Minimizing Interruptions to Stay “In the Zone”

  Have you ever been really focused on solving a problem? So focused that you tuned out the rest of the world around you? A monkey clanging cymbals in the cube next to yours wouldn't bother you, you are so focused. Some IT professionals call this "in the zone." Now, have you ever been interrupted by someone while you are in the zone? "Joe, got a question for you. It will only take a second." Aaagh! Studies have shown that it can take IT professionals up to 25 minutes to get back into the zone after an interruption. Think about that. That's productivity wasted. One 30 second … [Read more...]

First Ask “Why”, then Ask “How”

  A common refrain we hear when presenting at technical conferences and training events is “How can I get promoted into IT management?” We hear this so often that we’ve worked out a sort of mental flowchart for the subsequent dialog. (We are IT people after all). And our exploratory question is, “Why would you want a promotion into management?” The variety of answers is as unique as the people who ask the question, but they are pretty easy to aggregate into several broad categories: Read the rest of this article at ForITPros.com … [Read more...]

We’ve Got to Do More With Less

  "We've got to do more with less." A few years ago that phrase was tossed about regularly in companies throughout the U.S. and abroad. Although those exact words have fallen out of favor, the sentiment still exists in many organizations. As managers and leaders, we have fewer resources with which to accomplish more work. We only have two options. We can either increase the number of hours we work or we can accomplish more in the same amount of time. For most of us, the first option maybe okay for a season, but its not sustainable. Read the rest of this article at ForITPros.com … [Read more...]

Why Do People Leave a Good Company?

  When people join a company, it’s usually with a sense of anticipation, of excitement, and of enthusiasm. They are ready to get started and to make a difference. Whether they are an individual contributor or a mid-level manager, the first day at a new company brings with it a renewed sense of engagement and optimism. Over time, that first-day-of-work feeling wanes a bit and they get into a routine. It may be a consistent work-a-day routine or it may be a fast-paced, got-to-get-it-done-yesterday routine, but there’s a routine nonetheless. Read the rest of the article at … [Read more...]

Me and You or Me versus You

  Have you ever had to deal with a manager or co-worker who made your working life uncomfortable or even miserable? That’s one of the most difficult and emotionally taxing situations for adults all over the world. Each night, after a hard day of dealing with these people, IT pros are grousing to their significant others or bellying up to the bar ready to let off some steam. The bad news is that there are as many kinds of bad bosses and difficult co-workers as there are bad bosses and difficult co-workers. Each situation is unique. But there are often repeated patterns both in those … [Read more...]

Put Your New Leadership Knowledge Into Practice

Have you ever tried to hit a golf ball toward the pin, toss a dart at the bull's-eye, or chuck a fly at a trout? If you're like most people, your first attempt didn't come anywhere close to hitting the mark. Your golf ball may have found the woods, your dart may have sunk into the wall, and your fly may have slapped the back of your head. These activities are skills that must be acquired through practice and discipline. You can read a book about all of them and you can study the mechanics of motion, but until you put it into practice it is all theoretical. And most times, theories don’t … [Read more...]

Four New Slide Decks for SQL Server and IT Pros from the DevLink 2014 Conference

I always enjoy presenting at the DevLink conference, presented each summer in middle Tennessee.  This year, I'm trying to be a better social media person and actually post my slides (in their most recent forms) on my SlideShare account for everyone to see and share. If you attended my session(s) and enjoyed them, feel free to download the content here. But it'd be even better if you also left a few words in the Comment section. Skip below to grab the slide decks. Thanks very much! Enjoy, -Kevin -Follow me on Twitter! -Google Author Microsoft SQL Server Internals & … [Read more...]

MacGyver Moments

In case you haven't heard, your MacGyver Moments are those times when you improvised an excellent solution to a problem using non-traditional materials, techniques, or tools - like the time I repaired my flux capacitor using bailing wire, chewing gum, the tears of Glenn Beck, and the sweat of a master ninja. Necessity is the Mutha of Invention Believe it or not, I've got a long history of doing things MacGyver style.  To begin with, I grew up without two nickels to rub together.  That means you have to improvise - a lot. Once I hit teenage years, I was constantly tinkering with all … [Read more...]

What Does a Good Mentor Do for You?

These would be good mentors - me plus Adam Machanic, and Klaus Aschenbrenner Not long ago, John Sansom (Twitter | Blog) kicked off a SQL Community Project #DBAJumpStart by asking 20 successful and experienced SQL Server professionals this exact question: "If you could give a DBA just one piece of advice, what would it be?" I wrote up my Advice for the Aspiring DBA post here, while John collected the entire set of responses here within the DBA JumpStart collection. Part of my advice, indeed of several of the contributors, was to find and build a strong mentor-protege relationship.  But what … [Read more...]

You’re Leading in More Ways Than You Realize

The following is an excerpt from Kevin and Joe Webb's (Blog | Twitter) monthly IT Pro eNewsletter.   You're Leading in More Ways Than You Realize It's that time of year again. The sights and sounds of modern-day gladiators clashing on the gridiron field. If you're a football fan, there is no better time of year. In football, the quarterback is the de facto leader of the offense of team. Late in the game it is to him that the team looks to snatch a last minute come-from-behind victory from certain defeat. That's a lot of weight to put on one man's shoulders. Yet the … [Read more...]