Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Each week of class, I brought in a different technology leader from a variety of different industries, (including a few CIO's responsible for Fortune 1000 companies) to discuss the need for today's technology leader to not only understand the importance of technical skills, but the critical importance of interpersonal skills in the workplace. Some of the common themes that came up:
Today's IT leaders need to understand how to create a positive impact on projects. The students were shocked to hear from a number of IT leaders that came in AFTER a project failed, and what they did to turn the initiative around and/or save a project from failure. The speakers often shared their perspective on "learning in the trenches" and the need to understand the goal, but also to define the "WHY" of the project and point everyone in the same direction, regardless of independent interests or goals. The project manager is an important role for a corporation and these skills are needed by IT leaders today.
Almost every leader that came in to speak for me brought up the importance of conflict resolution skills. For a leader in today's workforce, the consistent challenge of business, the economy, and changing priorities all lead to a stressed out work environment. The ability to understand the potential for conflict and/or the ability to quickly resolve issues between people or departments is critical for the success of the IT leader. This was a common theme.
Cross-Functional Business Roles
Most IT leaders that spoke in my class had actually fulfilled different roles in their IT careers. To be more specific, these individuals worked as IT leaders AND a secondary role, typically working both jobs because they were very capable people and they were asked to do this because they were trusted in the organization. As an IT leader, this is not only a huge opportunity to grow, it provides another avenue for ongoing education into new territory in the organization.
If the IT leader can't be trusted, how do they function in an organization? Each speaker brought this very important point to their presentations in class. The trust that is built with continued success in the deployment of solutions will generate more opportunities for growth and develop the leader into a "trusted source" for business alignment and execution. This became another important aspect of the presentation from each IT leader and something they all understood.
I've had a unique experience, bringing a number of IT leaders into the classroom to share their stories, and I am planning on teaching this course again for the upcoming school year at Cal State San Marcos.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Following is an excerpt from my new book, The New Technology Paradigm, http://www.amazon.com/New-Technology-Paradigm-Steve-Romeo/dp/0982831501/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290026980&sr=8-1 intended to spark thought and discussion on the all-important subject of collaboration in business.
COLLABORATION: TEAMING UP FOR TOP RESULTS
We’re all familiar with examples of successful collaboration, from business, military and sports arenas to politics and personal life. It is absolutely awe-inspiring what can be done, sometimes on a massive scale, when everyone is “bought in” and working for the same goal. We also are familiar with many of the elements that are necessary for completing a group project successfully—including strong leadership, clear communication, inspiration, respect, resiliency, and hard work. I would just like to take a moment here to highlight a few of the more important elements of successful collaboration.
The Importance of Leadership. Of course, strong leadership is always critical to project success. Successful projects are led by someone who has a clear vision, is passionately convinced that the project will work, and is able to transmit that passion to his or her team. This gives individual members the enthusiasm and focus they need to achieve the goal together. The leader is also able to transmit the courage to get started, to take risks, and to persevere when the going gets rough. He or she is able to keep the team focused on the goal.
Open Communication. Above all, the leader creates an atmosphere of open communication. Leaders who give their teams a say can often create a buy-in beyond the deliverable. On the other hand, teams without a say will typically say nothing. How do you get your team bought in? How do you create the kind of commitment that gets results? By asking for honest feedback. By being humble enough to say, “This is what we’ve come up with so far, but we’re open to suggestions.” If you want to make this even more personal, you can ask each member of the team for his or her feedback: “What do you think, Bob?” or “What’s your take on this, Sally?”
The leader is also open and flexible but able to bring the group back to the task at hand. As a result of strong leadership, everyone has clear expectations about their part in the project and a clear vision of the final goal.
Questions for Leaders. Remember, everyone is a potential leader in his or her own sphere of influence. Regardless of your level of leadership, here are some important questions to ask yourself: Do you inspire your team? Do you believe in the project? Do you involve others in the challenges and direction of the project? Do you command respect? Are you really committed? Do you have ownership of the project beyond the completion date? If you have all these qualities, more than likely you will be able to transmit the energy and enthusiasm that will lead to effective collaboration and successful completion of the project.
Next time I will discuss some of the most critical factors in the art of clear communication. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about these and other subjects related to business success, just click here to order my book, The New Technology Paradigm: Transforming IT With Passion, Courage, and Collaboration. http://www.amazon.com/New-Technology-Paradigm-Steve-Romeo/dp/0982831501/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290026980&sr=8-1