Showing Someone the Ropes in ITAM?

We have all been there. On a new team, starting a new role, or embarking on a project that has a lot of new stuff to us. It can be daunting, or maybe seem like we are in over our head. Thank goodness for the individual or individuals that helped us during these times. Those folks who helped us process things, make good decisions, and keep our spirits high.

A team is only as strong as the individuals that comprise the team. So, let’s not forget that just because we are experienced subject matter experts, that does not mean everyone else is where we are. Let’s take the time to build others up and show them the ropes.

Do You Actually Know Them?

When helping someone else get up to speed, or grow as an individual, we want to first consider our relationship with the individual. When we see them in the morning, do we absent-mindedly just say, “How’s it going?”, and then go about our day? Do we understand their history, their desires, their strengths, their weaknesses? Are we interested in them as an individual, more than just an employee number or title? If we have not taken the time to get to know them as a real person, our well-intentioned advice or guidance may be met with resistance or questioning of our intentions. Let’s earn the right to truly help someone by first truly getting to know who they are as an individual. We can more easily gain their cooperation, while also gaining insights into how we can speak in the terms that interest the other person.

Are You Just Talking to Your Younger Self?

Early on in my career, I had a mentor that was a profound technologist. When they weren’t at work, they were tinkering with code, or being the CIO of their household. Many times, when I ran into challenges, they would advise an approach a technologist would take. Their recommendations were not in line with my desired career path, or approach. I became frustrated with myself for not liking coding. I became frustrated with my mentor for seeming to not give relevant advice. One day I asked them if they were giving ME advice or advice to their younger self. Their approach immediately changed. We had a much deeper conversation about what I was wanting to accomplish, skills I was wanting to develop, and what was actually fun for me. It made our time together much more valuable.

As you are showing someone else the ropes, remember they are NOT you. They will have their own goals and preferences. They may be more business focused, technology focused, data focused, relationship focused, or something else altogether. Take the time to imagine not just where they are, where you want them to get, but also where THEY want to get as you work together.

We Are on the Same Page, Now What?

We have taken the time to build a relationship with the individual. We have taken the time to understand where they are and where they want to go. Let’s help them be successful!

Tie what they are doing now, or about to do, to the goals they have for themselves. If they want to become more cross functional, help them see that this particular project will enable them to see even more of the business. If they want to develop more technical skills, help them see this new role as a way to learn about new technologies, and learn from other technologists. By tying the work that needs to be done to their personal goals, we enable the other person to be even more motivated to find success, because they understand what is in it for them to do so.

Share resources with others. Maybe you read an insightful blog post, read a helpful ITAK article, or took an IAITAM certification that really made a difference for you. Talk to them about it. How it helped you, and how it may be a benefit to them. We don’t need to be their only source of growth. We don’t WANT to be their only source of growth. Let’s help them become their own perpetual machine of growth.

Don’t forget the power of stories. I will never forget having dinner with a mentor of mine who ended up becoming unbelievably successful, C-Suite at multiple companies. I was excited to hear what his life changing advice would be as we were eating. His advice was simple. Think in terms of stories and tell them. Give me a break! Does that really matter!? Turns out, he was right. By telling stories we can seem more relatable while also giving advice to others, without harboring resentment. Instead of calling attention to someone’s mistake bluntly, we can take a more nuanced approach. Let’s talk about a time where we made a mistake, or where we pushed through when overwhelmed. If they are listening, they will see themselves in the story, and have the chance to take ownership of their response.

Now What?

Think of someone in your work group, on your team, or even possibly on the broader team that could benefit from your experience and support. Commit to being a positive part of THEIR story and take action.

  • Build the relationship and build trust!
  • Get to know what THEY want and support THEM in their goals!
  • Tie business goals with personal goals for more willing cooperation!
  • Share resources that will enable their success!
  • Tell relevant stories to serve as examples of success and lessons learned!

If you take these steps with the others around you, you will find that they aren’t the only ones who are growing!