Category Archives: Service Desk Management

Managing remote IT support teams in Asia and in Covid times

I’m going to start this article, with an ask rather than at the end. How do you manage your remote teams in Asia or manage any teams who are remote to make sure you bring them together as a team? After reading this article, how can I improve? I want to be better at managing remote team so if you have any secret sauce to share with me on how you do it then I am all ears to learn.

Let’s get a couple of things straight before we get into this.

  1. China is not Asia. Singapore is not part of China. Singapore is not part of Malaysia. China is a country in the Asian continent.  Singapore is a country.
  2. Asia is probably one of the most culturally diverse continents in the world. With language, customs and backgrounds being very different from country to country. If you remember when you were young and went back packing. Which gave you a more cultural diverse experience going through UK, France, Germany, Italy or Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia?

So here is my premise for managing teams and what I tried to do to manage my teams

My premise / goal for managing teams

  • Like all managers, my primary duty to any team is to care and protect my team. This doesn’t not matter if they are in the same room or spread across Asia.

The role of any manager / leader is build a framework where their team can perform the best they can and can build a better and better team around the framework set.

  • A team should be a team and have open lines of communication to each other and the wider IT department to share ideas/ problems and jokes (humour brings people together so this is very important to me that this happens) no matter where they are in the region / world. No person should be an island / left on their own even when they are geographically the only support person in that country.

So what did I try to bring my team together across Asia?

  • Team meetings, everyone from across the region attends a 1 hour meeting every two weeks where I would go around the virtual ‘room’ / meeting to make sure everyone got the chance to speak and bring up any issues they were facing, either for me to escalate / help with or for the team to suggest a fix for the IT problem someone was facing.
  • 1:1, every team member got a 30 mins 1:1 every two weeks. The meeting would start with the team member having uninterrupted time to speak about anything they wanted to. We would then talk this through. After which I would speak about projects that were coming up and sometimes also used this as coaching sessions to highlight places where they could improve.
  • My teams who provided IT support to call centre functions and therefore key business areas, had a meeting with Engineering and Network teams every two weeks. This meant any IT support lead in any office had direct access to senior teams to either know what projects were coming and could speak about the roll out or to give feedback or voice up issues that were coming up to get a more permanent fix.
  • Microsoft Team chats. I had two main chat groups:
    • A chat group just for the team to converse in, send jokes or memes, talk about issues / IT problems they were having.
    • A chat group with the team, other support teams around the world and engineering and security in this group. This was more to highlight issues Asia might be having and to see if other support teams around the world had these issues. Also engineering and security were involved so they could give advice in real time to the IT support world for the company.
  • Every member of my team knew they could ping me on chat / email and either write their issue or ask for a chat and they would get to chat to me about anything. I made myself super available for my team.
  • Attend bridge calls when there was a serious service outage or degradation of a service in Asia to help my team push back when needed on engineering / networks or help refereeing what was being asked for by a senior technical team to the IT support person on the ground was reasonable and was broken down enough so the person, who’s first language wasn’t English, understood the request. I want to be seen as a manager who will ‘go through the trenches’ with my team and does not allow my team to suffer on their own.
  • A Servicenow report showing me the number of tickets that were more than a week old that were assigned to my team. This allowed me to see if someone needs help on a ticket and doesn’t suffer in silence.
  • Yearly anonymous survey monkey survey which was sent to everyone in my team asking them to give me feedback on my:
    • Overall management, what is good and bad
    • Team meetings, what is good and bad
    • 1:1, what is good and bad
    • Any additional comments or feedback

We tried daily scrum / catch up calls to find out what everyone was doing across the region but it was quickly ended as it seems too work vs not enough reward and just didn’t work for my teams in bringing people together so regularly, it felt a bit artificial.

