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You asked for it. :-)

I'm Dan Stratton, currently in Boise, ID working as an IT Operations Manager for Albertsons. We were acquired by SuperValu in June, so the ride is on! Fortunately, it looks like the best decision for the company.

I joined the company last year and was promoted to IT Ops Manager after 6 months. I was given a team of 46 directs in five locations and 3 states. That was overwhelming! Previously, I had managed 12 in a small company of 60. That was quite a change for me, but somehow I survived. I can't say I did a good job, but we did make progress. As soon as I could, though, I started giving groups to other managers where synergy existed.

I now only have 13 directs in two locations with a mandate to fix some problems and am able to do them justice. It is a lot of fun to go to work now! I stumbled onto Manager Tools a month ago and (as of July 4th) have caught up on all the backlog. What a rush! I am learning so much, I look forward to the commute every day. Thank you so much for your efforts. I know I am benefitting greatly and my team is taking notice.

When I'm not working, I am a father of 3 wonderful kids and husband to a beautiful wife. She is a part time speech therapist for the local school district. I love woodworking and have a side business making wood pens and furniture. I love reading, although I haven't quite the speed of Mark. Yet. Something to aspire to one day.

Last week I was asked to be the clerk for my church, which I find to be a great management teaching experience. I am the 'administrative assistant' and am anticipating the needs of the leaders. What fun! I find it very helpful to wear the other hat on the weekends. :lol:

Thanks for listening and THANK YOU for your efforts. I love every word and am grateful for the benefits my team is experiencing.

cincibuckeyenut's picture

Welcome, Dan. Thanks for the great intro. I really found a lot of similarities with my own life.

I too am an aspiring woodworker, but I don't spend enough time practicing the hobby. Not sure how you do it with 3 kids and a job in IT.

Sounds like you have a long commute. Manager Tools is the one thing that has me wishing my commute was longer. It is only 10 minutes (I am very lucky) and so I don't get to use drive time to listen. I use workout time, so it has taken me much longer to get caught up. But it will be perfect for you and your situation at work to apply what you have learned here. And those 3 admin assistant casts will be helpful for the weekend.

Again, welcome aboard. Glad to have you.

mauzenne's picture

Welcome, Dan ... and thanks for such a great introduction. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. The more we know about the community, the more value Mark and I are able to produce.

Managing an organization as wide-spread as yours, focus on the family, participating in the community, and still being active in your hobby ... wow! That's the type of balance Mark and I love to see. You are doing well, my friend! I suspect we'll all learn something from you here.

Thanks again for joining us here.

best regards,
Mike

DanStratton's picture

I like woodturning for the short duration. I can go out to the shop for an hour and have something finished to show for the effort. Making furniture takes weeks, so it is hard to stay motivated and on task. But the list my wife keeps for me keeps getting longer and longer. I have an entertainment center on the list next, then a sofa table, a corner cabinet, upper cabinets for my office, a workbench..... As my friend observed, keeps me out of the bars. :D

MattJBeckwith's picture

Welcome Dan. I like your introduction idea. I read a lot of the posts from other members and it's nice to have a little bit of background.

I live in beautiful Northern California and manage a customer service call center for a national bank with 150 employees. I have spent most of my management career in call centers but have also spent some time in retail and restaurants.

I may be an oddity in that I enjoy commuting to work, about 50 miles each way, which allows me to listen to this 'cast, make calls to my competitors and in general, have some quiet time to reflect.

Any other M-T members work in call centers? At times I think this 'cast is all about call centers then I realize that that's the beauty of M-T... it's applicable in so many areas!

Mark's picture

All-

I love the idea of introducing oneself - often, I'm stuck guessing. Much of management is contextual, and the more we know, the more effective we can be at helping.

And to heck with that - I just like getting to know our members better.

This is off-topic, but I'm also going to start asking for more background when members post questions... it will help all of us get to know the context and the member.

Great idea, and thanks for the work Dan.

And Dave, I don't know if we've made it clear... but I've trained tens of thousands of call center employees. We have call center clients, and I've trained AT&T, virtually all the (former) Baby Bells, and many many other firms. I LOVE call centers, and find most of them have enormous opportunities in customer service.

Mark

Anonymous's picture

Mark, you have mentioned, once or twice, that you have done some work in call centers. The great thing about M-T is that your approaches and steps can work in any environment. In my call center I encourage my managers to hire supervisors with all sorts of experience, from restaurants to retail to industrial. That is our protection from acting like a real "call center".

