Houston, TX – We know that Baby Boomers are retiring at such a rate that we can’t replace their talent and experience overnight, and yet it seems many Baby Boomers do not recognize the talent in their organizations. I know the high potential talent exists and this blog series will highlight everyday people doing extraordinary things. The intention of this series is for these professionals to share what is important to them, what senior management needs to know and advice for younger workers and lessons to learn.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Smith who works in Strategic IT Operations Management. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Prairie View A&M University and MBA focusing in information systems from Argosy University.

Brandon loves the IT industry and desires his next IT position to be more strategic rather than operational. He loves setting the focus, the strategy, planning and managing departments, and establishing the goals to accomplish the plan.

One reason that Brandon is valued and known at work is because of his philosophy of being a problem solver at any level. His belief is that you can always do something no matter what. It is a can-do attitude. Secondly, his approach as he goes into each new role is specific. He forensically reviews contracts, service level agreements, budgets, to reduce costs and increase service levels.

As we know, all work scenarios are not all positive. Brandon shared a specific example of this when the situation at work looked bleak. He was once given the assignment to interview potential interns for our company at a well-known University in Texas and to hire the most qualified candidate based on the needs assessment he submitted. He interviewed 20 candidates and had to choose from the top 5.

The final decision was supposed to be his own, but his supervisor chose who he felt was the weakest candidate. His belief was that this young man talked a great deal but probably did not know enough to fulfill the requirements of the position laid out in the needs assessment. This young man said there was no problem he couldn’t solve as all he had to was to use Google or YouTube.

His hiring decision for the intern position was overridden by his supervisor and this young man was hired. Once in place, it was clear he did not have the skill set necessary for the position needed. Brandon had to decide for his team and this young man. He decided to give him a chance by helping and teaching him. This also took the support of the IT team as they realized everyone gave them a chance at some point. The intern was used to help in other areas and the overall project he was hiring for was delayed due to this wrong hire but the team persevered.

Brandon is passionate about supporting people and processes in combination with excellent customer service. He loves helping people and making sure people are successful because the result is that we will have satisfied end users.
I asked what advice he would like to share with younger professionals and he said, “Learn as much as you can about as many things as you can and never stop learning especially in IT as the industry changes daily.”

The other advice he has is for help baby boomers to better understand about some of the biggest misconceptions people have about people his age. The advice is that Baby boomers may not be aware of the depth he personally brings to the organization especially in fiscal management. An example of this was an organization where he uncovered an accounting error resulting in $140,000 savings to the company. While this was not his direct responsibility, it was important to him personally.

Brandon said: “I think people get stereotyped in this industry. I’ve seen hiring managers that are unwilling to consider people of a certain age to take on certain tasks. They seem to look for years of experience doing one thing instead of looking at the broader skill set that individuals bring to the organization.”

It is critical to stay current in today’s fast-paced global society in which we live and work and that is evident in Brandon and the way he works. He has always had a thirst for new technology and innovation. He reads lots of articles, downloads developer’s versions of new software, and surround himself with technological minds. He exists as the family and friend tech guy and usually must troubleshoot several systems in his free time. Technology folks never must be told to stay updated. It’s the thirst for technology that drives them to stay interested.

Finally, I asked Brandon what question do you wished I asked and did not? How do you see the climate of the workforce and current job given the current political climate? It is an interesting question and one we did not have time for in this series.
As the interviewer, I would describe Brandon’s success in large part because of the depth of his visionary, experience, energy, authenticity, problem solver and strong work ethic. Brandon has what I call the X-factor, you might not be able to describe it, but you know it when you see it.