How Technology Leaders Are Sabotaging Their Companies




This past month, some of our engineering colleagues at a different company shared a perplexing experience.

They sat down at their remote setup, fired up their devices, and were met with an internal blockade. Their IT department had accidentally blocked the connection between their VPN and Amazon Web Services, rendering the team completely useless.

Rather than waiting around for an undisclosed amount of time, our friends took that snafu as an FU.

They took the day off.

This simple mistake likely cost the company tens of thousands of dollars in lost productivity.

Every time something like this (read: completely avoidable) happens, the leader of the IT team is sabotaging their entire company.

Why This Sabotage Occurs

This failure is an accident of course. It’s not intentional. And it’s not the fault of junior and mid-level IT individuals.

This happens because IT teams are underfunded, understaffed, and undertrained.

COVID and the shift to remote work have exacerbated the problem. With entire teams shifting to remote environments and needing proper systems in place, IT teams are stretched thin.

Companies have not staffed up or trained their IT teams to deal with the capacity and pressure of the new system requirements.

A traditional IT team has too many responsibilities and not enough folks to properly focus on them. So rather than work towards improvements, they are putting out a thousand tiny fires. Every week.

Why This is Such a Problem – For Everyone

As you can imagine, it’s generally a bad thing to prevent your employees from working.

If an individual is unable to work, your team is blocked on a task.

If a team is unable to work, your entire product update just got pushed.

If your entire company is unable to work, you just lost 1-5-10 million in wasted expenses?

You get the point.

It should be a leader’s top priority to enable their team to work. If the IT department is the foundation of this enablement, they need to be prioritized.

Other Problems With IT Issues

Beyond the significant loss in productivity and expenses, there are plenty of other areas that get undermined.

Security: If systems keep breaking and individuals experience lock-outs, they may go spin up their own technology solution and circumvent existing policies. This personal technology will be vulnerable to data breaches, putting companies at risk.

Culture: Culturally, an issue like this can create an us vs. them mentality between employees and the IT team. Employees get frustrated and convince themselves that IT is either incompetent or malicious. Neither is good.

What to Do Instead

In short, companies need to focus on creating the best possible IT team. This probably includes hiring more people, giving additional resources, increasing funding, and implementing tools the team needs to succeed.

This will cost money. You might think that it’s better used in product innovation or marketing, but we can’t stress this enough. The money you might save underfunding IT will catch up to you the first day your team is unable to work.

Always keep your leadership goals in mind.

If your job is to “get out of the way and let people perform,” then make sure they can do this in a secure, reliable way. Every day.

Stretched thin and accidentally sabotaging your company? Hire us! We can staff up your IT department, improving reliability, productivity, and ROI.