Peer to Peer Magazine

March 2012

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 22 of 103

smart moves From Local to Global: Taking On a New Role by Jon Castle of SNR Denton In September 2010, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal combined with Denton Wilde & Sapte to form SNR Denton. As part of the globalization of teams, I took on a new global role for the organization in July 2011. My title changed from Lead Infrastructure Engineer to Lead Architecture & Engineer, Global Networks. Adapting to this global role has required additional skills and understanding to be effective, and I have learned some key lessons along the way. Communication Is Key When the Information Services (IS) Department is spread over several continents, effective communication can be challenging. It is important that all team members feel they are an essential component to the success of the business — no matter the location. Communication of day-to-day activities frequently occurs through unscheduled desk visits and hallway conversations, so it is important to have regularly scheduled meetings with team members located throughout all office locations. The meeting should have a tone of inclusion at all times; avoid using terms like "they" and "them," and opt for terms like "us" and "our." Meetings conducted over the phone are okay, but videoconferencing your meeting is always better if the budget and technology are in place. Face-to-face meetings are ideal to make sure that messages don't get lost or misinterpreted because of not being able to see facial expressions. Understand the "Why" Every information technology organization has followed an evolution in technology and processes to get where they are today. The end result of the technology designs and processes may seem strange from an outsider's perspective given the context of one's own experience. However, as you're shifting the focus of your team from one that ran independently to one that will function under a global umbrella, you should take the time to learn "why" each team has reached their current state of how to do things. Remember to keep an open mind, and don't judge too quickly that which might seem broken. A quick conclusion that something is "bad" or a method "doesn't make sense" might alienate peers. Often the strangeness of the design or process will be minimized when the path that was taken to get to the current result is understood. When I evaluate a network, I often find myself puzzled about the design decisions that were made. It's not until I start asking "why" that things make sense, and eventually the "aha" moment happens. By taking the time to listen and learn, you might find that another team's methodology makes sense for the global standard, or the teams might create a new way of doing things together. No matter which way you move forward, you'll be a stronger, more knowledgeable team. There is a quote I like that states, "Networking philosophy opinions are like belly buttons; we all have them, we all like our own, but other people's look funny." (Author unknown) Be Aware of Time Working across multiple time zones has its challenges. I frequently use the website to convert between different zones to make sure I'm aware of what time it is for the other members on my team. The day can get stretched with early-morning meetings and late-afternoon appointments as staff in different areas of the world strive to collaborate. This is an unfortunate side effect of being global, but this also creates opportunities to provide improved support by having a representative available at any hour of the day. 24 Peer to Peer

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