Tech Leaders: Best Practices for Aligning w/ Business Units

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Tech leaders that want to advance their careers are realizing the importance of partnering with business units. Business leadership is clearly communicating that they want tech leaders to work more effectively with business units.

Below are best practices tech leaders can use to build these critical relationships.

  1. Work as a team to develop goals for your business unit customers. As an example, knowing what business units need when they begin thinking about it allows time to plan for their needs.
  2. Nothing is more powerful than really knowing your customer – how they think, how they feel, how they make decisions, how they communicate, etc… This can be achieved by spending time and asking good questions.
  3. Stories are a great way to communicate. People love stories and relate to them. Think of stories from you experience that communicate the point you want to make.
  4. Have an objective when you meet with a business unit. Think about the questions you want to ask ahead of time. Always be diplomatic in communication and consider sending your goal and questions ahead of the meeting.
  5. Actively listen to what they say. Strive to talk less and listen more.
  6. Remember, they probably don’t see the world, think, or solve problems the way you do.
  7. Ask follow-up questions to clarify.
  8. Tell them what you understood them to say to ensure communication was effective. This is really important when communicating people that think differently than you, which is usually the case if you are technical and they are from a business unit. Follow up with a brief email restating the request (if there was a work request).
  9. Have business conversations – not technical conversations. There is NEVER a need to speak at a more technical level than business unit leaders can understand.

Always remember, asking the right question at the right time is extremely powerful. Further, you won’t do these things perfectly. The important part is that you try.

Pete Hendrix is CEO of Integritec, a Telecom technology broker and thought leader on achieving competitive advantage through technology which comes from effective collaboration and communication between IT leadership, the C-Suite and other business unit leaders. He can be reached at peteh@integritec-tn.com.

IT Leadership Development: How to say “No” (Part 3)

Pete Hendrix No(Part 3)

Many IT leaders don’t include feelings of others when thinking, making decisions and communicating with others.  This isn’t bad or negative, it has led us to much of the great technology we have.

This three part paper provides awareness, tools and suggestions to manage this trait in dealing with others, which will boost careers via better relationships with business units and subordinates.

The Art of Saying No Part #3

IT Leaders – Build Stronger Relationships

Disconnect-Pete HendrixMost business unit leaders think and make decisions differently than most IT Leaders.  The impact is that both parties speak a different language which is the basis for many of the challenges in the relationship between IT and the rest of the company.

 

 

Much is written describing the changing role of IT Leadership, yet little is written on practical ways for IT Leaders to actually make the transition.  This paper presents a path to stronger relationships with the C-Suite and business unit leaders.

IT Leaders- Build Stronger Relationships(1)

Moving Forward With Solutions In The Changing Role of the CIO

Modern businessCIO’s often struggle with the changing role that is becoming more and more about business leadership. This is not new information, much is written about problems with IT.  Too often though, all fingers point at IT leadership.  I believe this is not all together accurate and the solution requires effort from business unit leaders and executive management as well as IT leadership. This article moves from problem to solution and is one of the best I have seen.

Why chief information officers can

struggle in a leadership role

Corporate Growth And The CIO

Image for siteCIO’s are the glue in converging IT and business strategies. There is more being asked of them rather than just making sure the IT department runs smoothly. They are the pivotal link of combining IT solutions and strategic corporate goals. They are having to face issues with big data and the best way to leverage this data to facilitate corporate growth.  They are expected to establish IT platform architectures that are flexible and scalable. Data driven decision making is fueling the need for analytics of this big data being harvested. The link below addresses more on this topic.

How CIOs Spur Enterprise Growth

by: Ben Kerschberg

Healthcare Jumping On Board the Cloud

???????????????????????????????????????????????????As Cloud Technology increases so does the focus on assurance of security and cost. There is an increasing number of healthcare organizations that are making the shift to Cloud based technology. These organizations are seeing a greater workforce productivity after Cloud technology has been implemented. Big players in the technology service provider companies are addressing the concerns of security and cost and coming up with measures to give assurance and more healthcare leaders are becoming very confident in these solutions.  The article below by Erin McCann, Healthcare IT News is very encouraging for those still straddling the fence of Cloud based technology.

 

Healthcare taps cloud in record numbers

 

Extraordinary Bosses

Man controlling assembly process at factoryThe culture of the workplace starts at the top. Extraordinary bosses make a huge difference in the culture of the workplace. By following these 10 simple things that an extraordinary boss does you can change the culture of the workplace, engage employees and create a better team effort amongst your employees. Click the link below to read the article I have found very informative.

10 Things Extraordinary Bosses Give Employees
Good bosses care about getting important things done. Exceptional bosses care about their people.

 By Jeff Haden Contributing Editor, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

The Data Center Future & Leadership Perspectives

integritec-tnI came across this article. It’s a great read from other IT leaders in the industry. An array of opinions for the future of the data center and what trends are coming of age. Learn what others are saying about the challenges and next steps to this changing season for technology and IT departments. Go to the link below to read more.

 

What’s the future of the data center? The big list of thought leadership perspective

Jack Woods | March 4th,

CIOs – How To Make Time to Engage w/ the Business Units

 Engage-Pete Hendrix

“The role of CIO becomes more of a … consultant and advisor relative to the technology that’s available rather than building or delivering that infrastructure.” – Forrester Research”

 “CIOs Still Lack Respect from Executive Peers” The Wall Street Journal

The most successful IT leaders are finding ways to spend more time with the business units and less time on maintenance.

As an entrepreneur, I’ve been forced to overcome obstacles and difficult situations in order to survive. The process below has been critical to my success. It’s simple, though not easy.

  1. Treat this as a job saving endeavor – which may be the case.
  2. List ideas to reduce time spent on infrastructure maintenance or anything unrelated to corporate strategic initiatives. Write down all ideas – nothing is thrown out at this point.
  3. Make a list of the good and bad for each.  Honestly assess both. Focus on how to make the best ideas work.
  4. Make some hard decisions.

Here are ideas to get started:
What can you delegate to your team? – Delegate and let them do their jobs.

  • Can outside firms handle your custom software? Better yet, do you need custom software?
  • What lower value activities can you pay someone else to do?
  • What on premise systems / hardware do you have that would save time if put into the cloud? (IaaS, SaaS, Data Center w/ hands on management, etc…)
  • Need more funding? How can you put together a compelling business case?

By now you are probably sensing the difficulty of this exercise. According to Wikibon, the best CIOs spend 46% of their time with business stakeholders, compared to 27% for the most CIOs. The best CIOs spend about 17% less time on IT related issues than most CIOs. Difficult goals take time to achieve, though these numbers are good targets.

Pete Hendrix is a blogger and a technology broker. He is also a thought leader on the relationship between IT leadership and the C-Suite as well as skill set development for IT leaders as technology changes their traditional role. He can be reached at peteh@integritec-tn.com.