Author Archives: Mandy Smith

Continuous Learning and Career Development Goals

Continuous learning is a critical puzzle piece to staying competitive in today’s business world.  In the IT world specifically, as we all know, the only constant is the fact that processes are changing and new processes are evolving all the time!  In order to keep up with the learning curve, we must make continuous learning a high priority.

At Source Allies, continuous learning takes place in many forms including:

  • Training – courses attended over the past year include: AFS & Kerberos Best Practices, No Fluff Just Stuff, Tuning and Improving your Agility and Spring One 2GX
  • Reading – Source Allies has an internal book club that meets on a weekly basis to review a specific book.  Books that have been and are currently being read and reviewed include TDD by Example and Effective Java, 2nd Edition. 
  • Weekly meetings – each Monday, after hours, the Source Allies team meets to discuss current projects and share techologies that are being used on these projects. 
  • Technical presentations – team members present at least yearly on the technologies they are involved closely with.
  • Internships
  • Mentoring

The examples above are just a small sample of the continuous learning opportunities available to our team at Source Allies.

Continuous learning should be an important part of your career development goals.  What do you want to learn?  How do you want to apply what you learn at your client site and to your projects?  During this time of year, many of us are reviewing our personal career goals.  In doing so, make sure you identify and include your learning goals… but don’t stop there!  Make sure you focus on these goals and review your progress often throughout the year.

You’ll notice that when you are focused on learning, it will not only grow your value but it also makes you more passionate about your projects and work in general.  It’s easy to get in a rut if you’re not focusing on staying ahead of the learning curve.

Specific knowledge and skills become obsolete with time but learning how to and having a passion for learning is a permanent skill that will carry you throughout your career and beyond!

Success!

While searching through quotes to include in our company newsletter, I came across this:

“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it,

for that determines our success or failure”

Read that again…

“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it,

for that determines our success or failure

The mind is a very powerful thing.  For example, I don’t believe I’m the only one to experience being in a store next to a visibly sick individual and after they sneeze I start to feel like I’m getting sick.  It’s impossible to get sick that quickly but my mind starts thinking of the possibility of catching the virus this stranger had… and how I have so many plans, I can’t be sick… what am I going to do… and instantly I start to think that I’m sick.  The mind has the ability to quickly convince us something is happening that isn’t!

The thoughts in your head, positive or negative, directly affect your attitude.  Your attitude directly affects how others react to you.  Those closest to you, your family and your co-workers, are able to tell what type of thoughts are going through your mind by a simple look at your face and they react accordingly.

So what is my point?  Take a self inventory!  Are most of the thoughts that go through your mind positive or negative?  The situations that you face on a daily basis are NOT as important as how you decide to handle them.  When a difficult situation arises and you start to see it in a negative light, remind your self…

——————————————-

“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it,

for that determines our success or failure”

-Norman Vincent Peale

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Think positively… Aim for success!

You may be amazed at the outcome when you do!

Strive for Employee Motivation… or Prevent Demotivation?

Every individual has experienced the kind of day in which they struggle to be motivated.  Think back to when you last experienced a day like this.  Did you have a hard time getting up out of bed?  Take a little longer to get to work?  Go out of your normal route to work to pick up a bagel or coffee?  On these kinds of days, you search for an extra dose of motivation to “get you going” for the day ahead and tasks that are anxiously awaiting your attention.

Employers constantly search for ways to keep their employees motivated.  But are they doing the right thing?  In this article John Roulet makes a very valid argument that employers are not taking the right approach.  By human nature most individuals have a natural born sense of motivation.  When starting a new job, individuals are ready to dive in and learn, learn, learn in order to ramp up as fast as possible.  But certain circumstances can easily deflate an employee to where they are demotivated to work.

As an employer, we have many tools that are able to assist with preventing demotivation from occuring.  It’s a matter of how the tools are used and applied that makes them a success or failure.

At Source Allies we are constantly implementing and reviewing different programs, policies and planning events to prevent demotivation from setting in.  Our employee surveys prove that we have been very successful at this.  In order to be successful, it takes leadership that agrees to give all that it takes to achieving this goal and team members that are willing to step up to help identify and implement positive changes.

I’m proud to work on a team of employees that regularly contribute to every aspect of the business.  Team members participate by assisting with planning company initiatives and goals.  Goals aren’t just identified, but continuous updates are made throughout the year.  Meetings are held quarterly to review the progress towards achieving our goals.  In addition, our team meets weekly for technical presentations or just to have a social gathering which is as important in order to sustain a positive motivated work force.

Next Monday night we will be presenting the “Source Allies Extra Mile Award” to a very deserving team member.  This award is presented quarterly (or more / less frequent based upon nominations made) to a peer nominated individual who, as the award’s name implies, has gone above and beyond the normal call of duty.  The award winner is chosen by a group of team members in order to have as many people involved in the process as possible.  Stay tuned to hear additional details following the award presentation.

In closing, during my research for this blog post, I came come across another idea that we may have to discuss in a future Monday night meeting.  An INSTANT rewards motivational program.  Follow the link to watch a video with additional details.  Maybe we should think about adding this to our future open source product offerings?? 

Now, all joking aside, it’s YOUR turn – what prevents demotivation for you in the workforce?

Source Allies Office Culture

With one step into our office on Ingersoll Ave, visitors are greeted by a pile of shoes and several racks of slippers.  Watching the expressions of first time guests is priceless.  Some don’t even notice this small detail while others are quick to question the story behind the slippers.

On my first visit to the office a year and a half ago, I was one that didn’t notice the slippers right away.  After this discovery, I even thought it was a little “odd” at first.  Having a background of working with IT professionals, I thought I understood the geek culture but didn’t fully grasp it until my first week or two at Source Allies.  The slippers are a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to the Source Allies culture.  I now can’t imagine having to wear shoes, not slippers, ALL day long!

As the Office Manager at Source Allies, a few of my main duties consist of dealing with HR related issues (recruiting and screening candidates, organizing interviews, reviewing on boarding paperwork for new hires and continually updating and reviewing benefit related issues) as well as Accounts Receivable invoicing (verifying time entries by our employees for billing accuracy).  These tasks in particular require a constant line of communication with all of our employees.  Communication hasn’t always been too easy with our employees and I’ve found that a major reason why I’ve struggled with this is because of personality trait differences… I consider myself an extrovert where as the majority of the Source Allies staff would most likely be classified as introverts.  What is the difference you ask?  The main difference between the two personality traits is that introverts get their energy from themselves whereas extroverts get their energy from other people or activities.  The communication methods between introverts and extroverts vary greatly.  This article has helped me understand how to communicate better with our staff!

Curious if you’re an introvert?  Take this quiz to find out!