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How to praise IT? Evangelize it
For a lot of people within IT who’ve been at it for a while, it becomes very easy to continue doing your job and then at the end of a project move on to the next thing. Praise for success and hard work is a way to pause and assess what you’ve accomplished.
In my mind, praise came recently in a couple of ways. This past year we launched an IT annual report, because most of the things that IT does people really don’t see. They just assume that you’re the guy at the end of the phone that fixes the stuff. This is a platform for me as the leader to be able to say, "We completed this big program and projects; and by the way, we’re working on these other programs/projects, too. You’re going to start seeing these more and let me tell you about one of them."
Our IT report is allowing my IT staff to step into the spotlight to say, "Here is the team that did this, here are the people that did this." We added pictures of the teams and projected that out to the organization. To me that’s a better kind of praise than having an In-N-Out truck show up at the parking lot.
Second, it’s a good way to educate our business leadership, executive team, on the value IT brings. My mantra for IT is, "Tell them what you’re going to do, do it, and then tell them you did it." And if you don’t do the "tell them you did it" part, it’s almost like it never happened. The only thing they’re going to ever remember is the last time that the network was out, or their email didn’t work, or why in the world am I getting these Viagra things in my email and I’m not even 50 yet?
When you start setting the tone in these ways and delivering that tone to the organization on a broader scale, they start believing that IT does play a strategic role.