Lessons in Leadership: Reflections from David Ratcliffe


HDI’s Top 25 Thought Leaders for 2016 share leadership advice and predictions for the future.

by Amy Eisenberg
August 15, 2017

In January 2017, HDI presented the Top 25 Thought Leaders in Technical Support and Service Management. To help you get to know them better and learn what it means to be a community leader, we’ve interviewed each of our thought leaders. Today, we hear from David Ratcliffe.

David Ratcliffe, ITSM

Tell us about your day job and also how you are involved in the community.

I often joke about this by saying, “What does a President do anyway?”

As President at Pink Elephant, I spend most of my time talking and interacting with three different groups of people:

  • Our customers, to make sure we know what challenges they’re facing and how we might be able to help.
  • Our partners and competitors (yes, I talk with our competitors!) about what’s going on in our industry and the challenges we’re all facing. Being in the education and consulting business and focusing on best practice frameworks, I do get involved in many discussions with partners (owners of various bodies of knowledge and their respective examination institutes) to make sure the voices of our customers are being heard.
  • Those in our company who are responsible for the products and services we deliver for our customers.

Making sure all these groups are in sync is something I feel is vitally important. I use Twitter and LinkedIn to get my views and news out there.

The other major activity I’m involved in virtually every day is the long-term planning of what we need to be doing in the months and years ahead. I think a lot about that!

What motivates you to be active in the community?

I think a lot less about competition than people might think. Instead I think about how we can collaborate and learn from each other. The only way that can happen is if I get out there in the real world and the virtual world. Fortunately, I enjoy both.

What suggestions do you have for tech support professionals interested in getting more involved in the community?

I’ve always been a big advocate for HDI (anyone who knows my history will know why I’d say that!). But there are also other networking forums in our industry. What I tell people is that you can learn more from others than you can ever hope to experience on your own. Getting together and sharing knowledge and experience is just the right thing to do. In some ways, we’re all in this together!

You can learn more from others than you can ever hope to experience on your own.
Tweet: You can learn more from others than you can ever hope to experience on your own. @PinkerDavid @ThinkHDI #ITSM

What trends do you anticipate for the business of IT over the next few years?

To be perfectly honest, I’ve virtually given up trying to make predictions! But what I’d advise people to look out for are new developments that are sure to happen at much faster rates than in the past. That means we don’t have time to sit back and wait and see. I just wrote an article last week describing how it’s everyone’s responsibility to look out for risks and opportunities. We should not be constrained by our job titles. In the world of “best practice frameworks” I see much more demand for guidance and approaches that are lean and agile. Fortunately, the days of best practice dogma were relatively short-lived (the past couple of decades) and the definition of “fit-for-purpose” is being changed to mean “better, faster, and cheaper.” That has to apply to the way we work, not just the end results.


Amy Eisenberg is the editor for HDI where she works with industry experts and practitioners to create content for technical support professionals. She has worked in B2B media and scholarly publishing for more than 20 years, developing content for print and digital magazines, print and email newsletters, websites, conferences, and technical seminars. Follow Amy on Twitter @eisenbergamy, and connect with her on LinkedIn.


Tag(s): supportworld, service management, leadership, ITIL, ITSM, IT service management, community

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