Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility ~100 ·

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Be a SERVICE, not a SERVANT IT Organization

Be a SERVICE, not a SERVANT IT Organization

There's a lot of confusion out there.

By "there", I mean where you are... and I am...

... and the confusion is about service - what it is and what it isn't.

The reason this is relevant to IT leadership is that we are (or should be) working to transform our department or division into a full functioning service organization.

We tell people that our core mission in life is to 'help them be successful in their jobs, and leverage technology to do things they could never do before'.

But sometimes our customers get confused.

They confuse "service" with "servant".

They seem to think that IT is their personal assistant, ready to drop everything and come running when beckoned.

And sometimes we do drop everything and come running... when there's a real emergency or equipment failure. But running a report that our customer knew was due for three weeks but didn't get around to it doesn't really constitute an emergency.  But sometimes IT is resented because they don't think it is.

So how do you balance this?  How does your team, from Directors to the newest co-op student know what constitutes an emergency?  How do they know what are appropriate timeframes for responses?  How do they politely but confidently handle the customers who are expecting 'servant' behaviour?

You could start with a service catalog, or a version of it. (See my post on What does the IT department really do? )

You also need to clearly communicate how to get assistance from IT... and then make it easy to do.  Many IT departments have a ticketing system or help desk, but does your average user use these resources, or do they find it easier to bypass these systems and call the person they know in IT?  This is known as the "end run system".

You have to define the situations that actually constitute an emergency.  Usually this is part of your service catalog.  Note: it should by prioritized based on the impact on the organization, not the convenience of the IT department.

You have to meet with your customers and provide an overview of services and expected response times.  This is usually part of new employee orientation or regular all staff meetings.  If you are not on these agendas, find a way to get on.

Once you have done this, you have to deliver consistent, equitable, exceptional service.

I am not disparaging people who are in roles that require them to be at the beck and call of another individual, if that is the career they chose.  After all, Alfred the butler was one cool guy and Batman couldn't do what he does without him, but we are in the real world, and our clients don't normally run around in tights fighting bad guys.

In an IT organization, the only place for a servant attitude is in leadership - where you will focus with every bit within you to lead your team in ways that brings out the best in them, to accomplish things they didn't think was possible.  But that's another post.


Picture: Used under Creative Commons License

About the Author:

5de5bfe0.jpgI’m the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology. I'm also a beBee Brand Ambassador.

I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.

In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee ( , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at

I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream at 


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Kevin Pashuk

6 months ago #10

Kevin Pashuk

6 months ago #9

Allan Latimer

6 months ago #8

Kevin. I think all business interactions should be about service. You are quite right. Service mindset creates better leadership, better co-working relationships, better customer relationships, better everything. I tell people I was born to serve. Not bad for a millennial. We get criticized often for being entitled, but we aren't all that way.

Javier 🐝 CR

6 months ago #7

This post is more current than ever. We must always know how to prioritize well and differentiate the important from the urgent !

Charlene Norman

4 years ago #6

Kevin, I did not recognize your new profile pic! Argh. (Full disclosure. I married an IT guy. I have managed, saved and mutilated IT departments. I have many IT geek friends. I am NOT an IT person) IT is the most, under appreciated, difficult, disparaged, function on the planet. Once upon a time it was cool to be part of the tribe. That all changed when (useless) gizmos and programs began coming faster than speed of light, money and budgets depleted faster than customers came on board, and frazzled IT people kept losing their jobs over and over and over again AND were somehow expected to keep smiles on their faces when they remained. It did not help that sane IT folks like yourself tried to bring simple order to chaos and totally insane senior executives played silly tantrum games of 'me first NOW' for service. There is no easy solution. I salute you for waving the flag and sticking to your guns. There are not many of your ilk!

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

4 years ago #5

haaa thats awesome.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #4

Thanks David for sharing!

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #3

Thanks Fatima! I've just appointed you to our IT Cheerleading Team. IT folk (like everyone else) really appreciate being appreciated. Cookies and chocolate also help. 😉

David B. Grinberg

4 years ago #2

Shared in three tech/IT hives, Kevin. Keep buzzing!

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

4 years ago #1

If only all the IT geniuses can read this. They would pin this to the footer of their emails. My IT team, I knew them by names and I'd chat with them over coffee and trust me 1/10th of the entire organisation do that. People forget it is actually people just like us sitting there and taking our tickets, fixing our system issues. IT guys where would we be without you! I remember training for a year on Internet related Process training for British Telecom process for a UK project and without the IT helping out with all the issues my trainees had, I would have had no knowledge and interest in all IT related stuff I learnt. I feel proud of all you guys. Thank you IT team. You guys rock 🤗🤗🤗

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