1. Get Shoes For the Cobbler’s Children.
There’s an old saying in business that the “cobbler’s children have no shoes.” Nowhere else in business is it especially true than in technology delivery / technology services companies. I have seen it many, many times. Do networking and servers? Then your own are being patched together with duct tape and glue (figuratively speaking). Write great software? Then you are resigned to entering expenses by hand in triplicate and faxing them to some black hole with the large Darth Vader looking behemoth from 1987. It happens, I know. It’s just tight budgets, I know. Don’t have the money? I know. The only answer is to toe the line. Ask for what your people need. And put laser beam focus on getting at least ONE thing they absolutely should have to do their jobs. Remember, you are a profit center (see below). Your team will thank you for it and that loyalty will lead directly too a good team attitude.
2. Team Attitude Matters.
Got a hot coder or security expert on staff? Great! Can they talk to customers? No? Can they talk to your sales staff?.. or the marketing team? No? Goodbye awesome techie. You are, as I said, a profit center. Technical chops are required, but having a culture of nice is an absolute must. To quote Jeffrey J. Fox, “nice costs nothing.” To quote me, “a culture of nice makes money.” A techie who can fit in well, speaks well, is genuine, has a great attitude and is nice is an enormous asset. Keep them.
3. All Money Is Customer Money.
The money you take home and the money the rest of the team takes home is not money coming from the company. That money actually flows through the company from… you guessed it, the customer. All that money is customer money. Similar to #2, above, I am once again saying in a different way that technical chops are important but customer service is key. Everyone in your area (and everyone in the company) needs to remember that all money is customer money.
4. Understanding Marketing Is Critical.
Don’t like marketing? You’re at a disadvantage. In a customer focused technology delivery company you really need to know your market so you can tell what technical direction to go. You are, after all, a director, right? So, set the direction based on what customers want (and not necessarily what they need, another nugget from Jeffrey J. Fox) rather than what technology is cool. Yes, you do need to know which way the technical wind is blowing. That’s a certainty, but ignore marketing at your own peril. And oh yeah, read Mr. Fox’s marketing book. Right now.
5. In A Technology Delivery Company, You Run A Profit Center.
Once again, you have to remember absolutely, unequivocally, un-apologetically and without hesitation, that you run a profit center. This simple truth can and should drive almost all your decision making. That means, your team is the product (even if they make products) and they directly impact the “making of the money.” So, do not waste money but spend it on things that make the team more productive. Focus on efficiency of delivery. Focus on quality. Focus on serving customers. Profit.