Leadership Lessons from Wes Key: You Break it, You Buy it

I started working with Wes Key when I joined IGS in the spring of 2016. We both clicked right away since we shared a lot common interests including music, food and technology. Wes brings a lot to the table including business acumen and most importantly a passion for mentoring others.

Wes has helped build up a lot of green team members throughout his career. He has a unique ability to own the responsibility of their project work while ensuring they get all the credit/success. He does have one steadfast rule while encouraging them to find balance in risk vs. reward of a technical change. His main rule…you break it, you buy it.

What Wes is articulating with his rule is the need to instill a sense of ownership at the point where a team member’s training wheels are removed. This can help give a level of comfort to someone who is uncomfortable with a particular change or project. If you’re the one to take a chance without supervision, you’re the one responsible for owning that change and ultimately finding the resolution. If you don’t feel comfortable, make sure you get some help and a second set of eyes.

Even as I stepped away from day to day technical responsibilities, Wes maintained his “you break it, you buy it” rule for me. I needed to own the work I was completing as opposed to just being hopeful that someone would ultimately clean up my mess if I had to step away to focus on my leadership duties. It ultimately caused me to take a step back focus on providing strategic leadership as opposed to interfering with ongoing technical work.

Wes’ rule has helped individuals transitioning to careers in IT build confidence and make immediate contributions. We still leverage this mindset on a daily basis and will for years to come.

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