If you thought that having a school degree or tons of certifications will make it the only things you need to get respect and successfully complete IT projects, think again. Memorizing things is fine and well, but when it comes to the complexity of enterprises, medium, heck, even small businesses, people can get humbled rather quickly.

Having been in the IT field in the US since 2001, I can tell you that using your brain with whatever knowledge you posses and working well with people, and knowing how to Google for the correct information, being humble, knowing when you reach a limit, or knowing that saying “I don’t know” or “I need help”… are actually some of the most effective tools than just memorizing things that let you pass Certification Exams.

Do not believe me? Some the areas where most IT departments fall short are:

  • Documentation (ITIL)
    • Adding Graphic Design to their Documentation
    • Diagramming (net work diagrams)
    • Inventory of:
      • Computers
      • Network Devices
      • Rooms
      • Floor Plans/rooms
  • Communication
    • Yeah, introverts be introverts.
    • Yeah, pride gets in the way.
    • Yeah, people with Certs that don’t know how to solve problems and adapt the solutions to the actual needs of the project/task/business, which most often differ from what was in the book…., well, they get lost.
    • Yeah, knowing when to ask for help.
    • Admitting when you broke something.
    • List goes on.
  • Lack of Leadership:
    • Bosses knowing or being familiar with that the employees do.
    • Having Vision
    • Planning
    • Assertiveness
    • Team-building, lack thereof.
    • Thinking a boss needs to know more than the employees
    • Allowing creativity
      • If a boss is insecure in their skills or other reason, they may not allow creativity.
      • This is especially true if other employees may feel threatened by the one with the creativity or if they think they will be somehow forced to learn new skills.
      • Creativity can be seen as bad if what is being presented as a solution goes over the heads of those around the creative employee(s).
  • List goes on and on and on.

Can you do SOME of the things listed above well? Sometimes, I have. Putting all together can make a difference. Allowing for Creativity in the workplace can make a difference. It is the IT field, it is an always changing field. Adapt. Sometimes, when you know how to communicate well, you can make a difference.

Sometimes, even, you take initiative, and show that the creative solution is not “impossible” that it is in fact attainable, and maybe that is the best way to show that you are contributing to the team. Leading by example, even if you are not a supervisor or technical lead, can be the way to go, without being a showoff of course. Who knows, somebody else may feel inspired and help and brainstorm, and before you know it, everybody is part of a highly successful team, all working together.

Again, documenting things is key to success, and for ITIL. It is a daily thing. Learn to document, love it, make it yours.

Learning new skills, even if they do not seem like they are directly related to your job, is a way to pave the road ahead to add value by Seeing and Creating Value what others can’t. Once there is a road to get to success, chances are, it will be used.