Stephanie Hurd

By: Stephanie Hurd on June 27th, 2019

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An Open Letter to Kelley Earnhardt Miller (and Any Executive Settling for Bad IT)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelley Earnhardt Miller Photo Credit Associated Press Photo Credit: Associated Press
Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Co-Owner / Vice President / Business Manager, of JR Motorsports, recently joined her brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his Dirty Mo Podcast, to talk about childhood memories growing up together while their dad, Dale Earnhardt, was becoming a NASCAR racing legend.

Before the conversation got started Kelley briefly described her ongoing IT problems and uttered a sentiment shared by many executives unnecessarily suffering from unproductive technology. She said, "everybody has IT problems.”

It doesn’t have to be that way, Kelley!

AN OPEN LETTER TO KELLEY EARNHARDT MILLER (and Any Executive Settling for Bad IT)

Dear Kelley,

You deserve better.

IT problems are not a fact of business life.

I tuned in to Dale Jr.’s podcast this week because I love your personal story and find the business-side of racing (and really all sports) fascinating.

But - within the first 3 minutes of the conversation my professional-self cringed as you expressed frustration over the IT woes of JR Motorsports. I wish Mike Davis (Dale Jr.’s co-host) could have heard me loudly agree with him when he said, “It shouldn’t be that way! The bosses should be able to have their problems fixed.”

Yes, Mike. Yes, they should. And not just the bosses. Every minute wasted by any employee your business takes away from their job satisfaction and your bottom line.

This short anecdote was only about 2 minutes of a 2-hour conversation, but it struck such a chord with me because I spend so much of my time trying to convince executives that their technology should work for, not against them.

I’ve been working with executives and managers on organizational and leadership development for almost 8 years and made the switch to the tech industry about a year ago. What has shocked me the most since making that leap is that executives would never stand for mediocre results in any other area of their business, but for some reason willingly accept poor performance from technology.

You can do better.

Please start approaching IT with the same type of expectations and level accountability as you would approach any other business unit.

Start by:

  • Bringing IT to the leadership table.
  • Viewing IT as a business partner, much like your accountant and attorney.
  • Including technology in business strategy by identifying what you need from IT to achieve your goals.
  • Speaking up about even the smallest problems. You couldn’t print the morning you went on the Dirty Mo Podcast, but you made it through anyway, and most likely carried on without addressing the seemingly one-off printing issue. That nuisance problem will appear again and continue to chip away at productivity. Fix it now, fix it right, fix it permanently.

As you can see, I could go on and on about this topic, but I’ll stop here.

If you have a CIO or IT leader in your company, get a meeting scheduled now and start working on a better partnership.

If you don’t have an IT leader at JR Motorsports, find one or partner with one, but make sure that person or partner has a seat at the table and isn’t operating alone in a vacuum.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Hurd
Fan, Business Nerd, and IT Advocate