I like to think of my place as a "happy people factory" fronting as a call center. So many people will come and go through our doors and my goal is to try to put a smile on their face, teach them well, learn from them and help them get to where they're going... even if that means they are only with us for a short while. When I look back on my life there are memorable teachers and memorable managers (and of course memorable friends and family members). That's what I strive for: to develop memorable managers.

I know that might sound a little over-philosophical but it matches perfectly with the other side of my mind, the side that loves data, analysis, numbers, etc. That's the reason I have enjoyed working in call centers for so long, it's such a great environment for people that are half geek, half philosopher.

I just noticed that I left out my non-work info in my intro. My wife and I have been married for 14 years and have two great daughters. Our kids are into sports (soccer, softball, basketball) and music (piano, flute). I play the guitar, bass, piano and mandolin and dabble in recording, a little of my own music but mostly others. Besides my music I spend a lot of time of my bikes, road and mountain, although I have long since given up hope that I will ever race in le Tour de France.

I am also a self-admitted telco geek (Mike, this is a bit embarrassing to say to a former MCI'er - but I am honored to listen to someone that was part of building Friends & Family).

The last thing that you should probably know about me is that I have always been somewhat fascinated with the history of the telephone and the phone companies themselves (my wife would argue the "somewhat" part). Even when I was a kid, I was a junkie for anything telco related. When we retire, my wife and I will spend some time riding our bikes throughout the US while I write my book about the phone companies, a book that I have already acknowledged, only I will read.

Ok, that's me.

MattJBeckwith's picture

That last post belongs to me, just noticed I wasn't logged in when I submitted it.

[quote="Anonymous"]Mark, you have mentioned, once or twice, that you have done some work in call centers. The great thing about M-T is that your approaches and steps can work in any environment. In my call center I encourage my managers to hire supervisors with all sorts of experience, from restaurants to retail to industrial. That is our protection from acting like a real "call center".

I like to think of my place as a "happy people factory" fronting as a call center. So many people will come and go through our doors and my goal is to try to put a smile on their face, teach them well, learn from them and help them get to where they're going... even if that means they are only with us for a short while. When I look back on my life there are memorable teachers and memorable managers (and of course memorable friends and family members). That's what I strive for: to develop memorable managers.

I know that might sound a little over-philosophical but it matches perfectly with the other side of my mind, the side that loves data, analysis, numbers, etc. That's the reason I have enjoyed working in call centers for so long, it's such a great environment for people that are half geek, half philosopher.

I just noticed that I left out my non-work info in my intro. My wife and I have been married for 14 years and have two great daughters. Our kids are into sports (soccer, softball, basketball) and music (piano, flute). I play the guitar, bass, piano and mandolin and dabble in recording, a little of my own music but mostly others. Besides my music I spend a lot of time of my bikes, road and mountain, although I have long since given up hope that I will ever race in le Tour de France.

I am also a self-admitted telco geek (Mike, this is a bit embarrassing to say to a former MCI'er - but I am honored to listen to someone that was part of building Friends & Family).

The last thing that you should probably know about me is that I have always been somewhat fascinated with the history of the telephone and the phone companies themselves (my wife would argue the "somewhat" part). Even when I was a kid, I was a junkie for anything telco related. When we retire, my wife and I will spend some time riding our bikes throughout the US while I write my book about the phone companies, a book that I have already acknowledged, only I will read.

Ok, that's me.[/quote]

Mark's picture

Dave-

Great intro! Thanks for helping us to get to know you better.

Hopefully you know one of the (I hope not apocryphal) stories about early telephone switching. A guy named Strowger invented the first crude automatic switch in Kansas City because his business - he was an undertaker - was falling off because his rival undertaker was either seeing or married to the town's operator. Strowger invented the switch to save his undertaking business.

And, one of the truly great names in American business is Ted Vail, the president of AT&T who convinced Wilson to give him a monopoly. Worked for a while!

Mark

MattJBeckwith's picture

I had forgotten the story about Strowger. I remember hearing of that story many years ago and wishing I would have known about it many years earlier, during my only job at the (a) phone company... as a 411 operator. After being there for a couple of months I asked my supervisor why no one ever talked about the quality of service 411 operators gave. I also asked a lot of questions about the future of the phone companies providing directory assistance since someday other companies were bound to want to compete with us.

