IT leaders will need to leave the safety of their professional comfort zones and re-invent their teams in order to create a next-generation IT organization.
By Charles Araujo
Before we go any further, I need to admit something. The title of this article is a little misleading. It's misleading because I'm not going to give you the seven steps to creating a next-generation IT organization in this article. I'm actually going to do it in a series of eight articles, this being the first. (Come on, you didn't really think the secret to reshaping an IT organization could be boiled down into seven simple steps that would fit in a single article, right?)
Ok, I'm glad that I've got that out of the way because, transforming an IT organization is a very important topic. If you've read my book, The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change, you know I believe we are at the beginning of a tectonic shift in how IT organizations operate, are funded and are structured. In fact, I opened The Quantum Age of IT with the sentence "IT as we know it is dead." But despite the intentionally provocative title and opening statement, the book's underlying message is one of hope. I believe we are in one of the most incredible times in the history of our industry and profession. However, that's only if we are able to cross the chasm and transform our organizations into the type of next-generation IT organization that will be required in the future.
The seven steps that I'll discuss below are based on The Catalyst Experience, which is a series of seven events designed to take IT professionals out of their comfort zone, create mindset shifts, and prepare teams to lead these kinds of next-generation IT organizations. We developed the events because we saw organization after organization struggling with inertia and outdated views of what is possible, and being unable to create the momentum needed to move an organization forward. If you and your organization are struggling with similar issues, these seven steps are a blueprint for you.
The first two steps are about preparing your team for the changes ahead. The last five steps are based on five organizational traits mentioned in The Quantum Age of IT. These traits are about building the core capabilities that your teams will need. And while our Catalyst Experiences are a way to accelerate this process, you can implement these seven steps in a variety of ways in your own organization now. The seven steps are:
Step #1: Wake Up! It's All About Marketing
Step #2: Understand the Four Pillars of Transformation
Step #3: Build a Learning Organization
Step #4: Instill Trust Through Discipline
Step #5: Create Choice Through Transparency
Step #6: Walk a Mile in Your Customer's Shoes
Step #7: Imagine the Future
In the next seven articles, I will dig into each of these steps and not only tell you why the step is important and what you are trying to accomplish, but I will also share some of the techniques that we use in our Catalyst Experiences to help change mindsets and energize teams so that you can also apply them successfully.
As you can probably tell from the seven steps, this is not your run-of-the-mill laundry list of feel-good platitudes. These steps represent hard work and commitment. Our Catalyst Experiences are intensive, two-day events. We challenge sponsors and their participants to invest in taking what they learn and putting it into practice in real, meaningful and visible ways. If you are going to do these seven steps, you must be prepared for what it will entail. These steps will take time, resources and a visible commitment from you.
So, here's your homework. First, think about what I just wrote. Are you prepared to take your team on this journey? Don't just say yes. Think about it. Second, if you're ready, share this article. Invite anyone you know that is in a similar position to join you on this journey. It's going to be a long, hard one. But road trips are always a lot more fun when we do them together!
About the Author
Charles Araujo is a recovering consultant and accidental author of the book, The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. He is an internationally recognized authority on IT Leadership and liberally shares his message of hope about the future of IT and what it means for all of us. He is the founder and CEO of the IT Transformation Institute and serves on the boards of itSMF USA and the Executive Next Practices Institute. You can follow him at @charlesaraujo.
To read his previous CIO Insight article, "In the Spirit of Service," click here.