Though in all honesty, I am not sure this was all enough or I could have been better at managing my teams? Life as a manager is hard as there is no one to really give you feedback who was in the meetings or knew what you were trying to do against what was done. How do you make sure everyone is comfortable enough in a meeting to express themselves, their challenges and how they are doing if they aren’t totally comfortable speaking in English if this is a 2nd language? How do you cope with Asian ‘saving face’ and a team member struggling to admit a mistake to you as their manager? As a Western manager I try and make all allowances for my team and I love being in Asia to learn about these different culture and people but I also think and question if I can do more to understand someone more in Asia but be authentic in how it is delivered.

I also struggled with not ever seeing the offices I was managing due to Covid and travel restrictions. So it was hard to really understand the struggles some time of the support people who were support the office and to give advice when I had limited context of the issue. How do you manage remote offices that you haven’t seen and might be a totally different business unit to the one you normally manage?

During Covid time

Communication and trying to be as together as we could as a time was even more important but it was extremely hard to do. In Singapore, where I live, the weather is 28c all year around with 80-90% humidity. It is mandatory to wear a mask all the time you are out of your house and can only remove it when you are eating or drinking in a restaurant / bar / food court. For most of the last two years offices has been closed or max 50% capacity meant the office when from a very vibrant and fun place to be to being a ghost town as by the time the office was allowed to be opened everyone was so used to working from home and masks were also mandatory to wear in the office. To meet outside was also restricted with Singapore with groups of 2 -5 being the maximum allowed to meet since early 2020 to the present time of writing (Jan ’22)

I met my Singapore team for lunches when restricts allowed it but the silly, water cooler conversations were something I missed very much. Coming off a hard meeting and not being able to turn around to a colleague and talk about their dinner with friends they were looking forward to after work or something to take your mind of the meeting was really hard.

Personally, my mental health suffered and this is one of the reasons I needed to take some time out. I felt very not centered and therefore was not my best for my team. Whilst we can all joke about our commute being so much shorter when WFH. We are humans and we are build to be around other humans. Video conferencing helps but the funny, random conversations along with seeing someone face to face in real life were lost. You don’t normally have a video conference just to talk about yesterdays sports match / news article, some office gossip or overhear a conversation that you can join in through being around colleagues in the office. Thought my flat is and was normality for me as I don’t have to wear a mask when walking around my flat.

During this time out I have reset, read lots, exercised lots and repaired. I have developed some coping mechanisms plus just personally improved my whole outlook on life and learning and I am pleased to say Singapore is opening up a little to have 5 people able to dine together. Along with vaccinated travel lanes which makes it easier to go back home to the UK to see friends and family and not need to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days after the trip. So I very excited and look forward taking on my next challenge in Singapore.

How have you coped with Covid restrictions where you are as a team member or the manager of team?

These articles are meant as a learning experience for me. I have laid out everything I do but I know I could be better. So I would ask, if anyone is reading this and can suggest better ways or a new idea to help manage teams better then I would love to know. Thankyou.

Interviews for IT support positions

Ahhh the humble interview, not nerve wracking at all! I have seen some horrible posts on LinkedIn of people’s interview experience when interviewing for IT support positions, one candidate was asked to explain the OSPF/OSI model and how to set a firewall in an interview for a junior IT support position. Needless to say the candidate walked out the interview shaken up and feeling really bad.

I am also saddened and humbled by all the posts of people posting on Linkedin from people in some really desperate situations over this holiday period (this post was written Christmas 2021). I really want you to read this post, absorb it and own the interview when it is offered to you. Nobody deserves to be in these situations that I have read about.

Therefore I wanted to put together a post to show some of the questions I ask in my interviews when interviewing potential IT support candidates to join my teams and the reasons why I ask the question. Hopefully this will help anyone about to goto an interview and also for anyone taking interviews to give me feedback as I want to be better at interviews.

