Let’s start with a brief quiz. Rank the following roles in a company in terms of 1 (Avoid them if possible) to 4 (Let’s go to lunch), and you can’t have a tie:
- IT Manager
- HR Manager
- Operations Manager
- Sales Manager
Your role heavily influences how you ranked these four and I am aware that the readers of our newsletter are often from HR and IT. Given that, rank them again the way the top two levels of executives in your company would rank them. Notice the difference in the ranking. If you’re in IT (and HR as well), it’s likely you ranked your role higher similar to the quote below:
“We're like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice.” – Jerry Garcia
The brutal truth, with the gap in ranking, is your opinion doesn’t matter. The opinion of your customer, the business, is the opinion that counts. The gap doesn’t matter. In IT, you must rank these the same way the executives do because that is your job. In this LearningFlash, I am going to focus specifically on IT organizational issues, however, similar issues and truths exist in HR as well.
With IT people, background is critical. Full disclosure – I have an ‘expired’ BS in Computer Science from Purdue and an MS in Instructional Systems Technology from IU. I’ve spent over 25 years in IT organizations, driving process and organizational strategy. The most important lesson I learned is that a support organization cannot forget what they are there for. Death (aka bypass) eventually follows.
One of our long-time customers, a VP of IT in the pharmaceutical field, tells a story about a critical customer meeting that triggered his call to us initially. The goal was to speed up the creation of a solution for this very large customer by getting everyone involved in the problem in the same room at the same time, including his IT managers and contributors. After seeing the response, language and customer focus of his team –he was completely humiliated. And he decided, like the classic Jerry Garcia quote:
“Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be me [us]."
If you think it’s time you got your IT organization in order, read on. If you’re prepared to defend what you’ve done as good enough, read on. If you don’t think you have a problem, get your resume cleaned up.
Ready to do something? Let’s get brutal.
Here are some steps you can take to drive business strategy and steer clear of obsolesce:
- Attend our IT Leadership Folklore: Fact or Fiction? webinar on April 1, 2014 to see more details about how we partner with IT organizations and enable them to grow themselves.
- Attend my similar live presentation for Indy SHRM April 24, 2014 by contacting Brittney Helt. If you’re a local Indy IT Leader ready to move to Learn and Grow, we’ll buy your ticket for you.
- Ask Brittney to share with you our IT Evolution process to jumpstart your gap analysis and strategic plan and some options for creating your own IT Leadership Academy. This is like P90X, fast, quick and very painful but you’ll grow.
- Get a copy of my book IT Leadership Alchemy (co-author Jeff Feldman) and compare your team to the competencies prioritized by your successful peers through the research done by Susan Mosey.