expert in a big team of long-staying members who are steeped in the traditions and culture of an organisation whilst being hardened by their experiences along with the histories that have defined their presence or absence of amenity to change can be interesting.

Someone like me is supposed to visit first with a good pair of listening ears and a fresh pair of eyes long before I have a compelling speech to review the long-held perspectives, persuading colleagues, partners and hierarchies of alternative methods and best practice. It is more a battle of wits than anything else, the encounters can be bruising, yet necessary.

Make your footing sure

My view is, I am engaged to challenge the orthodoxy, expose the dogmatic and align towards the pragmatic, shepherding change, not as a hard choice but a progressive march which is rarely at speed but at snail’s pace with the purpose of incremental and beneficial improvements that the managers can highlight as big successes.

Sometimes, I cannot get in edgeways, all arguments deployed, most debates exhausted, glaring evidence presented that it is literally incontrovertible, but the political climate will not budge a nanometre.

It is usually political

You begin to learn to choose your battles carefully, find where you can build agreement, move that towards a consensus, manage the compromises well, so the main thrust of your ideas are not lost, then bring forth the benefits and the gains whilst assertively debunking woolly thinking, needless experimentation and pointless solutions crafted from the poor use or knowledge of the tools available to fulfil the requirements.

This, I aver is the bane of being in a technical role at a high level, it is usually more political than technical, and it is where you have to master the art of communication. How to point out bad practice that it becomes a learning opportunity rather than it being taken negatively as criticism. Accord praise liberally and acknowledge fully ideas proposed and activities beautifully performed by others even if you wish you had that idea first.

Be dependable more than indispensable

Win confidence and trust, not so much to make yourself indispensable but valuable and dependable, this is what 33 years in the field of computer information technology has taught me, 26 of those years, I have mainly been a freelance consultant. I don’t get moved along like I am part of a glacier, I have to earn my place and prove my worth constantly through continuous learning and practice, education, excitement, enthusiasm, curiosity, and grit.

My work year 2021 is now over for me to go and deal with the essential matters of the heart. A stand-in has been invited to provide support to my standard of expertise and know-how, whilst I am away. I did not achieve everything I hoped I will in the organisation in the year past, but I think there is enough understanding that I can be helpful in matters of architecture, policy, implementation, and administration.

To the coalface of the work front, I wish you all a wonderful yuletide season and a more rewardingly, prosperous and fulfilling New Year, maybe, just maybe, we would also see the back of this global pandemic and launch into a new life of cherished experiences and exciting adventure. 

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