We\u2019ve heard a lot about \u201cdraining the swamp\u201d in U.S. politics, but this phrase has been around a long time, especially in management circles.\nI created a management model titled \u201cDrain the Swamp\u201d in 2002 when I wrote my book, IT Management Models, but I heard the phrase many years before that.\nDrain the swamp goes like this\nAll too often IT managers find themselves so busy with problems or hot issues that pop up during the day that they don\u2019t make progress. In other words, they are so busy fighting alligators that they forget to drain the swamp, which will eliminate the alligator issue altogether.\nPull yourself back away from the chaos and evaluate whether there are things you can do to eliminate the source of your IT support problems. Find a way to attack the source of the issue, not simply wrestle with the problem.\nI hear things like the following all the time:\n\n\u201dI\u2019m too busy to take time off to attend a training program I know I need.\u201d\n\u201cI don\u2019t have time to plan.\u201d\n\u201cWe can\u2019t build an IT strategy because our company has no strategy.\u201d\n\nWhen I hear things like this, I have to chuckle inside. These are reasons people are in such a reactive mode; they don\u2019t take the time to get out of it, so they try to work harder.\nThese are simply excuses, not the real problem. Working harder is not the answer.\nStop fighting the alligators and \u201cdrain the swamp.\u201d\nEliminate the source of a problem and you eliminate the mundane issue that causes you to lose productivity and be ineffective. \u201cFighting alligators\u201d is the wrong focus, plus it\u2019s easy to get hurt fighting an alligator.\nLet\u2019s dive into this challenge a bit with a few points that I include in my \u201cdrain the swamp\u201d management model:\nReactive managers get lost in the shuffle of supporting technology\nMost people tend to react because it\u2019s easier than being proactive planners. Reactive managers get lost and stay lost in the day to day support issues. The issues of the day tend to fill these managers\u2019 and their teams\u2019 productive hours, and as a result they don\u2019t make very much real progress.\nClearly define your objectives\nDefine your objectives and target your efforts for higher achievement. Take charge of your life and what you want to accomplish.\nAlways seek the source of problems and attack them aggressively\nLearn where the source of your problems is and attack them with vigor. Eliminating the source can be a real boost to your team\u2019s productivity and remove a lot of headache for your client. This can improve client satisfaction significantly. Lots of upside here.\nFind ways to execute your plan, even when you have to fight an alligator\nYou may have to fight some issues while trying to eliminate the source of the problem, i.e., \u201cfight an alligator in the midst of draining the swamp.\u201d If so, always try to find a way to work toward achieving the real objective while dealing with the immediate problem.\nFight the alligators only as needed to continue moving forward\nTotally avoid dealing with the problem if you can while you focus your effort on eliminating the problem source. If you have to fight alligators, only fight them to the extent required to get by while you deal with the real problem. Remember, the alligator is not the problem; it\u2019s the swamp, so focus attention on the real issue.\nStop fighting the alligators and drain the swamp\nFocus on eliminating the source of problems versus fighting the problems and you will find your team will be much more productive and will achieve more. Your team and your client will appreciate your wisdom on such matters.\nThe bottom line\nDraining the swamp is all about focus and putting energy into eliminating the source of problems rather than simply reacting and fighting the problems. Focus on preventing problems and it will set you apart from other IT managers.