The Paralympics came to a close this weekend. As the games unfolded, we saw a passion to serve the public in a way that we weren’t accustomed to in the UK. There were the athletes themselves who were not just turning up and “trying” because they had impairments, they were there because they were professionals who wanted more than anything to achieve greatness in their chosen field despite the lack of funding or feeling undervalued in the past.
Now the Paralympics are over, the focus turns to the legacy of the games: How can we capitalise on this feel good factor, the raising of the human spirit, the continued support development and reframing of attitudes?
This train of thought got me thinking about each of our own professional legacies. What, for example, is your service desk legacy? Is it closing hundreds of incidents? Or do you create mountains of unread reports? Is there more that you and your teams can achieve?
For IT teams, what do you want to be remembered for in your roles? Are you mentoring the next generation through sharing knowledge or are you helping take your organisations to new heights by working toward business KPIs?
Both the Olympians and Paralympians talked about how they trained together side by side. Even though they were competing in different games, they had the understanding and could talk knowledgeably about what each other faced and how hard they worked to achieve what they did.
In the Service Desk world, we often hear that we need to understand the customer and the customer experience. Perhaps this should be the same for IT team colleagues. I read an article about the Paralympic sport of goalball, a sport for the visually impaired. The journalist explained about how as an able bodied writer she had moaned about having to spend two hours driving to a match until she realised that the visually impaired athletes had taken four trains and a couple of buses and spent 5 hours just to reach the same match.
How difficult is it really to walk across the room and speak to your colleagues working in another area of IT or visit your customer sites once a month to hear how things are going? Gaining insights into the jobs of your IT colleagues and understand what pressures a team might have been under to invoke a change which created a number of incidents might just help you achieve greatness in the future.
At the end of the Paralympics they mentioned lifting the clouds of limitation. That kind of thinking should be explored. If something can’t be done because an IT process doesn’t allow, ask why not? Why can’t we change the process, explore where the limitations are, and look at what can be done to lift them.
The games also touched on inspiring a generation and shifting public attitudes. The reframing of the Paralympians as superhumans with this advertisement that ran here in the UK was a master stroke in terms of starting that shift. Children with disabilities are now aspiring to be Paralympians.
You never hear young adults talking about aspiring to work on a service desk. It’s usually not a stop off on their career journey. Is it time to seize the moment and inspire a generation of those coming into the workforce. Shift the perception of the service desk through every communication method possible, decode some of the mysteries surrounding the desk such as ITIL, and take time to mentor these new stars and share your knowledge so that employees are fighting to join the team that delivers on determination, endurance, creativity and skill. We aren’t looking to create IT superheroes but perhaps set the superhuman standard amongst other professions.
Many of you will have witnessed first-hand the Olympics Gamemakers. These polite, entertaining, heart warming individuals, whose sole purpose was to serve “made” the experience of all those that attended. Could that service attitude by your legacy aim?
Finally, there has been much talk about the digital native and some of you might have seen the SDI presentation Service Desk 2017 and beyond by Chris Dancy of Servicesphere. He talked about the convergence of people with tools through body hacks and new interfaces to be the ultimate knowledge workers. Think on to some of those guys in wheelchairs who are already patched into this computer technology more so than any able bodied person so that they could close an incident literally with the blink of an eye. These guys are already one step ahead in the superhuman stakes, the rest of us have some catching up to do.
So today think about what you want your service desk legacy to be then go out and make it happen.