First I think I need to explain some of the thinking behind interviews:

  • People hire people they like. You could have more IT qualifications than an MVP at Microsoft but if you don’t click with the interviewer, it is going to be hard to progress in the interview process.
  • Most interviewers know or will have gut feel if the candidate is the right fit in the first 1 – 5 minutes of talking to the candidate so this is the most impactful part of the interview. In a moment of honesty, I have been in a lift / elevator going with the candidate to the interview room after picking them up from reception and knew it was a waste of time taking that ride based on my initial impressions of the candidate. So be on point and smile. There is also chance to make a quick joke to break the ice so try it. If you have looked up the interviewer on Linkedin and seen they have just won an award…mention that as an ice breaker. Covid / social distancing rules offers a good opener / ice breaker for hand shake or fist bump and why does a greeting now turn into a game of paper (going in for a hand shake), scissors, stone (going in for a fist bump). I’m wasted being an IT support manager, I should have been a comedian!
  • The interview are there to get candidates talking so the interviewer can build up a picture if they are going to like the person and will they work well within the existing team. So talk and be more then a few word answer or yes / no but be concise and straightforward with your answers. I want to get from A to B in the answer which is straight forward and not A going via E to G to Z to C to D to B which is a confusing answer.

Golden rule for all interviewers

The interviewer should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER laugh / make fun at the candidates answer in an interview. Interviews are stressful enough. If a candidate answers a question badly and the interviewer laughs or makes fun of the answer then the candidate will be destroyed and it is massively disrespectful to the candidate. I have listened to some terrible answers given to a question but you must sit there dead pan, agree, maybe ask questions and write notes. Like any test, people answer some questions badly sometimes but can answer others really well so if you laugh / make fun of answers and destroy the candidates on question 2 of 10 then answers 3-10 might not be the best.

Remember : An interview is a two way street. Both the candidate AND the interviewer are trying to impress each other in the interview. How you are treated in the interview really shows how the manager might treat their team and is this a team you want to be joining?

Assessing candidates overall on a CV

I hate to break it to you but if you are interviewing for an IT support position and are already working in in IT Support then you are one of many who work in an IT support team of 2-10 analysts who fixed windows / office and other bespoke software on a company’s desktops and laptops. You fix about 10-20 tickets a day served to you by some form of call logging system eg Servicenow, Freshworks, Jira via chat / emails or phone calls. You may have a bunch of qualifications but in the real world, setups of software and various configurations make some of this knowledge, perfect world scenario vs real world scenario. Eg you could put all your windows software knowledge to the test and take hours fixing someone laptop but in the real world, it might be quicker and easier to give someone a replacement laptop, copy over all the data and then just rebuild the software image on the laptop with a problem.

Bottom line. You are unlikely to be that special on paper. Sorry.

IT Recruiters

It does NOT matter :

  • What industry a candidate has worked in. I have worked in the hotel, newspaper, insurance, food and beverage, consultancy, recruitment and media industries. A computer/ software that needs fixing is a computer / software that needs fixing in every company. Yes, there are different demands and different software /configurations but these can be learnt easily through time.
    • Please stop discounting candidates if they haven’t worked in the specific industry your client’s company are working in.
  • What software a candidate may or may not have used.
    • Administering Office 365 to a 1st or 2nd line level takes about 1 hour to learn.
    • Learning how to log tickets in a ITSM tool eg Service now takes about 30 mins – 1 hour to learn the company’s way to log tickets, what categories to use and which team to escalate which tickets to which team.
    • Learning to use Landesk / SCCM to deploy software takes about 10 mins to learn how to search for the machine needing the software and then drag the computer to the distribution task and click deploy.
    • Please stop discounting candidates who may not have used the exact software your client’s company uses to support their users.

Thankyou from all the potential candidates hiring managers should get to see but don’t get considered as they aren’t a 100% cookie cutter fit. Everyone learns on the job they are hired for.

Therefore I will interview anyone with 1-2 years + IT support experience, I’m really not too fussy. What I am really looking for is someone with personality and can give a great customer experience. I can teach technical skills easier than I can teach customer service skills. I would even say, you either have customer service skills or you don’t.

Structure of an interview

The interviews are normally structured into 5 parts:

  1. Introductions of everyone who will be interviewing, their roles within the company and the structure of the interview possibility with a company overview
  2. The candidate is asked to gives an overview of their career / past few jobs
  3. Competency questions based on IT support
  4. Questions around what the candidate knows about the position and company then the interviewer will give an overview of the position being recruited for.
  5. The candidate gets to ask questions to the interviewer. This is an opportunity for the candidate to learn more about the company or manager or position.

