Home > Community, Prof Dev > It’s Confession Time

It’s Confession Time

I have a confession to make.  I’ve been working for the same company for just 3 months shy of 13 years, and I’ve been a part of that same company’s IT Operations team for just shy of 12 years.  I know, I know.  That simple fact makes me a dinosaur in the IT world, and it also means that I’m likely underpaid and that I likely have a limited set of experiences from which to draw from.  While I recognize why IT folks hop around from one company to another I have a handful of reasons why I’ve stayed in the same place for so long, and why I have no intention to leave any time soon.  This post and subsequent ones will share some of those reasons and hopefully show you that it is possible to find a perfect fit where employment is concerned.

I have my reasons.

The first thing I want to share with you is that the company I work for and I have shared values.

No, really, we do.

I place a high value on family, friends, and local communities that I exist in.  So does the company I work for.  It is a privately held corporation that has been run by the same family since the beginning in 1944.  The sons and daughters of the founder sit on the board of directors with the addition of a few close, long-term friends.  I know that for some the idea of a medium sized corporation being run by brothers and sisters is a bit scary, but trust me – it works in our case.   The company I work for participates in both the local community via charitable donations to local groups and allowing and encouraging employees to take part in local efforts like Junior Achievement.  It also participates in the community we serve with our business by donating to groups like Jewelers for Children, assisting with sponsorships to events like The Santa Fe Symposium, and processing scrap precious metals for efforts like Jewelers for Japan.

The company I work for and I both place a high value on our impact to the environment.  I am able to recycle at work almost more easily than I can at home, there are efforts to reduce energy usage, reduce waste, and in general be good citizens of this planet that happen on a constant basis at work.  I know that these things all make good economic sense in the long run, but they do take effort to coordinate and maintain and that time and effort can all but eliminate any cost savings you might see as a corporation, yet the company I work for still does it.

The company I work for takes a principle-based approach to guiding behavior rather than being bound by rules that have no flex or give.  This is a big one for me.  Nothing makes me more frustrated than a rule that doesn’t apply to the situation, yet must be enforced because it is the rule.  By allowing principles to guide the behavior and our decision making process we are able to be more agile, make quicker decisions, and adapt to situations more quickly than a business that is bound by a rule book full of policy and procedure, and that suites me just fine.  As my family and friends can attest I stopped seeing the world in black and white a long time ago, and working in a company that recognizes the multiple shades of gray, while maintaining ethics and remaining law abiding is just about perfect for me.

Speaking of Principles

While I’m mentioning our principle-based approach, it may be helpful for you to see them in print.  It will give you a basis for where I come from in both my writing and my presenting.

  1. Do what you agree to do.
  2. Do not encroach on other people or their property.
  3. Create an environment of trust.
  4. Be open and honest.
  5. Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  6. Express and value all feelings, concerns, and ideas equally.
  7. Exchange your best effort for the best effort of others.
  8. Develop long-term relationships of mutual benefit (WIN\WIN)
  9. Have fun.
  10. Passionately develop and pursue shared and individual purposes and goals.
  11. Strive to maintain a positive attitude at all times.
  12. Maintain your power to succeed by choosing not to believe you are a victim.
  13. Take responsibility for your part in each live experience and learn from it.
  14. Be successful by helping others to be successful and accepting that help for yourself.
  15. Lead by influence (using reason, benefits, and inspiration) rather than by coercion (using force, fear, and innuendo).

So there you have it, the 15 principles that guide the way the company I work for treats it’s stakeholders, and in this case it’s stakeholders are the owners, employees, customers, vendors, and any other partner you can think of.

Go ahead, read that list again.

I think it’s pretty impressive, and quite a lofty goal to get more than 300 people from all different walks of life to not only try to meet those principles, but to actually follow them day in and day out.  I’m happy to report that the company I work for is mostly successful at doing just that, and it makes for a quite happy workplace.  I do have to confess that it’s not easy to follow every principle every single day, and as a DBA and Sys Admin it would be a lot easier to use the ‘because I said so’ reason to explain many of the decisions I make about systems.  What I can tell you is that by following most of the principles above, especially when explaining to someone why they can’t have DBO rights to a database, or why they can’t be added to the Domain Admin role to simplify their access to files on the network there are far fewer hurt feelings, significantly less push back when I have to make drastic changes to permissions or systems, and honestly it takes less effort and time to treat people with respect and show reasons and benefits to changes than it does to have an argument about it.

Next up I will talk a bit about each of the principles and how they apply to IT.

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Categories: Community, Prof Dev
  1. lou
    June 9, 2011 at 9:03 am

    It isn’t often you find a place where you know that you and the company are happy and have the same goals. I am extremely jealous! I have copied you list of goals and popped it to my company, the response was awesome 🙂

    • June 9, 2011 at 9:12 am

      I’m glad you received a positive response when sharing the list of principles. I’ll be honest – it can be hard work to meet even some of them on a regular basis, but it does get easier as time goes on.

  1. March 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

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