4 dates all managers must know (#4 might surprise you)

Small Business IT Support - 4 Dates

4 dates all managers must know (#4 might surprise you)

Planning, organising, prioritising, and balancing resources are part of most effective IT managers’ and operations managers’ competency frameworks. That’s HR speak for: managers need to be organised! Pretty obvious, huh? That doesn’t necessarily mean having a clear desk or a single-page email inbox. It does mean keeping our calendars up to date, each with reminders that pop up at the exact time we need to prepare. Here are 4 must-know dates any well-organised manager should have to hand.

1. Board meetings. Even if you’re not on the board, it pays to know when board members meet.

Why they’re a must-know:

Ever had that last-minute invitation to present at the board? That’s a sure-fire way of knowing your opinion counts. Nerve-wracking, perhaps. But it’s usually a good sign your career’s on track. Rather than having to rearrange your diary to accommodate your invitation to the board meeting, or worse, taking the afternoon off for a supplier jolly, book it in your calendar just in case. Need another reason? If you book in the board meetings, you’ll know when you have a chance to ask them to decide on something that’s important to you.

2. Staff anniversaries and reviews. Book in every one of your direct reports’ joining anniversaries and periodic reviews.

Why they’re a must-know:

Direct reports’ review dates are easy. That’s your and their chance to take stock of performance, and agree an action plan to develop. Leave it to the last minute, and the review won’t be productive. Miss it, and you’re not an effective manager. And why do you need to know anniversaries? Simple. Everyone appreciates recognition, and a quick “thank you” and “well done for surviving another year working for me” note lets your people know you’re thinking about them. The slightly darker reason is to do with employment law. Certain anniversaries spell the start of specific rights at work.

3. Your anniversary and review. I had to check these dates are in my own calendar for this. (They are!)

Why they’re a must-know:

I have my own personal goals, things I want to achieve for myself, things I’ve committed to the business, things I’ve committed to fellow managers. Without booking in your own personal review, believe me, goals will slip and, as the adage goes, “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” If you have your own manager, you’ll be far more impressive if you prepare in advance (and know when to ask for that pay rise!)

4. Supplier anniversaries and reviews. Rolling contracts tend to deliver less for more over time.

Why they’re a must-know:

Rolling contracts tend to deliver less for more over time. Is that controversial? Think of your utilities. There’s consensus about gas and electricity prices going up. And, if you leave it too late, you’ll get stuck on a rolling contract. That means locking in higher costs! The same can go for insurance, leases, and (dare I say it) IT support contracts!

My advice is: prepare early! Book all supplier contract anniversaries and review dates in your diary. Set reminders well in advance to give yourself a chance to find competitive quotes. And, if you think you might be busy at those times, why not give those dates to one or two competitive suppliers who you’ve got to know?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

A few years ago, a certain tyre company asked for my car insurance renewal date when they changed my tyres. Now, it’s their polite, annual phone call that prompts me to shop around. If I left if to my own insurance company, I’d probably forget about it until it was too late, and succumb to annual premium rises. That one call each year offering a competitive quote doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll go with their car insurance. But it does mean I get the chance to lower my costs and get better cover.

The same goes for IT support. Here at Amazing Support we have proper, structured account management reviews. But if your suppliers don’t (or if you think they might forget), it certainly pays to book review dates in your calendar and in another supplier’s calendar!

Did I miss anything? What dates do you worry about missing? Tell us your IT support renewal date to get a polite phone call nearer the time. And send a link to this article to your fellow managers.

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David has held positions as Operations Director and Head of IT in legal and professional firms for more than 10 years. He is a Director and co-owner of Amazing Support, a Microsoft Silver accredited and specialist Managed IT Support and IT Services company. David actively helps SME businesses receive better Managed IT Support and IT Services in the London and Hertfordshire areas. He also assists overseas companies who are looking to expand their business operations into the UK and helps with their inward investment IT process. A member of The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS), UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and an event speaker promoting business start-ups and technology awareness. Married with a son, you will often see him riding his bicycle around the Hertfordshire towns! David participates in charity bike rides and is a keen Krav Maga practioner.