Saturday, August 23, 2003

Work is a four-letter word

I like my job. I really do. If you've been reading up to this point, you know there are some big changes going on at work.
I don't mind change. Will Rogers once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." You have to keep moving if you expect to stay alive. Change is necessary so I might as well embrace it.
The problem is not the change. The problem is the way it is being handled and the people that are handling it. Maybe I'm making a mistake by going "public" with this but it needs to be said.

I see two major problems with the way the change is being presented:

Problem #1: Lack of direction
Given the way the command team our new University President brought in is set up, there's a plan. The Texas Tech Red Raiders have a desired outcome. The problem is, none of us know what it is. For crying out loud, none of us in IT even know what to call ourselves. When our new director of Technology Support (or, is that technology services.... let me check the org chart to see who I work for... yeah, it's "support") met with us, I asked her point blank what we were calling ourselves and she didn't know! How can we know where we're supposed to be going if we don't even know how to refer to ourselves?

Problem #2: Lack of buy-in from the workers

Maybe fixing the first problem will at least help the second problem. I would love to tell the people I have contact with that I'm excited about the changes but I can't. Any time you have change - especially major change - it goes much smoother if you have buy-in from those effected. How can I buy in to something when I don't even know what it is? How can I be anything but afraid of the coming changes when I haven't been given any reason to anticipate or be excited about them?

It's funny, isn't it, that when the working-class wants to upgrade some system they have to prove to management that it's necessary and justify everything with ROI and cost-savings. We must get buy-in from management because they, ultimately, have the power to grant or deny our request. It doesn't necessarily go the other way, does it?

I also said something about the people who are handling it. I'm not going to name any names but here's what I'm up against (not all items apply to all individuals):
Directors who have managers and supervisors in their chain of command that
- Can't seem to make a decision without checking with the other director
- Feel it necessary to approve all leave requests for their chain of command - down to the person on the bottom rung
- Give subordinates a dressing down (in front of others) for merely acknowledging them while the subordinate is in the middle of helping someone instead of dropping everything to speak to the director
- Must be in control of hiring full- and part-time employees who have clearly-identified supervisors

When do they have time to do the jobs they're paid to do?