"We stopped saying no," Broadwater says. "'No' has become the word I hate the most from my staff. Instead, you say: "I understand, let me look into a solution." If you say, "Let me understand what you're trying to solve, and I'll try to help you," then they don't try to go around you."
"IT is there to serve the company," he adds. "IT exists as a service organization. Saying "no" keeps the company from doing its business."
Schadler agrees, "What you should be saying is: 'Oh you need it! How do you need it? Why do you need it? What characteristics are most important to you? How can we scale it to the rest of the organization? How can you help us, the business, succeed? How can I help you take advantage of that technology?"
Form a Governance Steering Committee
That's not to say Sesame Workshop simply approves every request that comes its way. Broadwater's organization still requires a legitimate business reason before approving certain technologies or purchases. In fact, to further governance, Broadwater established a governance steering committee that includes representatives from the legal and finance departments as well as the lines of business. The steering committee's job is to understand the needs and wants that exist in the company and to evaluate technologies and the risks associated with them.
The next step was to create a simple, actionable policy, Broadwater says.
"Don't create policies that look like a lawyer wrote it," he says. "You don't want a 10-page policy that they're not going to read. Create simple, actionable policies."
Broadwater says that it's important to keep employees up-to-date and educated. Sesame Workshop holds what it calls "Lunch and Learn" sessions about once a month to both talk about technologies and how to use them safely as well as to listen to employees. Additionally, employees who want to bring their own device to work need to attend two special training sessions before they are allowed to do so.
Ending the practice of saying "no" is also likely to win you a lot more friends in the business, Broadwater says, adding that his organization won the highest satisfaction ratings it ever recorded the year it began allowing employees to use iPhones.
"If your company does annual reviews, always have in your pocket one really cool technology that your users are going to love," he says. "Bring it out right before annual reviews and you'll get the biggest bonus you've ever seen."