Getting to Green

September 10, 2014 by

Openness and transparency are attributes of good leaders.

With thanks to various questions from Proust, I took a few minutes to consider my professional style.

What is your most marked characteristic? Curiosity and a desire to contribute. “Why?” and “Can you tell me more?” are questions I commonly ask. Providing direction for urgent situations even in these early days is a priority.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Unhappy customers, unexpected and lengthy outages, unexpected missed major deliverables, and non-collaborative colleagues.

What is your present state of mind? Curious and optimistic. I am asking a lot of questions, and many answers are encouraging. For example, there appears to be a good IT service management base, most noticeably incident management.

What natural gift would you most like to possess? An eidetic memory. It would be useful, like Sheldon in “The Big Bang Theory,” to be able to remember everything without having to take notes or hunt through e-mail archives.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Delighted customers, engaged colleagues and green status indicators. These three are dependent on each other. Without green indicators, IT units will not be perceived as partners. Without engaged colleagues, the trust and collaboration necessary for positive outcomes will not be present. If we are not a green and engaged organization, it will be difficult to delight customers. With apologies to Kermit, ‘it’s not easy being green’ but for IT, it’s necessary.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Digital addiction, texting while walking. Like Kipling’s elephant child, my ‘satiable curiosity’ can cause me to over-use my iPhone.

Who are your favorite characters in fiction? Frodo Baggins (Lord of the Rings, by Tolkien) and Anne Elliott (Persuasion, by Jane Austen). Both gave of themselves and persevered.

Who are your favorite characters in history? Queen Elizabeth the First. My favorite quote is attributed to her: “The end crowneth the work.” The end, for a technology professional, is measured by the delight of the end user.

What are the qualities most admired in a person? Active listening, patience, serious about work but doesn’t take self too seriously, gets stuff done. In the workplace, there are enough challenges without us talking over each other and eschewing an appropriate sense of humor. Listen, lighten up, work hard.

The Proust questionnaire is a thought-provoking exercise; I encourage others to take a few minutes and ask yourself these questions.


  1. Pretty sure I’m glad I’m not the CIO of Home Depot right now. (Shudder.) Security is not table stakes, it’s the floor beneath the table.
  2. Anecdote about @Apple customer service. The store said come on in and get my defective battery swapped out, I went there and they were out of new batteries, I made an appointment (via their online system), showed up and they had no record of the appointment, I had to go through an hour of digital addiction withdrawal while they replaced the battery, and the new battery was only charged at 45%. File under “things that make you go ‘hmmm’.”



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