We talk a lot about how IT leaders should formulate the right strategies and make sure the right technologies fall into place. But to make a real difference, IT leaders must be agents of change.
Most of us know, for example, that there is invaluable value in the patterns that emerge from analyzing mountains of business data and records. Or that machine learning can reduce overhead and power transformative applications. Or that it is time to standardize security policies across multiple clouds. But how do IT leaders get their organizations to make the leap?
They need to learn to sell. It is an essential skill for effective IT leadership.
What is the first step in sales? Prospecting. You need to discover where the small-time opportunities lie to demonstrate the value of, say, a data-driven approach to modernizing legacy processes. Organizations in which technologists are embedded in cross-functional workgroups have an advantage, because those allies can be used to identify quick wins.
Then you need to convince a main stakeholder that it is worth a try. This is not one and it is done. You need to collaborate with that stakeholder (or whoever you designate) every step of the way, from gathering requirements to regular checks, testing, and training.
You also need to instrument your project from the beginning to ensure that you can collect metrics to demonstrate success. If a successful result is obtained, you and / or a representative must convey the results. This is your internal marketing program. Have your first stakeholder sing the praises of your initiative and others will make their way to your door.
The ability to build and maintain such relationships ranks high in CIO contributor Esther Schein’s “7 Skills of Successful Digital Leaders.” It goes hand in hand with other soft skills, such as the ability to communicate goals clearly, motivate others, and understand “storytelling” using the terminology of business leaders. Shrouded in those qualities, Schein says, is adaptability to change, a trait that has been put to the test for the past 18 months.
Directives on how labor agreements should be realigned as a result of our progressive pandemic are the province of CEOs, not CIOs. But once the basic decisions have been made, will we cut down on office space? What does hybrid work mean to us? – IT leadership must implement a consistent plan for associated collaboration, security, and automation solutions. As Charlotte Trueman, a writer for Computerworld, points out in “How to make the hybrid workplace a success“Many companies are looking to a ‘remote first’ future.
The challenges of remote work have exploded stress levels for security professionals. But security professionals who have a sense of purpose and are able to forge strong working relationships defy the stereotype of the embattled CISO, fighting in vain to defend themselves against relentless attack. In “CISO job satisfaction: making sense of the mission“Contributor Mary Pratt offers a prescriptive quote from Lena Smart, CISO of MongoDB:” You need to have a good story, and it should be understandable and easy to identify. “
Working in isolation, on the other hand, carries all kinds of dangers. In “12 ways to make really bad tech decisions, “InfoWorld Contributing Editor Isaac Sacolick comes back to the same topics over and over again: Don’t make assumptions. Engage with stakeholders and customers to determine their actual rather than stated needs. First, create trial solutions concept to validate your choices rather than just plowing forward.
To be successful in any initiative, you need the right people with the right skills, including those who keep your infrastructure running. As Maria Korolov, a contributor to Network World, observes in her network certifications overviewAs the needs of IT organizations have changed to accommodate remote work, this has created a high demand for skills in SDN, cloud and network automation. Network professionals who earn certifications in those areas are experiencing unprecedented salary increases.
For any expansion of the technological heritage, neither the choice of the perfect solution nor the alignment of highly qualified personnel is sufficient. Yes, continual change promises to be our default state in the future. But if you can’t articulate how each new step in that evolution will play out, leading with a realistic picture of stakeholder benefits, your efforts may never be fully appreciated.