Comm 190 Week 9
Class 15-8 skills you need to be a successful IT exec
1. Know Your Leadership Style
Self-knowledge can be a make-or-break attribute. Knowing what you do well and
where you need work is paramount to long-term success in any field, but it's
especially important in IT where things tend to move at a frenetic pace.
- knowing what type of leadership style you have
-learning to use that style to your advantage,
-and knowing when to tweak that style based on who you will be meeting with
-eg. if you're a charismatic leader w/ big picture vision, but meeting with a CFO that
is a detail-oriented pessimist, you need to know when to drive down to the data to
relieve any fears
2. Focus on Strategic Communication
Knowing how to deliver your message to different audiences is critical.
-need to have the ability to create and manage relationships with peers, coworkers and
-need to think of yourself as less of a technologist and more of a general manger
-be able to understand the business and understand the impact that you and your team
has on the business be able to articulate that to other partners and within your own
As a leader you need to get your message through to people at all levels of the
company with clarity, which can be challenging.
-knowing how and when to shift the story so that everybody gets it and understands
what it means for them. It's having the ability to use marketing, media, meetings and
methods to change how your company or your customers think
3. Learn How to Develop Talented High-Performance Teams
As an executive, a key trait is the ability to get things done through other people. The
best leaders surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are.
"Technical skills are what get you to a senior position but when you get to a
leadership position you're going to spend 90 percent of your time managing people.
Doing that correctly is all about leadership. It's creating that vision and making people
want to follow you."
Team leadership is an important skill. "If you think of an orchestra, you can think of
yourself as a section leader now, but as you move up you have to become the
conductor and bring all the sections together. It requires someone who can truly lead.
You have to learn to let go, trust your people and delegate. "Your job is not to be the
smartest person in the room. Your job is to hire people who are smarter than you. You
have to get the best thinkers in the room, particularly people who complement your
weaknesses." 4. Develop a Strong Technology Strategy
Having a vision is one thing, but being able to turn that vision into an executable
strategy is another. "New IT leaders must learn what strategy means at the ground
level and how to lead the times of technological change that comes from great ideas.
They also have to learn how to use technology to create value both inside and outside
the organization. It's no longer about implementing the latest tool to stay
technologically relevant; it's about tying technological change to bottom line results."
5. Understand Complex Business Problems
With a background in IT, you are accustomed to focusing on the problems directly in
front of you. At the executive level, you have to know the nuts and bolts of the
business and how those projects fit into the bigger picture.
"Moving into an executive role requires the ability to think about problems that have
multiple origins, conflicting stakeholders, and dynamic environments --where
changing one facet can have immediate unintended consequences."
6. Know How to Lead in a Crisis
Midnight outages, failed deliveries and long-term budget cuts always threaten the
successful delivery of enterprise transformations, projects and initiatives. If you are
going to be an effective IT leader, you must learn how to recognize a crisis when it
happens, manage it and guide your team to stay ahead of the curve.
"When things go wrong, and they will, you have to know how to manage the fallout
in the ivory tower as well as on the ground so that you maintain your status as
executive leader. Getting up gracefully is a skill well-learned, especially when the
economy, poor profits, or external events knock you down. It happens to everyone,
but your leadership character is defined by how you handle it."
7. Be Able to Market IT to the Business
As an IT leader you have to be leading the charge. You have to educate your peers
and stakeholders on the value that IT can bring to the table. One way to do that is to
let people know about successes. They could include how a change in processes
increased sales or how updating the company's Web software platform increased
customer satisfaction. Whatever the case is, you have to be comfortable talking about
your successes and the solutions that technology can help implement.
8. Know the Corporate Culture and Be Willing to Change It
Doing things a certain way simply because that's the way you've always done it won't
cut it at this level. You've got to be prepared to ask the tough questions. Every
decision you make can ripple throughout the organization.
"Spend the time to understand the environment you work in; create a dialogue with
executives, managers and those in the fi