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Dear CEO: IT Innovation Depends on You

By Marc J. Schiller  |  Posted 10-18-2011 Print
Last week, in “An Open Letter to the CEO: What IT Really Needs,” we outlined the three big steps your CEO can take to improve IT performance and ROI. We received such a strong response to the article--and so many requests to learn about the two more advanced methods we alluded to--that we’re back with Part II. Now we move up to the next level: The actions that the CEO can take to not only make IT more effective, but to energize the IT group and unleash its natural tendencies to innovate.

Dear Mr./Ms. CEO,

I'm glad you were open to the ideas in my previous letter  Since you expressed an interest in the additional methods for supporting the IT team, I am following up with the last two points. But be prepared. These aren't quick to-do items you can add to a list. They are big and important changes--ones with real transformative power.

About our motivations, mine and yours

In my first letter, I recommended that you implement my suggestions in order to dramatically improve the efficiency and efficacy of your IT group.

As we move into these more advanced practices, it's worthwhile to note that their impact goes way beyond improving the efficiency and efficacy of IT. These practices are like catalysts to starting an innovation chain reaction--the Holy Grail of every CEO for their IT group.

The principles I am about to share with you will generate tremendous energy, enthusiasm and contribution from the IT team. Moreover, when practiced correctly, they will benefit not only the IT team but your entire company.

Picking up from where we left off, here are two steps you can take to energize your company's IT group:

Number 1 - Show a little love, appreciation and respect. Here's the problem: Whether you realize it or not, your IT group does not feel appreciated and respected. You may think you tell them they do a good job, but that message is not getting through. In fact, exactly the opposite is occurring: IT feels alienated from the rest of the business.

In one survey after another, IT managers speak of being unappreciated. They do not feel that their personal work is respected and they do not feel that their department is valued. And while it may be easy to "blame" the IT group for the situation, it's up to you, as the leader of the company, to fix it. 

So, here's what can you do:


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