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Managing Human Service IT in a Post-Pandemic World

The world may have changed, but most of what constitutes good IT management has not.

I recently enjoyed the opportunity to venture out into the world to deliver a presentation to an audience with whom I shared an actual physical room! After years of Zoom and Google Meet encounters, this was such a welcome change.

The talk I gave was about what IT management in a human services environment might look like given that the pandemic has shifted, at least to some degree, the trajectory of our society, our economy, and our work. It focused on 4 broad themes and included “one dozen thought considerations” for managers to ponder as they developed their own plans. The themes were:

You can find the slides from the presentation here. Perhaps, though, you may find it more interesting to follow this page over the coming weeks, as I will be making short posts that reflect the presentation’s key points. Check back regularly for new bits.

Posted by Bill Sofko on Thursday, June 1, 2023.

Suffering? Are you serious?

Pandemics change things. Has the suffering created a “breaking point”?

A good quarter of my aforementioned presentation consisted of recapping the many ways in which the pandemic either created new forms of suffering or exacerbated existing pain. Being amidst elevated levels of death, or the potential of death, takes an obvious toll. Similarly, after decades of growing economic inequality that is leaving entire segments and regions of the population worse off both financially and emotionally, we see the sobering ramifications in drug addiction, gun violence, and deep societal divisions. We have arrived at a bad place. So, yes, I’m quite serious.

Suffering is an overriding theme of the country in which we live in today. It would be foolish to think that any manager’s task at work could be well-conducted without an appreciation of and a demonstrable concern for this circumstance.

For the IT manager, the responsibility may be greater, especially in a human service setting. First off, technology in the form of social media may be playing a key role in creating social and personal unrest. Never has a successful consumer “product” left so many feeling so badly about themselves. Thus, the IT manager will bear responsibility for managing how communications technology is used and ensuring that it is, at least, doing no harm.

Additionally, human service organizations carry many burdens of societal shortcomings. As leaders, IT managers will have to be aware of these additional stresses placed on the organization and, again, ensure that their management style and actions at least do no harm.

Managing suffering is a part of every manager’s job: generally, within IT functions, in human service organizations and profit-making ventures alike. People’s troubles, fears, and stressors are never left at home when they head out for work. And, for many organizations, this will be low-lying fruit as it’s likely to have been something that’s been neglected for far too long.

Posted by Bill Sofko on Friday, June 2, 2023.

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