IT Management Slideshow: Lessons from Hollywood for Today's IT LeadersBy Dennis McCafferty | Posted 02-17-2011
What is unconventional success?
Unconventional success does not mean abandonment of sound business principals.
Even as you encourage unconventional thinking, you must constantly keep in mind market dynamics and risk factors (costs, deadlines).
Creative teamwork sessions cannot amount to aimless flights of fantasy.
Start with a strong foundation
Organizational goals must always form the foundation for your creative endeavors. Managers need to establish expectations for outside-the-box strategizing.
Know your history
To come up with a product or solution that differentiates, you must understand how the standard versions were created.
Whats unique now?
M*A*S*H was a smash hit because it depicted a conventional war setting while presenting then-unique irreverent, anti-authority satire.
Bigger isnt always better
An insatiable drive to be No. 1 often causes organizations to focus on factors other than quality. Remember: Slumdog Millionaire, a small, indie film, won an Oscar for Best Picture.
Surround yourself with those you trust
Much like big IT initiatives, Hollywood studios entrust directors and actors with millions of dollars in up-front investment to make a film or TV series. The lesson? Elevate the mutual trust factor with your employees, your vendors/partners and your CFO and CEO.
Ask questions and shut up
Are you initiating conversations with your teams just to validate your own pre-determined biases? Instead, ask open-ended questions about tasks, goals and progress. Listen without prejudice.
Know your customers
Much like big tech projects, film and TV shows once relied heavily on focus groups to predict success. Now, you have social media at your disposal. Use it to understand what your customers want and need.
No skin, no deal
Actors are, arguably, more energized when they have equity stake in a film or TV show. Likewise, a sense of ownership matters in tech, too. If your team members don't have a personal stake in results, they won't deliver.
Know the rules of your industry
Whether your code-of-conduct comes from Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, ECPA or the Motion Picture Association of America, you can't perform effectively unless you understand what's required of you and your teams.