My Interview questions

Tell me about your last jobs / job? (I go back maybe 3-5 years so this might be one job or several.)

Why I ask this:

It is an initial standard, boring questions to get someone talking. I want to understand the make up of their team eg how many analysts was in the team, were they in one area or geographically dispersed, what was their role in the team eg were they junior or a senior member in the team, how many tickets did they deal with? What types of tickets did they work on?

I might ask some questions off the back of their initial answers but ultimately I want to know if they have been working for a company of 10 people total and my organisation is 10,000 people…there might be a gap. If this is you, really think about how you might show you can take on the step up. A company of 10,000 is going to be more structured and possibly you might have less responsibilities / you won’t get able to have access to as much as you did in the smaller company to get involved in, so have you through about this?

If someone has had multiple jobs, then I might ask :

What was your best job and why?

Why I ask this:

I want to know why they liked it, maybe they had a great manager or team? Maybe every Friday they were out to a bar with their team and other people from the department which made for a fun environment etc and maybe my environment might align to what they liked in their best job.

What is your greatest achievement either at work or out of work?

Why I ask this:

This gives the candidate the opportunity to puff out their chest out and be proud of something. It is also a good gauge to see what people are proud of and look at some of the personal qualities shown by the candidate when sharing these stories.

Some example answers I have had:

“I took in a stray dog when I had just left school at 18. Nobody in my family believed I could take care of this dog. I am therefore very proud to say that dog is still living with me 5 years later.”

“I stayed late to sort out a laptop for one of the members of staff. I was the only one who could sort this out as I was the only one with the level of access and had sorted out this persons issues with the particular software in question. The next day the person bought me a box of chocolates for staying late and helping them.”

“I sourced and was the main person to deal with an audio and visual company to come in and replace all the audio and visual equipment in our large meeting room where townhall’s with the entire office took place. After the replacement I was the main person to train up my team on how to use the equipment. After replacing the equipment there was never any issues hosting and running a townhall.”

What would you do if you are dealing with an issue with one member of the business and then the Managing Director (MD) comes over to you and needs your help urgently in the meeting room. What would you do?

Why I ask this:

This is a customer experience questions. Ultimately the most senior person in an organisation is asking for urgent help but you are dealing with an issue already. How are you going to deal with this?

eg:

  1. Are you going to drop everything, walk away from the existing issue and go help the MD?
  2. Are you going to ask the business person if it is ok to go take a look and help the MD?
  3. Are you going to ask a colleague if they can help take over helping the business user issues while you go help the MD?
  4. Are you going to turn around to the MD and say ‘I’m busy already, go find someone else’
  5. Are you going to run out the door scream ‘I can’t take this pressure!!!!’?

My whole ethos about IT support is the customer experience so this is key question for me to assess if we are aligned or not?

What is a CAB or a Change Advisory Board?

Why I ask this:

  • Do you know about ITIL?
  • Do you know how changes work in an ITIL environment?

What is the difference between an incident and a request?

Why I ask this:

  • What do you know about ITIL?
  • What do you know about IT operations, logging tickets and maybe SLA which normally are different when talking about an incident vs a request

Someone in marketing is trying to print to a printer in the office they have always printed to and nothing is coming out, what would you do?

Why I ask this:

I want to see how you troubleshoot an issue eg

  • How are you managing the customer experience? Are they under any time pressures? Are they late for a meeting so you can’t troubleshoot for a long time so need a workaround for now and can go back and fix it when there is more time?
  • Ask the person to reboot their machine and try again?
  • Can you print to that printer?
  • Is there any error messages on the printer?
  • Has the printer got paper?
  • Can you ping that printer?
  • Is the printer plugged in?
  • Can you reboot the printer?
  • Have you reloaded the printer on the persons machine?
  • Can anyone else print to that printer?

