The other day, in between meetings, I headed to the break room. Usually in a rush, I typically grab a coffee and head back to my desk for the next meeting. But this time, something stopped me right in my tracks. Someone on my team was leaning against the table in a strange way. In that instant I had a blink moment when rapid cognition occurs in a blink of an eye. It took me a second to conclude that something was amiss.
Instead of zipping back to my desk, I paused to ask if everything was ok. I got the perfunctory “Yes, I am fine”. But I wasn’t buying it, so I pressed on: “Are you sure you’re ok?” This time I got the real answer: “Well, actually I am not ok. My chest hurts”. I decided not to take any chances and called our Juniper campus security to summon emergency medical resources. Thankfully, this story ends on a good note: the employee was evaluated, treated on-site, and after a trip to the emergency room later that day, is now under a doctor’s care and doing better.
I share this real-life example up because it rings true for the IT profession, and management in general. I am part of an industry that is trained to analyze, research, and come up with reasons why we should or shouldn’t adopt new technologies. I am constantly asking myself questions like:
Will this IT tool, trend, or software increase productivity?
Will it help the company grow?
Will it help improve cycle time, customer satisfaction, or supply chain?
Ironically, IT is not always cut and dry and I have trained myself to listen to my gut. Here are some examples:
Cloud: Migrating standard apps to the cloud freed up IT resources. My gut said to apply cloud approach to platforms & infrastructure (not just apps). So I pushed my Juniper team to pursue a “Why Not Cloud” strategy.
Virtualization: Maximizing hardware utilization through virtualization promised a reduction in hardware expenses. My gut sensed there was more than just saving money. Virtualization could offer IT agility and flexibility.
Y2K: To prevent catastrophe, the IT industry proactively bought millions of dollars of software/IT services. Simply put: Y2K was herd mentality at its worst; doomsday hype trumped industry logic.
Getting back to the ill-stricken employee, for whatever reason, I knew there was something wrong and called for medical help. It can be so easy to totally immerse oneself with tech gadgets and forget about the human aspect surrounding us at work (or home). Thankfully, in this case, my eyes were not glued to my mobile device.
So, whether in IT or life in general, I encourage you to:
Embrace your blink moments
Do your homework and analysis but…learn to trust your gut
Just because you can’t explain it, doesn’t mean it is wrong
Stay alert and be aware of what is going on around you