Kevin Jordan, Head of Technical Operations
As I approach my 10 year anniversary at Netpremacy, I wanted to share some of the key values I’ve followed in my time, from my first role in the business as a Support Engineer to my present role in becoming Head of Technical Operations.
I’m very much a self-professed geek and I have a passion for tech in general, which is a big bonus for the industry I work in. I’d also consider myself an advocate for the Google tools that Netpremacy specialises in; however, I actually want the focus of this blog to be on another space I advocate for, and that’s self innovation.
Innovation means introducing something new, whether that be a complete change or improving on something that’s already established.
Typically when people talk about innovation it’s in relation to a product or process. Innovation is a really positive ideal because it’s a sign of continuous growth, adapting to change, and not being stagnant. It’s the same concept for self innovation, but instead, you are applying this to yourself. This can be in multiple forms, both personal and professional, but ultimately it refers to the development of new skills and the broadening of knowledge with the purpose of opening yourself up to new opportunities.
So how do you innovate yourself?
To be honest, it’s not always easy, especially to begin with, but I have found that following these key principles, whilst avoiding some potential pitfalls along the way, can help you on the path to self innovation.
1. Acceptance of criticism
Receiving and providing open feedback is really important because it keeps us honest. Here I’m specifically talking about being on the receiving end, which can be a little tough but you can’t improve if you dismiss feedback. I say it’s tough because it is hard to hear that something you’re doing and that you’re passionate about isn’t quite right or could be done better.
Your initial reaction is probably to be slightly defensive, which isn’t necessarily a negative because it shows you care. However, try not to let this cloud your judgement and influence your response to the criticism. A technique that I have used is to alter my point of view, by changing my perspective to that of a neutral party, so I can listen to the reasons behind the criticism taking emotion out of it. If you’re truly passionate about something, you’ll want to strive to make it the best it can be, and this can only be done when accepting criticism.
2. Step out of your comfort zone
Again, this is not a simple thing to do as it can be scary embarking on something new that you’re not comfortable with. However, if you become open to this and try to see it as an exciting process instead, it will reap rewards in the end by giving you the opportunity for both; experiencing or learning something new, and broader career paths. Whether this is learning a new product, public speaking or building upon soft skills such as attending a managerial course, stepping out of your comfort zone can be incredibly enriching. I’ve found that it has been the main element to have boosted my confidence, which has played a key role in advancing to each of my new positions at Netpremacy.
3. Embrace failure
I’m sure everyone experiences failure on some scale in their career, and let’s be honest it never feels good. Just remember that nobody is perfect, mistakes happen and although it’s easier said than done, try not to be too hard on yourself. It should be an opportunity to learn, own your failures, and use them to help you grow.
As a side note to this point as well, I’ve often found that some of the best business relationships come from failures. That’s because it’s your reaction to failure that’s really going to be recognised and what will be remembered – so I’d encourage when this does happen to avoid placing blame and focus on why it went wrong, how to fix it, and what can be done to avoid it in the future.
4. Imparting knowledge
I find this a key element, not only in growing yourself but the team around you. It’s difficult to continue expanding your knowledge when you are always known as the “go to” person on a particular topic. I understand that it can have the allure of giving you a sense of security, however, you create a funnel and you’re ultimately isolating yourself. By imparting this knowledge it means you can share the burden but more importantly, it gives you more flexibility to build expertise in a different area. It’s a great opportunity to inspire others to take on those responsibilities, which can also help them start their own journey of self innovation.
Here I’d like to flag something to avoid which is comparing yourself to others as it can be quite detrimental to this process. I’m not saying don’t do it at all, just don’t have it as an ideal. Everyone is different, just like every product is different and once you start to put all the focus on comparing yourself to another, you’ve already lost as you’ve immediately put a ceiling on yourself. People also learn at different paces so others may advance quicker in some subjects, which can be discouraging. It’s helpful to learn from others, understand their progression paths and the journey they’ve taken, but don’t make this the reason for what you’re doing.
I’ve lived by this mantra of self innovation in my time at Netpremacy, which has led me on an incredible journey. From joining Netpremacy with very little experience to be a Support Engineer, growing my knowledge by working on break-fix issues. Moving onto configuring Google Workspace environments and migrating data as a Technical Deployment Specialist. Then onto becoming a Customer Success Manager, where I had the opportunity of understanding customer requirements and consulting on strategies, giving me great insight to how businesses operate. Finally now, as Head of Technical Operations, where I can use all the knowledge I’ve absorbed over the years and apply them to the company I owe much of that opportunity and experience to. But it doesn’t stop here, I continue to live by this mantra as I hope to inspire and coach others on the path of self innovation.
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