Someone is working from home and their internal webcam eg integrated into the laptop isn’t working in Microsoft Teams, what do you do to try and solve this issue?

Why I ask this:

I want to see how you troubleshoot an issue remotely when you can’t get your hands on the machine. What things would you check or are initial things you would try to solve this?

  • How are you managing the customer experience? Are they under any time pressures? Are they late for a meeting so you can’t troubleshoot for a long time so need a workaround for now and can go back and fix it when there is more time?
  • Have you rebooted the machine?
  • Does the webcam pick up in other programs eg skype? Webex?
  • What is the error message? Have you googled it?
  • Have you reloaded the drivers?
  • Has the person got another webcam eg an external webcam that they could use.

Some one is working in the office and they can’t connect to anything on the network. You run a cmd – ipconfig command and see their IP address is 169.254.x.x. What would you do?

Why I ask this:

  • How are you managing the customer experience? Are they under any time pressures? Can they work from another desk? Are they late for a meeting so you can’t troubleshoot for a long time so need a workaround for now and can go back and fix it when there is more time?
  • What do you know about the special address range of 169.254.x.x?
  • Have you released and renewed the ip address?
  • Have you checked the patching?
  • Is the network cable plugged directly into the computer or via the IP Phone? Can you plug the network cable directly into the computer instead of via the phone?
  • Have you reseated the network cables?

Tell me a time where an issues hasn’t gone well or you made a mistake. How did you mitigate it or recover the situation?

Why I ask this:

EVERYONE makes mistakes. Anyone that tells you they haven’t is lying or is a weak individual that they can’t admit their faults. I have made small to massive mistakes during my career. eg many, many years ago I encrypted a directors ‘my documents’ on this laptop as this was an IT project to encrypt peoples documents if they were working on a laptop. Unfortunately he hadn’t backed up these files to the server and then accidentally I deleted the private key needed to decrypt all the documents on this laptop. As result all the documents in ‘my documents’ was encrypted and there was no ways to decrypt them. That was a fun day…no, it was SO NOT a fun day.

So I want to know are you able to admit a mistake? What happened? How did you recover the situation? Did you escalate this to your manager and get their help or did you go it alone to recover the situation? How did you manage the customer experience?

My teams know I would rather put out little fires then big forest fires. Therefore if you keep an issue from me and it blows up from a little issue to a massive issue with escalations and lots of people very upset then that is a less than ideal situation for me to deal with. Managers should be there to support and help in these situations.

Why do you work in IT support?

Why I ask this:

I want to see if we are aligned. Answers that involve words like I enjoy speaking to people, I enjoy solving peoples problem or I like to make sure of a good customer experience are much better than, it’s just a job to pay the bills and to be honest I hate dealing with people but I need to do this job to get into networks or systems which is my dream job. An answer like this makes me sad and probably the interview isn’t going last too much longer.

What would be the result if I was to block port 80 on a users computer?

Why I ask this:

Do you know the IP ports of common protocols? eg the result of this action would be the user would not be able to access the internet as this is the port the computer uses to go out to the internet.

Curve ball question. Tell me your best friends name and tell me their best and worst quality?

Why I ask this :

Surprise question that you didn’t see coming, did you! This is all about catching someone off their guard with a question they have not prepared for. Everyone prepares to answer questions on themselves but not their best friend. So this is a bit of reverse psychology. Imagine your best friend is Ben. If Ben’s best quality is he likes to help people and his worse quality is he is always late. Then depending how the rest of the interview has gone, I might be drawing up the contract and hiring that person on the spot, why?

The best quality of a person is usually an aspirational quality of the person talking about their best friend that they want to be more like. I am all about customer experience and helping people so this is a pretty good quality to highlight that is their best friend best quality is also helping people.

The worse quality of Ben is he is always late. It is reasonable to guess the person saying this is always on time and is always waiting for Ben. Therefore I would assume that the person I am interviewing will always be on time to work and for meetings.

I have had a few people be so surprised by this question that they answer that their computer is their best friend. Please don’t use this as the answer. There isn’t many places to go when the answer for the best friends best quality is the computers load time and the worst quality is it tiny hard drive.

