Goal setting at the start of the year

Ahhh, that time of year where there is a collective groan when we’re asked to set our goals for the year. To be brutally honest, I’ve never really understood them both for setting them myself and for my team. I know they are something we should all strive to achieve during the coming year. They are meant to tie into the strategy of the organisation and of the IT department but hand on heart, do you really understand how your companies strategy will be used to form your goals?

Over the past few months, I have taken some time out of the workforce and used this opportunity to really grow as a person. Some huge reflections and thinking has been done. Plus lots of reading and podcasts. One podcast really stood out for me on this subject and really got me thinking about how I could set better goals for myself and my team.

The podcast in question was this : The High Performance Podcast with Alastair Campbell https://open.spotify.com/episode/39ROE2dL2qJCESv5aC3bIp?si=9IGlBh2NSHaVjJgBaDOvPA

I know if you know about British politics you know he is known as a bit of a marmite character but what he talks about is OST:

  • Objective / Goal
  • Strategy
  • Tactics

This made way more sense to me that the usual reasoning that goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely). I think it makes more sense to me as I also found out goals aren’t that great at motivating people eg I would love to be ripped with muscle as a goal. However, I have not set any method to help me achieve the goal. What is better is setting up a process or tactic eg I will work out everyday for 30 mins. I am going to achieve more muscles mass and be fitter as a result of this process / tactic that will help me achieve my goal. However, the focus is more on the process / tactic rather than the overall goal. So I started to think about what would be my OST for a team and how could a OST for a team member look like who is working as an IT support analyst

An OST for me (the manager of an IT support team) could be:

Objective

  • Make sure my team can give great customer service
  • Make sure my team has a career path and they know what different career paths are open to them

Strategy

  • Create a fun and collaborative environment for my team to learn and share learnings so we grow the team
  • Analyse call statistics to learn if calls are falling (good thing) or rising (bad thing) overall or for a specific service
  • My team and I learn about different business and IT departments
  • Develop an environment to enhance the time to think about a fix or where next to research a topic or technology

Tactics

  • Team meetings where people can voice up about topics they are concerned about eg a new roll out of software they aren’t sure how to support, trying to troubleshoot an issue and others can help brainstorm and come up with a fix or share a fix that they have come across before
  • Create a dashboard showing the number of incidents logged per month, by service and other metrics to know where to focus attention on trending down tickets. If your team is over stretched answering calls them they have no time to think or do other things. They are in firefighting mode.
  • Implement the Service Desk Triangle https://itilbegood.com/category/service-desk-evolution/
  • Make “Meet the business” sessions and ask the business department to fill out a presentation template to make sure the information is the same across departments
  • Make “Meet the IT teams” sessions, again with a presentation template so the information from each presentation are the same. One of the slides should be around, what training or certification would my team need to do in order to get into your team.
  • One day a month a team member spends the day with each team in IT to build up a picture of what each team really does on a day to days basis.
  • Team drinks / meal all together to build better bonds with each other.

What could an IT support analyst OST be though:

Objective

  • I want to aim at being promoted into the Problem management team

Strategy

  • I need to learn what I need to do in order to get into the team

Tactics

  • Schedule a meeting with the manager of Problem management to understand what the team does.
  • Ask to spend a day with the team to understand exactly what the team does.
  • Ask to go and work with the escalation teams that the support team cannot fix to understand a deeper understanding of IT and therefore understanding more of what could be terms a problem fix rather than an incident fix
  • Schedule a monthly meeting with the problem manager to go over what I have learnt or work on
  • Get ITIL certificate

Or

Objective

  • I want to get better at my network knowledge

Strategy

  • Develop a better understanding of Hubs, Switches and Routers
  • Understand the protocols used
  • Understand how to troubleshoot network issues better

Tactics

  • Sit down with the network team and ask if they could show x/y/z technology
  • Ask to sit down with the network team and go over a past incident and how they troubleshot the call on a month
  • Enlist in a network class in person or an on line course
  • Schedule a monthly meeting with the a network analyst to go over what was learnt and perhaps they could give pointers or show how that set up looks in the real world.
  • Set aside one hour per week to study

As always any comments / feedback / different takes on these articles are always welcome these articles are a way for me to put out my thinking and to learn from others. Managing is always a bit lonely as there is rarely anyone to bounce ideas off so this is my opportunity to do this.

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