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Month: December 2017

Uptime and Quota: Exploring Our Love-Hate Relationship with Metrics

Uptime and Quota: Exploring Our Love-Hate Relationship with Metrics

I’m a numbers guy. I like measuring my performance, tracking progress, and holding myself and my team accountable to metric-driven goals… until I don’t. I’m also a people-person. I don’t want my contribution to be defined by a figure. I hate it when metrics drive bad behavior. I care about culture and the health of my team a lot more than next quarter’s target. In one breath, I champion the need for data-driven decision-making, and in the next, I criticize…

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Engineering and Character: Leadership Lessons from Lego Robotics

Engineering and Character: Leadership Lessons from Lego Robotics

This fall, I had the opportunity to coach a Lego robotics team in the FIRST Lego League. There are over 32,000 teams in the First Lego League in 88 countries, and over 600 teams in Minnesota alone. Each season, every team in the league receives the same tournament board. Teams design, build, and program their robots to score points on the tournament board. The robots must be designed to operate autonomously. You can read more about it here. Our team…

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Zach Talks About Leadership Development With Engel Jones on the 12MinuteConvos Podcast

Zach Talks About Leadership Development With Engel Jones on the 12MinuteConvos Podcast

I had a great opportunity to be a guest on the 12MinuteConvos Podcast with Engel Jones.  We talked about my passion around leadership development. We discussed how I benefited early in my career from some great leaders, and how I am driven to pay it forward and pass it on. We also discussed the habits of a good leader including consistent reading and continuous learning. Listen to this episode here: https://twelveminuteconvos.com/zach-hughes/

Shut Up and Take My Money: How to Attract Business Investment into IT

Shut Up and Take My Money: How to Attract Business Investment into IT

There are two kinds of IT departments. The first kind is the cost center. IT is an expense to be managed, like the utility bill. IT focuses on unit cost reduction and efficiency. IT is a means to an end, and a necessary evil to participate in the modern economy. The business needs IT, but doesn’t love it. This is a race to the bottom. The goal is to make the IT widgets that the business needs as cheap as…

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Who Wants a Laptop Sticker?

Who Wants a Laptop Sticker?

Geeks love to cover their laptops with stickers. It’s a form a self-expression. It tells those around us about what kind of technology we are into and what brands represent us best. You’re a tech, and you are going places. You are working on your leadership skills to influence those around you. You are an avid reader of this super-cool blog that speaks to the challenges you face. Now, you want to show it. That’s why I made the Zach…

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You’re a Tech, Figure It Out: Stay with the Problem Longer

You’re a Tech, Figure It Out: Stay with the Problem Longer

Early in my career, I was a desktop support tech. I wore a pager, took dispatches from the help desk, and wandered around corporate cube farms solving computer issues. I had a tech lead over me. He was responsible for handling the escalations from the techs for anything they couldn’t solve. There was some significant variation on when team members would escalate. Some techs, like me, would work problems hard and thoroughly before escalating. Others really didn’t seem to have…

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