Questions to ask at the end of an interview to the interviewer

Never leave an interview without asking any questions at the end of the interview. Any job will mean you spend more time at work then you see your loved ones. You might want to make sure you will be happy working at the company if you are successful and you know what you are going to be doing.

Some example questions:

  • Can you explain what a normal day/ week might look like for me eg duties and responsibilities if I am successful at this job?
  • Can you tell me what hours are worked eg are you going to be on duty 9am-5pm? Are there shifts?
  • How often do team meetings and 1:1’s take place with you and the team?
  • Can you give me an overview of the team members I will be working with?
  • What projects might be coming up that I might be involved in?
  • Why do you like working at this company?
  • What would you change to make your or the teams life better, if you had a magic wand and money / budgets were unlimited.
  • What is your biggest achievement while you have been working at this company?
  • What is the biggest issue for the team at the moment?
  • What would you expect of me/goals/targets during my first 3-6 months?
  • Name your best friend and their best and worst quality? Reasoning above.
  • Can I see where I might be working? Note : A clean environment rather than a messy environment is normally preferred.

What can you do to better prepare for interviews?

Dress to impress, I might be old school but while you might be comfortable in shorts and t shirts, if I am the interviewer and I am wearing a suit…how comfortable would you be feeling in interview when you are there to impress me but you are wearing an old t-shirt? It is better to overdress than under dress for an interview.

If the interview is a video conference. Make sure you have a neutral or plain wall background. You may love a sports team and have all their posters but don’t have them in the background to your video conference. That a) is distracting to the interviewer b) if the interviewer or their team hates your sports team, it might impact the interview or your chances of getting to the next stage. A neutral or plan background means there are no distractions, so the interviewer focuses on you.

Try answering the interview questions I listed earlier on to your mum, dad, loved one and see if they understand what you are saying or they get lost in your description of your work back ground or other answers. You must be able to explain things in plain terms. In an interview I might ask you what is a ping, so if your mum / dad /loved one also asked this and you could explain this in simple terms to them then you are ahead of the game. Some people in a business really do not know too much about computers and this is not a bad thing. They are much better then you at the jobs they are paid to do. Remember this the next time someone on the support desk scoffs/laughs that someone didn’t know how to reboot their computer or do something you on the support desk think is SO easy. If you come at the business person with really technical phases and make them feel stupid then this might be a recipe to inflame the situation. You have to be able to explain things in plain term and making sure the customer experience is on point.

Remember, Einstein once said :

“If you can’t explain things simply, you don’t understand it well enough”

I have unfortunately met and worked with lots of IT people who this quote is very true for.

Put away your phone and make sure it is on silent. The second you look at your phone in an interview then you are saying to the interviewer my phone is more important then you. Game over.

Look up the company and what they do and maybe look up the interviewers on LinkedIn to know their background. If the interviewer has just started at the company, then you could asked ‘I noticed on Linkedin you have just started at the company. How are you getting on starting at x company?’. Show some interest in what the company does, who runs it, some recent news etc if you are asked ‘what do you know about this company’ you need to say something.

Answer questions as ‘I’ and not ‘we’. I want to know what you (the candidate) did not what a collective did. If a candidate answers questions as ‘we did this’ we did that’ it gives the impression the candidate was in the backseat and didn’t really know what was going on, they were more going along for the ride.

DO NOT BE LATE. If needs be, go on a visit to the office ahead on weekend or after work on weekday before the interview to make sure you know where to go on the day or allow plenty of time to get to the interview on the day. You would rather be walking around outside the office killing time before the interview then flustered and late for the interview. I have cancelled interviews if the candidate was more then 10mins late, plenty more candidates who can be on time out there. Do not be the one who does not make it past reception as they have arrived late.

Learn about ITIL, it is a framework most companies use to organise and run their IT department so knowing something about this or getting the foundation exam is a massive bonus. I know ITIL can be a little dry but this is a book I recommend to everyone and is even funny in parts explaining what ITIL is. Click here

This is an article I wrote explaining ITIL click here as an interior design catalogue…go with it people.

