I have spent most of my life as a Yankee. A New Englander. And I think I am lucky for it. With the fall comes change- change in temperature, change in scenery, change in air. I am big on air. I think about it all the time for some reason. Whether its damp, dry, sweet, refreshing, or stifling, I like the air in New England.
I always think of Yankees as people that are used to change. You may not know it with so many old roads and buildings as our backdrop, but we are definitely all about change. From new inventions in healthcare in Cambridge, to Engineering discoveries at MIT and new ways to tackle old and new challenges at our many great Universities.
As I grow older, I am appreciating the culture in my backyard, and continually try to embrace the change around me. That includes the way I manage. I was raised in the professional environment of constantly checking on your employees, always making yourself available for advice and consultation, and yes, the occasional ass kicking. Friday face to faces, and twice a year reviews. LOTS of oversight. Sometimes stifling, and many times a waste of time. That was supposed to be the way to lead your team to success. We are not a one location based organization. We are all over. Distance. Lots of it physically.
I recently had the chance to speak to my entire staff with face to face one on ones. Even though brief, it was telling and wonderful -the truth and responses I got from my team. Sometimes praise, sometimes requests for assistance, and sometimes a legitimate gripe, I came out of my meetings with a couple of great reminders and realizations.
First, that my job is to assist virtually in most cases. I am not always there face to face to hash out issues and plot betterment. And that’s okay. I don’t have to be face to face to solve problems and create value. My team knows that I am there for them and can call me with most any issue.
Second, I realized that the first step is in hiring process is so important years later down the road when its performance time- hire good people. I don’t mean people with the best resumes, but GOOD people. People who have good values. People that you feel like you can trust, that you could learn to like. Don’t just look for people that are like you, or like the rest of your team. Evaluate them for their uniqueness and experience, but first? They have to be good people.
I communicate with each and every one of my team all the time. Sometimes it’s in snippets, sometimes in a scheduled call, or staff meeting, and sometimes to solve problems. I guess in my older trained brain, I think that there may be things that distance hides that isn’t being communicated to me. But not really. Because I have good people.
Good people are usually good sisters. And brothers. Good neighbors and friends. They are also Great employees! The people that you trust to be self- drivers, and personal accomplishers. Let’s face it. You want to like the people that you are in the trenches with. I am lucky that I love my SRE family. We are not perfect, but we are good people doing GREAT things! And change? I have done it and continue to work on it. And I will continue to do it for my betterment and for all of those around me! The winter is coming- I guess more change!