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Nothing is Accomplished Alone

In this Q&A, Roy Atkinson shares his perspectives on how success in the IT industry still depends on our connections with others, despite tech advances.

Each year, HDI is helped in its mission by the HDI Strategic Advisory Board, a group of thought leaders who provide the organization advice on training, networking, and the direction of the IT industry. We offer a chance to get to know the board through a Q&A session on our blog.

Here, we ask a few questions of Roy Atkinson, CEO of Clifton Butterfield, LLC. Many here already know Roy well, as he is a fixture in the IT service and support industries and was a longtime part of the HDI team. However, he never fails to offer a fresh perspective, as he does here.

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 communities?

I’ve always felt that people in service and support—and that includes customer service reps—are among the most congenial, loyal, and helpful people on this planet. I’ve been extremely fortunate in having had a long and fruitful career in the industry and with the community HDI represents. I’m happy to help.

What lesson did you learn from your biggest success in your career? And from one of your biggest challenges?

The lesson I’ve taken away from success is that nothing is accomplished alone. Success happens when we pay attention to each other, support each other, and move toward a common goal together.

From big challenges, I’ve learned that persistence pays off, but it can’t accomplish the impossible. While we love challenges, there is no sense in trying, again and again, to change things that we cannot. There’s a time to realize you’ve done your best and to move on.

In your opinion, what skill or skills will be most needed in the next decade in this industry?

Critical thinking is essential now and will grow in importance. The skill to work with both human and technological workmates—like AI—will play an enormous role. We need to do some deep thinking about what makes us human and how those qualities help us deal with each other and with the problems we face.

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?

This job isn’t about technology, it’s about people. Yes, we always say People, Process, and Technology, and that’s right—but only if we realize that they are listed in the correct order.

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