The answers to both types of questions were the same: "Don't ask". If I remember correctly, and it's been a number of years, I was told that the by-laws did not allow for me to ask about these types of things unless it was to our steward. I could not discuss quality of service or competition with my direct supervisor.

A quick google on Strowger brought it all back... thanks!

And Mr. Vail, brilliant idea to convince the government that acting as a monopoly would be the most efficient. Such an intriguing history.

Anonymous's picture

I would be very thankful, if any one of you can guide or provide me a link where i can find sample IT operations manual. I work for a Ops mgmt team and i need to prepare a Operations manual for the entire operations. Sorry for troubling guys......i was recently promoted to Ops team and i never prepared a ops manual. Thanks alot in advance

cincibuckeyenut's picture

[quote="Anonymous"]I would be very thankful, if any one of you can guide or provide me a link where i can find sample IT operations manual. I work for a Ops mgmt team and i need to prepare a Operations manual for the entire operations. Sorry for troubling guys......i was recently promoted to Ops team and i never prepared a ops manual. Thanks alot in advance[/quote]

As an IT Operations manager looking to prepare an Ops manual, the best thing you can do is take a look at ITIL, the industry bible of best practices around operations.

http://www.itil.co.uk/

We use it at P&G and it is robust enough to handle every aspect of IT Service Management at a Fortune 50 company. But it can also be used as a starting point for your ops manual depending on what you are wanting to focus on, and many of the best practices can easily be modified or tweaked to fit a small company.

It is where I would start if I was you, unless there was previous work from your predecessor.

Anonymous's picture

I work for a command centre and I work for the Ops mgmt in the Operations control centre. Operation model contains what are the activitites included in the operations control centre, where as operations manual contains how these activities are executed. I want any one of your help in the later part. I'm not sure how to explain it properly for you since its a new thing for me :)

The below is the gist of activities which are in the manual. I want info as, how these would be executed.

once again thanks alot ......

2. Change Management

2.4 Info & Escalation Management

2.5 Crisis Management

2.6 Business Continuity Management

3. Standard Daily Operations

3.1 Overview

3.2 Daily Checklist

3.3 Daily Checkpoints

3.4 Shift Handover

3.5

3.6

4. Reporting

4.1 Daily Report

4.2 Weekly Report

4.3 Other Reports

4.4

5. Administration

5.1 Working Hours

5.2 Break Period

5.3 Care For Property

5.4 Leave

DanStratton's picture

Add my vote for ITIL. I was certified several years ago (foundations) and have really had great success with it since.

Todd G's picture

Hello Everyone,

My name is Todd Grivetti. I am a Trauma Case Manager in an Level II Trauma Center in Ft. Collins, CO. It's one of the best places I have ever worked. As mentioned in another posting "24 hr managers", We are a Magnet hospital designated by the American Nurses Association and the American Nurses Credentialling Center.

I have been in medicine for 22 years as a Paramedic and currently an RN. While I don't have the management responsiblities for directs (YET), I do have the resonsibilities of making sure our patients are taken care of. I have been a house supervisor in the past. I am currently working towards my Masters Degree in Nursing Leadership. This forum and Podcasts will always be great tools I can write about for any of my course work.

In my free time I enjoy flyfishing, camping, photography. I am student pilot with 60 + hours of time. With work and expenses of flying (As Mike knows), it's been a long road. I am hoping to finish up my solo x-cnty soon and doe the beloved $100 hamburger checkride. Make that the $500 hamburger and checkride.

I am married, my wife is also a nurse and we have two daughters. My oldest daughter and husband live in Abilene, TX. She was in the A.F. for 4 years and they are stationed at Dyess AFB. My youngest daughter is a Senior in High school.

I am lucky to the have the time to listen to my podcasts while driving to work. I have a 40 mile commute one-way and these are the company I take with me. Every one of them has made me a better person, a better listener and communicator (in the management sense).

Mike and Mark, I can't thank you enough for the time, commitment, and professionalism you place in these podcasts. Again, Congratulations to Manager Tools for The Peoples Choice Podcast Awards.

Sincerely,

Anonymous's picture

Todd-

Glad you're a member! Mike and I are happy and proud to be serving you and the rest of our community.

Mark