Try out Servicenow. Servicenow is one of the biggest IT Service Management (ITSM) tools used by most organisations. So learn how to log tickets, reassign tickets to different teams, close tickets etc. You can get a free instance of Servicenow via their developer portal here

I have also put together some Servicenow videos that are available on my blog for more of a delve into the inner workings of Servicenow. click here

Do you know how to change someone password? What is AD? What is a ping? What is a tracert?

There are plenty of resources. Watch Kevin Apolinario (click here) and Zac Hill’s (click here) youtube channels which are great. Have a play and learn about different software eg:

Microsoft Learning Centre : https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/browse/ – English, other languages are available.

AWS fundamental free training https://explore.skillbuilder.aws/learn/public/learning_plan/view/82/cloud-foundations-learning-plan

Networking basics by Cisco for free https://www.cisco.com/c/en_uk/solutions/small-business/resource-center/networking/networking-basics.html

Then there are sites such as :

https://www.udemy.com/

https://www.coursera.org/

If you want to start paying for courses which go into more depth.

Blog. Like I said earlier, on CV it is hard to differentiate most IT support candidates so one way to be different and stand out from the crowd is start a blog. This blog costs me about $20 per year for the domain and is set up on WordPress. However, if you click about, you learn about me that you wouldn’t learn from reading my CV. Therefore my blog help make me stand out from the crowd as any hiring manager can look at my blog and click through my articles in their own time, to work out if they want to interview me and can build up a picture of my thinking prior to the interview. As this is just a link on my CV. If you were to blog about technologies you are interested in, your opinions or views it lets people know about you and you might align to a hiring managers thinking before the interview.

I hope this helps and I would really love to hear what you think of this article? These articles are written to lay out everything I do and want to learn how to be better. So please leave any comments how I could run an interview better. Do you agree / disagree with some of the questions? Are there any questions I am missing? What has been your best and worst questions asked?

Better team meetings

Reflecting on management practice that someone else carries out and your own management practice is key for any manager / leader to try and better. I was thinking about my team meetings and how they could be much better. A team meeting, to me, is a place where a team can come together and voice up any issues they are having that the team can help or the manager can escalate, ask for help from the team on a problem and the manager can explain any new projects coming up or ask for status updates on projects or work needing to be done.

In a moment of pure honesty, these sound great on paper but, there are not issues 100% of the time, there are not new projects coming 100% of the time and people know how to do their jobs. So the team meeting becomes a bit unstructured and can be very short if there is nothing really to talk about. Its nice to sometime have a team meeting where if there is nothing to talk about it turns into a bonding, fun session where you can just talk about some current affairs or a sports match…but not too many meetings otherwise people will start thinking if it worth take 30mins out of their day.

What could I do to make my team meetings more engaging and provide more value? I thought about getting my team to watch youtube self help / management videos and to discuss them in the team meeting. A sort of book club lite. 15-30 mins videos to be watched between the team meetings and then discuss them. The hope would be this might spark interest in other team member to add their videos they might have watched. This would build a better and more rounded team.

Some talks / books I would be targeting :

Talks

Books

  • Total competition : Lessons in Strategy from Formula One – Ross Brawn / Adam Parr
  • Legacy – What the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life – James Kerr
  • How to Win Rugby and Leadership – Clive Woodward
  • SAS : Who Dares Wins : Leadership Secret from the Special Forces – Ant Middleton, Jason Fox, Matthew Ollerton and Colin Maclachlan
  • Turn the ship Around!: A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking the rules – L. David Marquet
  • The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek
  • Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
  • Hit Refresh – Satya Nadella

Podcasts

  • The High Performance Podcast
  • The Diary of a CEO with Steve Bartlett – Episode 96 How to take full control of your mind
  • Modern Wisdom

Learning Resources

Interested to know what other managers thoughts on this are? Is this something you have tried? Do you think this will work or not, and why do you think this?