Career

The Microsoft MVP summit was held last week (3rd – 7th November) in Redmond, where I had the good fortune to spend the week with members of various Microsoft product teams that are responsible for what we commonly know as Active Directory.  I can genuinely say that in technology terms I have not been this interested in the future of Windows since I did my first Windows Server 2000 course (MOC 1561) back  in 1999.

The MVP Summit content is mostly under NDA and I have always respected the NDA and with this in mind all I will say is that over the next few months I will be reading and learning as much as I can on the following areas of Microsoft technology.

Azure Active Directory

Azure Active Directory Sync Services

Azure Rights Management

Windows 10

I would also recommend that you start to start to think about the concept of Active Directory being an identity provider and that in the future it will all be about managing identities and not solely about managing the technologies that deliver them.

Food for thought, think about what type of identities your business will support, business only or perhaps personal too? What is an identity? What is a personal identity? Who owns the identity?  (I will follow up on this concept with another post).

There are so many things to learn about in life, that I rarely find time to read fiction and over time I appear to have made an unconscious decision to subscribe to constant or “lifelong learning”.

This may appear to directly contradict what I stated in this post , but lifelong learning does not necessarily relate directly to the skills you need to do your job, it may give you the ability to progress or diversify in your career, skills that compliment your current skillset to enable you to advance into management or leadership positions; equally you could learn about something for no other reason than to learn about it.

Since embarking on lifelong learning, I have academically studied wireless and mobile data networks; copyright and mathematics; additionally self-studied TOGAF©, Six Sigma© and evolutionary leadership. Many of the new skills that I have learned, I have found helping me in my professional career and personal life in ways that perhaps I did not originally conceive when I started to learn. The skills I have learned for example, the mathematics has enabled me to assist my son with his homework; copyright introduced ethical concepts into my thought process and TOGAF© has made me think about how I approach aspects of the deliverables I produce.

My constant quest for knowledge has also had what some people may determine being a negative benefit, such as I have picked up systems at work and learned them because I needed to leverage the applications capabilities, by default I became the owner and administrator of the application, which was not my intended outcome.

As Francis Bacon is attributed to have said “knowledge is power” and for me the power comes from knowing more about what you currently don’t know about. Lifelong learning is not down to your employer, whilst they can contribute it is ultimately your choice.

So where do you start? Pick a topic or subject, buy a book, find a website and start to learn.

Originally published on LinkedIn.

I am at the point of my working career where effectively I don’t need to be managed, I know my role, I know how to behave and I am also very aware of what will happen if I don’t perform. I have learned to ask what the priorities to the business are and I work to them accordingly, senior people within the organisation know I will get things done if given an open road and the opportunity to deliver.

With certain professions there comes a certain point in time where you have to take a step back and think am I still as effective as I once was, when professionals such as footballers and athletes face this question they often take up management or coaching roles which enables them to mentor the new talent that is coming through their profession, though this usually does not happen overnight.

I feel that am fast approaching the professional crossroads of my career, I regularly ask myself, Am I as effective as I once was? Am I still relevant? My current answer is yes, but I am aware that technology is constantly evolving and soon technology will creep up on me and when it does, it will mean that I will have to learn an entirely new set of skills, at which point I will ask myself the same questions. Am I as effective as I once was? Am I still relevant? This time I will probably answer No.

In preparation for the next phase of my career, I need to find myself a mentor, one who can help to prepare me for the future, so that when I do move into more of corporate management role, just as I now don’t need to be managed, I will know my role and what is expected of me, albeit from a totally different perspective.

So to all the current managers out there, by enabling someone else to do your job, you too maybe able to succeed further – but perhaps only if you also have a mentor.

Originally posted on: linkedIn