Confessions of an ITSM practitioner

If you’re  one of the countless ITSM practitioners who  work daily in organizations large and small, in countries around the world, listen up. You know how hard, lonely, and thankless  it can be. You have friends out there.

I listened to Mark Kawasaki’s presentation at this week’s Tomorrow’s Future Today 2013 conference.


The guy shows up with no slide deck! He talks for nearly 35 minutes straight from the heart. Just to keep it real, he is interrupted by texts to his phone and a young visitor at the door, stage left.

Maybe it’s just where I’m at, but Mark spoke to me.

He talked about being Authentic. About being Transparent.

And then, just like a seasoned evangelist, he caught me off guard by the stark bluntness of his candor.

… think about the value your organization provides…think about what it does in the world…what social value it provides…. how does it impact lives…is it improving the quality of life in some way…if it’s not… you should leave…

Being Authentic

When I accepted my first management position as Telecom Operations Manager for HP back in 1999, I started a journey of discovery. The demands of leadership and the break-neck pace of IT Operations tore through my layers of insulation and jolted my core.

What am I about? Really about.

I encouraged a struggling employee to spend a weekend writing down every time he could remember feeling successful. Didn’t have to be work related.

On Monday he greeted me wild-eyed like he’d seen A Great Light. He had clearly  discovered something about himself. He eventually quit, went back to school, and is now a councilor.

He was about connecting with and helping people, and he wasn’t finding it sitting in front of a network monitoring console.

He left. And pursued excellence.

When I left HP in 2008, I discovered my own  list  had a common thread of being part of others’ excellence.

In my 24 years with HP, I had the humbling privilege of working with some of the best people in the industry. Each one coached, mentored, educated, and inspired me in some way. Excellence is an organizational value that deeply resonates with me.

(I also learned ITSM as a framework for excellence.)

I strive to bring Excellence to everything I do, and inspire others to Excellence as well. I believe all people can be Excellent.

Am I perfect? Hardly.

Do I have fears and doubts? Definitely.

Do I make mistakes? Absolutely.

And I own them, readily admit to them, and actively work to correct, grow and develop.

This is  who I am. I don’t apologize for it.

Being an ITSM practitioner is hard. Moments of inspiring success, followed by fear and failure looming around the next corner. I think about this stuff night and day – how to communicate better. How to manage change. How to connect with people. Will this ever work. How can we improve.

Set backs. Heartaches. Self doubt.

It’s the stuff that generally stays inside your head. And yet, it’s the reality that most ITSM practitioners live in. There’s a world of ITSM people like you and me who are walking the same road.

If we risk being transparent about our fears and self doubt. If we are willing to admit to our missteps and setbacks. To share our successes and our failures. To be… Authentic…We will all be better for it. We’re all in this together. Practitioners. Consultants. Trainers.

Reach out.

Join the conversation.

If you’ve ever worked with ITSM in any capacity, you have something to share…. and something to learn. We all do.

So, ready or not, here I go…

“Hi, my name is Greg, and I’m an ITSM Practitioner”

“…. welcome Greg…”

By Greg Sanker

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  • Dave Churchley

    “… think about the value your organization provides…think about what it
    does in the world…what social value it provides…. how does it impact
    lives…is it improving the quality of life in some way…if it’s not… you
    should leave…”

    That’s one of things I love about working in a University.

    I also love the ideas about authenticity and transparency and engaging with the wider community beyond your organisation.