>Network World’s Security Strategies Newsletter, 08/28/07
>Hacker tips published in Wall Street Journal
>By M. E. Kabay
>On July 30, Vauhini Vara published an article in the _Wall Street Journal_ entitled, “Ten Things Your IT Department Won’t Tell You.”
>The author explains that office
>workers like to use corporate-supplied equipment to “keep up with our lives. … …
Don’t forget that corporations are INTENTIONALLY blurring the lines between work / play / home. As an IT executive, I have seen:
* The corporate honchos with different sets of rules for themselves and the serfs.
* IT troops are expected to answer “problems” at all hours of the day or night. And, then turn to in the morning on time as if nothing happened.
* Projects scheduled with a “forced march” ethic in human resources. AND
* The deliberate planning of “human resources” to avoid payment of overtime and giving comp time.
So let’s not kid around that people are just goofing off all the time, watching YouTube, and playing online poker. Work has to get done. And it does get done. If you are going to fudge the margins, then you can’t get all uppity when the letter of some policy or standard is not met.
If I’m waiting for a phone conference call to assemble and begin, usually because some required honcho is “late”, don’t scream like Mayor Bloomberg if there’s a solitaire screen up. If I’m working on a holiday weekend installing a new IT system and don’t get anything other than maybe “thanks” or keep getting my regular paycheck, don’t gripe when the “big” football game is on one of the monitors or everyone’s watching a movie while the big update is ruining. At least on Wall Street, when they make absurd demands, they pay obscene bonuses.
The AFL/CIO is dumb not trying to unionize the IT workers. It’s the new sweat shop. I am astonished that some one hasn’t sued about these type of issues already.
>her “safety” measures for violating appropriate-use policies include this advice for attempting to wipe audit trails:
> “Clear your private data as often as possible.
>Better yet, don’t use your work computer to do anything you wouldn’t want your boss to know about.”
I agree that one should have your own ethical standards. A good Nun once told me that my standard should be “don’t do anything you would want to have to tell your Mother”. Works for me.
Let’s not imbue Acceptable Use Policies as if they come down from some Olympic mountain.
For example, once upon a time, there was a corporate policy not to use AOL IM. (Why I have no idea? Pinging someone to join a conference call may tell some hacker … what?) But the corporate IT group (aka the shills for Microsoft) had no solution. Yet the executives used AOLIM, and wanted their people to use it. It was efficient. Talk about mixed messages. But piously, they made people sign annual acceptances of the corporate policies. Like Stossel says “gimme a break”. In my past executive coaching practice, as well as my stints as an ITA/BPR consultant, I counseled against sending mixed messages. People, like little children, learn by watching carefully what you do. Not what you say.
>I invite readers to read Vara’s article for themselves and then to join me in a short series of columns
>as I analyze her work from an ethical standpoint.
Having been brought up in the Ebenezer Scrooge school of employee training, where the motto was “You pretend to pay me; I’ll pretend to work”, I suggest that it’s time for everyone to grow up.
The world has changed.
Unlike KMart, there’s no Blue Light to turn on. No PA system over which we can make the announcement. No clap of thunder or bolt of lightening to get everyone’s attention. Nor any formal demarcation point, like when the calendar changes. We can’t afford to play silly games. In the global competitive environment, we need to develop our thinking.
So for example, just like I don’t expect my employer to buy me my pens, I buy my own technology. Sure I’ll use theirs for their stuff if they insist. (Mine’s better.) But, if your trash is not working, you can’t hold me accountable for the “shortfall”. Can’t have it both ways. If you want me to do 24×7 support or some other outrageous demand, then it’s OK for me to use my home computer, policies be darned, for which you don’t pay. That’s OK, but heaven forbid I answer an email from work? (Note: My personal information NEVER goes near their hardware.) Now I realize I’m a little bit of an odd ball. I’ve been a consultant, and in my own business several times. But I can see the hypocrisy in some “policies”.
New times require new rules.
It’s about generating value. Some of that value belongs to the employer and some I am allowed to retain. It’s a team sport. I need them and they need me. 50/50.
(Actually the company needs the employees more. Some wag once said “Each night, all of our intellectual capital walks out the door.” I had an old boss who use to extend that with “It’s my job to make you want to come back.” With the aging of the work force, that’s even more true today than it was then.)
Leadership and management must forget the lessons of Ebenezer Scrooge and Frederick Winslow Taylor. You manage things and lead people. Throw all the policy manuals out the window. Lead people. Teach them why you should NOT put corporate secrets into email unencrypted or waste time when your supposed to be earning value for the team. Deploy tools that make it unnecessary to “bend” rules. Share the monetary value such that unpaid OT or unreasonable demands aren’t made. Hold leadership accountable for their decisions and policies.
This line of inquiry is based on an old paradigm and is coming from the meme of “unwilling worker”. In today’s new world, the new team-shared meme must be that there is value produced which is shared by all who produced it.
We have to evolve our memes because there are a lots of very smart very hungry people in India and China that are going to eat us for breakfast if we stay stuck in “Detroit thinking” with respect to the roles of employer and employee.
In my not so humble opinion, I believe that these large corporations are going to self-destruct. The new meme will be small team size agile organizations, that can do a better job of delivering and sharing value, while “outsourcing” all non-core competency functions (i.e., HR, finance, IT). The economies of scale that allowed the IBMs, AT&Ts, GMs, and such to evolve and flourish are no longer there.
Small ‘n’ agile will outperform big ‘n’ bureaucratic every time.
And, don’t get me started on the “gooferment”.
P.S.: I hope that’s the type of input your were looking for. My current employer is very enlightened and doesn’t have these problems that I know of.
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