Agile Computing Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski


Sounds Like a Personal Problem

If you expect your employees to treat the company’s problem as their own, then you need to treat their problems as your own

When an employee has to miss work because his wife is sick, or when another does not show up to work because her mother has to deal with a serious disease, if it sounds like a personal problem, it is. Yours!

You are the CEO. The entrepreneur. Your passion fuels this business. Day in, day out, round the clock, you are thinking of growing and improving the company. You are 200% consumed by it and expect your staff to be as well.

You need your team to stay late to meet a deadline, or come in early to deal with an emergency. You want them to think, live, breath the company to beat the competition and continually emerge as the winner. Rightfully so, you expect them to know that if they take care of the clients, the company would do better and that's what is required for them to continue to have a gainful employment.

Yet, success requires more than a simple quid pro quo relationship of "You work for me, and I pay you." Success requires your entrepreneurial passion to be present in every facet of the business.

If you expect your employees to treat the company's problem as their own, then you need to treat their problems as your own.

Do Whatever It Takes
Take the time to understand what is occupying the mind of your team. Reach out to them, be a good listener, and genuinely do whatever it takes to solve the problem. Don't do lip service. If there is nothing you can do, offer them time off so they reconcile on their own.

You may ask, how can I afford this. If everyone stops working due to their personal problems, how do I run the company. In return I say, you can't afford not to do this.

Even if you think about it in the most analytical, even borderline selfish way, you will recognize that you pay your team for progress, not for showing up at work, clocking in, warming a seat and clocking out. If one is pre-occupied with personal issues, they will be substantially less productive and will most likely influence the rest of the team in a negative way.

Yet, if you assist them to quickly solve their problem, not only have you gained their productivity back, you have also earned their respect and loyalty. They feel one with the company and next time the company at large, or a team member, needs help, be it business or personal, they will jump to help.

Now, the company's problems are their problems. Leading by example, you have infused your passion in your team which in all likelihood will become your largest competitive advantage.

Will It Become a Free for All?
One of the beauties of running an open company is that abuses and disingenuous actions quickly become apparent. As part of your loyalty to the entire team, you must swiftly address abuse. Interestingly enough, employees do recognize that a few people can ruin it for all, and will also rise to the occasion and guide others to not confuse the company's compassion with a free pass.

Loyalty and the CEO Grade
If we went by the book and our performance as CEOs was being graded by MBA students, many of us, including some legendary CEOs we have all read about, would get a failing grade.

As the numbers go, the moment an employee is not carrying his/her weight, they must be cut and room should be made for replacements.

However, in most instances these purely by the numbers short-sighted savings cost us dearly in the long-term. It ruins the winning attitude throughout the company. Employees will only do the minimal effort to keep their job and will project the company's attitude directly back. While you may not be within an earshot and hear it, the conversation in the hallway goes as "The company does not care about me, why should I bust my butt for it."

You understand that the market has ups and downs. Sometime you do great, and sometimes you get by. People have ups and downs too. We need to be loyal to those who have been loyal to the company and be patient while they are sorting out their problems. It may seem expensive, but don't consider it a cost, look at it as an investment. You will have a dedicated and loyal employee for years to come.

Remember, the secret ingredient of every recipe is Love. With love, making four course meals is as easy as pouring cereal in bowl. With reluctance, frying an egg will produce below par results.

So be bold. Don't be concerned with your CEO grade as viewed by outsiders. Be concerned with how your employees grade you as a CEO. If your employees see you on their side, they will work side by side, with passion and love, ensuring your company's success. After all, that's the only CEO grade that counts.

More Stories By Siamak Farah

Siamak Farah is the founder and CEO of InfoStreet, a leading provider of Small Business Software as a Service (SaaS). Active in its day-to-day management, Siamak has assembled and leads a seasoned team of industry professionals at InfoStreet. Widely regarded as a SaaS pioneer, as early as 1994, InfoStreet began shaping a vision, a team and a technology which is now transforming the way business gets done. As president of one small publicly listed software development firm and the chief operating officer of another, Siamak has extensive small business management knowledge. This, combined with years of experience as a software developer, places him in the unique position of having hands-on knowledge of technical, marketing and management issues, the very combination required for a successful Software as a Service provider. Prior to founding InfoStreet in 1994, Siamak worked at NeXT Computer, side-by-side with industry visionaries. During his six years at NeXT, his responsibilities grew from technical sales and marketing to district sales management. Before joining NeXT, Siamak was the Chief Operating Officer of Microstat Development Corporation. During that time, he was responsible for the day-to-day operation of this publicly listed R&D firm. Siamak began his career at Vertigo Systems International. During his time at Vertigo, he was instrumental in its growth from a startup with just six people to a full-fledged business employing over 70 individuals. The positions held by Siamak span the gamut of those required in the operation and management of a software development company. Siamak set out to experience these roles by deliberate design. At the age of 22, he already had a vision to create a software development firm. Leaving nothing to chance, Siamak systematically chose positions that would provide him with experience in all facets of a software business: development, customer service and training, executive management and finance, and sales and marketing. Having been in the industry for more than 25 years Siamak has striven to include a cutting edge technological vision in his work. As evidence, Siamak has been and continues to be active in the envisioning and creation of forefront technology. 3D-animation, Internet technology, and object-oriented programming, and Software as a Service are just a few leading edge technologies to which Siamak has actively contributed. A member of the Society of Industry Leaders, Siamak is a frequent speaker at conferences that focus on the Internet and SaaS such as ISPCON, INBOX: The Messaging Industry Event, the Layered Technologies Pact conference, SoftLetter’s SaaS Univeristy and more.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Chris Matthieu is the President & CEO of Computes, inc. He brings 30 years of experience in development and launches of disruptive technologies to create new market opportunities as well as enhance enterprise product portfolios with emerging technologies. His most recent venture was Octoblu, a cross-protocol Internet of Things (IoT) mesh network platform, acquired by Citrix. Prior to co-founding Octoblu, Chris was founder of Nodester, an open-source Node.JS PaaS which was acquired by AppFog and ...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...