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SIM-Colorado “5 Critical Skills of Successful IT Executives”. Steve Weber, Vice President & Executive Partner Gartner Executive Programs April 15, 2008. Why is This Important?. “People…Single Most Prominent Issue on 2007 CIO Survey” (Mark McDonald)

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SIM-Colorado “5 Critical Skills of Successful IT Executives”

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SIM-Colorado“5 Critical Skills of Successful IT Executives”

Steve Weber, Vice President & Executive Partner

Gartner Executive Programs

April 15, 2008

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Why is This Important?

  • “People…Single Most Prominent Issue on 2007 CIO Survey” (Mark McDonald)

  • #1 Reason the CIO was let go (CEO response)

    • “The CIO was not the type of leader we need to grow, consolidate, do M&A, etc.”


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2008 CIO Survey

  • CEOs are impatient…more than ever!

  • CIOs know what to do, BUT

    • Only 28% have right skills in IT meet bus needs

  • Thus flawless delivery, especially sustained delivery that makes a difference to the CEO, is “top of mind” concern!


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CIOs see challenges in implementing many of their own strategies for 2008.


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Success in IT has Changed!

  • “Old Days” Success

    • Technical prowess

    • Tightly manage cost

    • Personal problem solving

    • Resource scheduler

    • Do what tell me to do

      • Servant mentality

    • “More features is better”


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Success Today!

  • 5 Critical Skills!

    • Technical – but different

    • Management

    • Business

    • Leadership

    • Behavioral


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Technical skills

  • “Make sure” things work well and “easier”

  • Fit in architecture/environment?

  • Focus on the CAPABILITY of the technology

    • Help solve your business’s true issues?

  • Poster child - standards/simplicity/retire/reuse

    • Software package example

  • Worry about what technical decisions will incur undue risk or cost (take thoughtful risk)


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Management Skills

  • All IT needs to work at a reasonable cost

    • Infrastructure, projects, help desks, etc.

    • Worry about investment/benefit

  • Passion for process improvement

    • Less time, less money every day

  • Staff needs to get better every day

    • Feedback, recognition, REAL development actions

  • Active risk identification/management

  • Effective communication is DAILY priority


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Communication Principles

  • What are successful communications?

    • The message is key (not the content)

      • Does NOT vary by audience

    • Content uses the language of the audience

      • DOES vary by audience

    • Timing is as important as delivery vehicle

      • Vehicle often varies by audience


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Communication Principles

  • Subtleties

    • Make it as easy as possible for audience to understand the message

      • Be consistent

      • Explicitly refer back to previous communications

    • Always be able to share “why”

    • Know difference between FYI vs. approval


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Business Skills

  • Run IT shop like a business

    • Reduce unit costs over time

    • Daily create “capacity”…which creates agility

    • Deliverable focused job descriptions

  • Put “Business” in Business Relationships

    • Orientation - examples

    • Partnership

    • Language


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You Know You Have a Partnership When:

  • You solve the same problems

  • You leverage each others’ strengths

  • You have the same information

  • You operate as if the glass is half full


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Partnership (cont)

  • You use the other party’s language

  • You provide a safe environment

  • Your commitment to the partnership overrides all else


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Business Terms/Processes

  • All Projects/Upgrades=Business terms/benefits

    • Investments….NOT costs

    • “What business problem does it solve?”

  • Business language – varies by level in org

    • Benefits, investment, risks, assumptions, alternatives

    • Not “no” or “more features” or “specs”

    • “Time” and “do more with less” is a big overriding concern.

  • Use business decision processes (and them)


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Leadership Skills

  • Self awareness is not an option for anyone!

  • “Make sure” appropriate change occurs

    • Willing to confront

  • Willing to make tough, ambiguous decisions

    • Decisions = f (context, information, time)

  • Willing to exercise judgment

    • “Why” is very important

  • Accountability/ownership is second nature


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Everyone in IT needs to Lead!

  • “Leadership is a serious meddling in the lives of other people.”

  • “A real leader faces the music, even when he/she doesn’t like the tune.”

  • “A leader is one who knows the way, shows the way, and goes the way.”

  • “Change is inevitable…Growth is optional.”

  • “Knowledge is free…Bring your own container.”


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Behavioral Skills

  • Determine what’s acceptable AND reward it!

    • Define and communicate

    • Then…consistently reinforce, recognize, pay for it

  • Be a role model -Words and actions

  • Examples


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  • Major change from past – start now!

    • Skills needed

    • What is success and how know it

    • Great performance = results, process, behaviors

  • Lot of subtleties to be successful – get a mentor

  • “IT Executives” means ALL IT leaders

    • Cascade down throughout IT organization


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CIOs recognize the impact of business expectations and the need to build capability to realize results.


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