Mytech Culture Experience July 2012

This month we would like to reflect on our June value of "Set the next person up for success" by highlighting one of our Mytech team members who exemplifies this value every day – Mike Wright. Mike is one of Mytech's remote support engineers on our Service Desk and I hope that every single one of Mytech's customers will have the privilege of working with Mike at some point in the future. I believe that Mike exemplifies the Mytech value of Set the next person up for success in multiple ways. First, Mike always has a positive attitude and everyone around him cannot help but be in a better mood because of Mike's contagious energy. Whether at work or on a personal level, being able to have a positive influence on the people with whom you come into contact is one of the best examples of how to set the next person up for success. Second, Mike has great technical experience, a calming and fun demeanour about him and is a natural coach. Mike often takes the opportunity to set the next person up for success by assisting his fellow Service Desk team members with a technical problem or with how to handle interaction with Mytech customers better. Finally, Mike works directly with Mytech customers to help resolve technical issues they may be having. When you get Mike on the phone you can rest assured that you will be set up for success as he will be able to resolve the problem, walk you through how to avoid the problem in the future and make sure that you are comfortable with the resolution before getting off of the phone with you. Remember back to the mid 1990's when there were commercials about Michael Jordan that had the tag line: "Be like Mike"? Well if anyone would like to emulate how to set the next person up for success, the best advice I can give is to "Be like Mike" and you will be well on your way to delivering excellence. On behalf of Mytech, thank you Mike!

The Mytech value of "Set the next person up for success" is near and dear to my heart with regard to how I believe an organization and the people within should operate. There are multiple challenges an organization may face striving to fulfil this value. First and foremost, people are busy with their individual responsibilities and how are they going to have time to set the next person up for success? I would contend as illustrated by a personal example near the end of this article that people cannot afford not to set the next person up for success. Other than time, individuals in an organization might not understand other positions in the process well enough to set the next person up for success. There could also be challenges with the organizational culture and whether or not people feel enabled or personally interested in setting the next person up for success. Whether an organization can choose to set the next person up for success or not is one of those key concepts that I believe can really make or break an organization. Imagine that every person in your organization – or in your personal life for that matter – consciously chose to think about how their actions were going to affect others around them and then specifically took one little extra step to make someone else's life a little easier. Not just once – all day, every day. Mytech is by no means perfect at delivering on this value, however we do always strive to improve and live all of our values every day.

As mentioned previously, there can be challenges to the effective execution; however the desire must exist to make the conscious choice to set the next person up for success. For this reason I am very pleased that the Mytech Culture Committee selected to include this value as part of the core of who we are and what we strive to be. One of the challenges that Mytech faces with regard to this value is that we need to foster understanding of all of the respective positions and responsibilities that individuals have within the organization – especially the positions with which people directly interact. How can you choose to make the next person's life easier in the workflow process if you do not understand what they do? Fostering communication and collaboration between individuals and departments - which hopefully fosters better understanding – is one of the ways we strive to enable the team at Mytech to set the next person up for success.

Mytech has the stated value; I believe Mytech has a culture and staff that chooses to foster the desire and conscious choice; Mytech leverages communication and collaboration of people and different teams in our organization all on board with striving to set the next person up for success; however, the biggest challenge yet to be overcome is to continually execute on the tasks that actually set the next person up for success. A significant part of the daily execution of this value is being conscious of all of the different opportunities available each and every day that you can choose to take advantage or just let slip by. Often the problem is that we as individuals do not even realize that we are making someone else's daily tasks more difficult – not intentionally, but by simple acts of omission or lack of clear communication. Let me give you an example: in early June, I received an email from one of Mytech's customers that had a technical inquiry included in the communication. After I read the email I realized that I do not know the necessary information that will enable me to effectively answer the question, so I forwarded the email to other Mytech team members that I knew could effectively respond. Now, in my head the message that I sent was completely clear - I asked one person on the email to look into the question, then to please provide the information to another person on the email so that an answer could be relayed back to the customer. About a week later it came to my attention that this answer had not yet been provided to the customer and knowing that I had "clearly communicated" for others to follow up with a response - I went to investigate where the ball was dropped. Well, it turned out that my completely clear email (which in my head it was), actually communicated something more like this: "take a look at this, interesting isn't it" which had no direction, no request and no call to action. After seeing my mistake it is no wonder why the question was not answered – I sent the email to multiple people without specifying any follow up whatsoever. The problem was in my head. I truly thought that I had communicated clearly, however in actuality it was more like murky water. My intent was to get the question in the hands of those who could answer it, however I did not set up our customer, our team or myself for success because I neglected to make sure that the information provided would be clearly understood by the person or people receiving the information. With a little introspection, I believe that the real problem was that in my haste to be efficient, I did not take the few extra moments necessary to set the next person up for success. I was busy. But what took more time – handling the question once or having to handle the question twice (and now writing about the learning experience)? The reality is that by taking an extra moment to set the next person up for success, I would have been more efficient with my time, our organization would have been more efficient with regard to handling the question and our customer would have received a more timely answer to their question. So as I have learned with this and many things in life – the problem and the answer starts with me.

Thank you for taking the time to read about a fantastic Mytech team member – Mike Wright and for participating in part of the Mytech Culture Experience. I invite you to please join the team here at Mytech on our Culture Experience, so that together we can work to continually "Set the next person up for success."