Success should be an internal measure
We ask a few questions of Carol E. Williams, Service Management Office, Princeton University Office of Information Technology and a member of the HDI Strategic Advisory Board.
Each year, HDI is supported by a team of thought leaders and industry pros who can help provide insight in the everchanging world of IT support. The HDI Strategic Advisory Board helps us evaluate our offerings, training, content, and connections.
We’re profiling members of the HDI Strategic Advisory Board throughout the year. This month, we’re asking a few questions of Carol E. Williams, Associate CIO, Service Management Office, Princeton University Office of Information Technology. Here’s what she had to say.
Thank you for agreeing to be a part of HDI’s Strategic Advisory Board. Why do you think it’s important to give back to the IT service and support community?
I am pleased to be a member of HDI’s Strategic Advisory Board. This organization is very necessary to the community of people who manage services and support, allowing us to share a common framework, an approach to defining key performance indicators, and the sharing of lessons learned. The HDI organization is designed to give back to the service and support community, potentially saving countless hours by helping us understand the most successful approach to meet today’s challenges.
What lesson did you learn from your biggest success in your career? And from one of your biggest challenges?
An important lesson I learned in my career is that learning from one’s mistakes can be powerful, yet that learning is also costly and perhaps heartbreaking. Learning from the mistakes of others is effective, wise, and a lot less painful.
In your opinion, what skill or skills will be most needed in the next decade in this industry?
It is apparent to me that the one skill that will be most needed in the next decade is communicating to motivate. In order to lead an initiative or an organization, you must have the ability to pierce through multiple distractions and to gain and hold the focus of your intended audience. To do this, you must be able to communicate with clarity, purpose, and power. I am not speaking of power that comes from your position in the hierarchy, or, from having a loud voice. I am instead suggesting the influence that comes when you have a compelling and honest case to make and can motivate others to act. In a world of programming with a focus on bits and bytes, this is a rare skill.
What are you most proud of in your career, and why?
I have to balance this answer with pride and humility. Over the course of two decades, I have repeatedly and successfully led multiple, large, and transformational initiatives in the face of extreme skepticism. I’ve taken on difficult assignments while balancing family responsibilities with great care. I have cultivated an outstanding network of people through work, who I consider lifelong friends.
On the other side, I don’t want to leave anyone with the impression of effortless perfection. I have tried and failed at many things. And over time, I have lost interest in things I thought I valued. All of these lessons have taught me how to be true to myself. I am most proud that I am working on my own terms while enjoying the work I perform and the people with whom I work.
You find yourself in a room full of IT service and support professionals and you have the opportunity to give them just one piece of advice to set them up for success. What would you say?
I’d say refrain from dispensing advice or defining success for others! Advice usually assumes a superior or inferior position, and success should be an internal measure. I am happy to share my experience and reflect with anyone who seeks to inquire within and define their own success.