Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What's the most important question employees should be asking management?

Dear Readers, for the past several weeks, this CMMI Appraiser has been sharing excerpts from a conversation with Bill Fox on Exploring Forward-thinking Workplaces™. Bill interviewed me about our innovative approach to creating forward-thinking workplaces. Here’s my response to Bill’s fifth question, “What's the most important question employees should be asking management?” Enjoy!

Hey, Jeff, What's the most important question employees should be asking management? ~ Bill Fox, Exploring Forward-thinking Workplaces

Hey, Bill, I'm writing a book for young technology professionals about how they can take steps early on to be more successful in their career. As part of that book, I've been interviewing CEOs of technology companies to get their perspective.
One of the things I'm hearing from them is that, especially with the younger team members, they are not focused on making the company successful. They are not asking, “What can I personally to do to make you and your company more successful?” I think the most important question an employee should be asking management is, "How can I make this organization rock?" "How can I help us win?"

When I was coming up in the technology business I used to ask my immediate manager “how can I make you successful in your mission?”

I think sometimes people, especially in large companies, don't really see the traceability between their actions and the success of the company. They have a bit of a disconnect between sales and engineering. If you go to a big engineering company like Lockheed Martin, L3 or SAIC, the engineers have very little visibility into what the sales team is doing. There tends to be some friction between the two groups. I tell them, "Look, this is a team. Nothing happens unless your sales people sell something.” And the sales people don’t continue to be rewarded if you don’t deliver. We all need each other! If the accounts receivable manager can’t get her invoices out, none of us can pay our rent – help make everyone successful!

I think people need to do a better job of saying, "What can I do to help this company be more successful?" Then get really specific on it and focus on those things. If they start asking those questions then everyone is going to be communicating and be on the same page, which should be “let's make this organization rock, so we have great careers, build great products, and have a great time doing it!” Anything else is a waste of talent.

For those interested in CMMI Training as a way to receive the right amount of process guidance so you can change behavior and improve performance, we invite you to attend our Intro to CMMI class on November 2-4, in San Diego, CA. Register here.

[Please check back soon for the final question from Bill Fox on Exploring Forward-thinking Workplaces: What's the most important question we should be asking ourselves?]

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.

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