A company once hired me to organize their global e-mail system. The business had been quickly formed through acquisitions, and no time had been spent organizing technology, or taking advantage of economies of scale. There were over 300 offices worldwide with nearly all of them on completely independent and different e-mail systems. There was no way to even know what the email addresses of most, let alone all of the company employees were. Sending an email to “everyone” was not possible.
Consolidating this into a single email platform was the obvious answer. While doing this it became clear we needed consolidated purchasing for the email licenses. We were buying them at retail prices all over the world. This made another fact painfully apparent; there was no IT purchasing being done as a group at all. This amounted to millions of dollars in loss from duplication, waste, and buying everything at the highest prices.
I was new and really just the “mail guy”, but this problem needed to be solved, and I was going to be doing it for mail licenses anyway, why not do this for all the IT products. MY Notes developers began to create an application in Lotus Notes to do just that, we began the process of making a workflow program to manage purchase requests, approvals, quotes, and purchase orders etc. We implemented the system, and put in some standards for bidding, approvals, and response times and the system began to do what it was designed for. It was simple and to the point, and created huge savings.
Taking the initiative was key in being promoted to my next position which was managing all the infrastructure for the company. It still included overseeing the e-mail management and consolidation, and yes I now did both jobs. It required me to take on more work with the same amount of hours, but my ability to produce increased.
I took the same attitude in the next position and was promoted soon after. Again, I was asked to do more with the same amount of resources, and again my ability to lead others and accomplish more increased as well.
The point to this story is that the best way for you to move forward is the same as it is for a company to move forward. Find new ways to add value for customers. If you can do this without adding additional costs, all the better. In order for a company to do this, they must have employees step out of their box. Consequently, employees will make mistakes doing this, yet this culture of encouraging people to step into areas where there is risk of failure is critical in coming up with new ideas and being competitive.
A manager who vigorously rewards success and turns a blind eye to failure can create this type of culture.
No good deed goes unrewarded or unnoticed should be the motto.
Its about the people, always and in all ways!
John E Tanner