When I left school I didn't imagine myself in a job where I'd be involved in strategic business decisions day to day. However, after leaving a small MOT garage and starting my apprenticeship with Resolve IT I noticed very quickly that this would be a regular occurrence, even for technical staff like me.
Now, alongside other team leaders, part of my role at Resolve is to raise questions and make suggestions to continually improve our client's experiences and shape Resolve as it grows. It isn't just the directors who get to do this; we're all involved, and many operational changes, solutions and ideas within Resolve IT have come from front line staff.
As I moved through the ranks within Resolve IT from apprentice to team leader, I became more and more responsible for business-related changes and decisions. This initially got my business brain thinking... the business world is much like the IT world as both can change rapidly. How can I keep up with new developments, ideas and changes within the business world?
Luckily, there are plenty of sources out there and I'd like to share a few of my personal favourites with you!
1. Andy Hanselman's 3D Thoughts
An experienced consultant and speaker, Andy is all about helping businesses to be "Dramatically and Demonstrably Different". Andy's 3D Thoughts arrives in my inbox each week with three ideas in three minutes, designed to help businesses think in 3D. Each week Andy gathers thoughts from a variety of sources and presents a selection of concise, practical ideas to get you thinking and geared up for the week ahead. These will help you discover interesting and innovative ways to improve marketing, customer service, competitiveness and performance without taking much more than three minutes. Take some time out of your day and listen here; http://www.andyhanselman.com/andys-3d-thoughts/
2. TED - "Idea's worth spreading"
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design, although its brief is now far broader) is an online blog consisting of video talks by inspirational people, business leaders, creative geniuses and generally great people. Best of all, they're free! TED also have a great community allowing you to get involved. They host their own conferences, events and a special TED Prize. Take a look at http://www.ted.com
As well as this, TED allows organisations to organise their own TED-style conferences, known as TEDX. Some of the Resolve team were at TEDX Sheffield this year, hearing all about robots, communication, innovative ways to diagnose cancer and more!
3. Forbes.com - "Information for the world's business leaders"
Forbes started out as a magazine way back in 1917, and Forbes.com was launched in 1996, featuring blogs from leading businesspeople alongside standard editorial content. Giving readers a good insight into what business leaders are currently working on, thinking and doing, I would suggest that you take a peek at www.forbes.com
4. Company blogs
There are communities out there such as the above-mentioned TED and Forbes, but you can always go direct to a company's blog to read about their business, ideas, innovations and what's going on within their company. One of the blogs I check on regularly is the 6Wunderkinder blog. 6Wunderkinder started out as a start-up software development company creating an application called Wunderlist. Their blog features everything from new ideas, software updates, challenges and successes. Have a read at www.6wunderkinder.com/blog
By using some of these tools to keep up with the world of business, I can continue to learn, share and build upon the ideas of others to help my team grow. Ultimately I try and keep on top of blogs such as these because I want my team to provide our customers with an excellent service time and again. Now it's your turn to help your business do the same!