Bryan Whitefield – Experts Need Advocates

by DWCAU2017 Speaker – Bryan Whitefield.

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No one doubts your expertise. Staff know when they need to come to you. The problem is, their perception is that you are just a techie.


It is natural for humans to pigeonhole things. We have a lot on our minds and the amount of information we need to process is increasingly overwhelming… so our need to pigeonhole will only increase. It is easier for the business to think of technical support functions in simple terms than in the more complex, value-adding support you can provide.

Your Predecessors are Part of the Problem

One of the problems is that not all in your profession has made the profession proud. Too many have been fixated on best practice rather than doing the job well enough to allow the business to perform. Knowing what is well enough is the key. Knowing when to hold or give ground.

Understand the Business Very, Very Well

In order to know when to give ground, you need to truly understand the business you serve. Most people in technical support functions don’t come from the business that they serve as they trained in their profession. So it is difficult to know the business as well as you would like.

There are ways to learn the business. Immersing yourself in it for a period, or asking lots and lots of questions and studying the business are all good examples. Even so, you are not in the business and you will not have fully up-to-date information about them.

Experts Need Advocates


Enter the advocate. What you need is an advocate in each of the business units you serve. An advocate understands the importance to the business of what you do, and they make sure you are given the time and the information required to add the value you know you can.

If you don’t have a seat at the table, or if you are a last-minute thought, your advocates in the business are not sufficiently influential.

How strongly do your contacts within the business advocate for you?

Bryan‘s session at DWCAU is