IT professionals need to rapidly learn a set of new skills to compete as the IT industry transitions to its new quantum era.
The most abstract of the five skills of the IT professional is leadership. What is leadership? Let’s start with what it is not. It is not managing people. While we all hope that our manager is also a leader to us, simply managing people does not make you a leader. Nor does the fact that you manage no one mean that is impossible for you to be a leader. In fact, some of the most impactful leaders in the world have been those who led when no one was compelled to follow.
In fact, that may be the very best definition of leadership you can use. Leadership is inspiring others to act because they believe in your vision. If you look carefully, you will see that the building blocks of leadership are sprinkled throughout the other four skills. To lead, you must have a vision--a goal, an end state in mind. You cannot lead if you have no destination. You then must be able to inspire others to act on that vision. That requires communication, empathy skills and, yes, a bit of marketing.
But should everyone in IT become a leader? Does everyone in IT need leadership skills? Absolutely, positively, 100%, yes. If you think through the five organizational traits and think what it will take to realize them within your organization, you will quickly see that it will take countless acts of leadership at all levels of the organization to make them a reality. Leadership is about seeing a future that is better than it is today and leading the charge to realize it. It is the raw essence of the Quantum Age.
Thriving in the Quantum Age
The Quantum Age is upon us and for IT professionals it means that a lot is about to change. In the very near future, our organizations will look very different than they do today. The skills that we will need to compete and thrive are not the skills that we have been learning, honing and refining for all of these years. These new traits and skills may make us feel uncomfortable and lost for a time, but the Quantum Age is not an end, it is a beginning.
While change is always uncomfortable, this is a time of great hope and great opportunity for those IT professionals who are willing to grasp it. The impact of technology on business and on every aspect of our lives is going to grow exponentially. And while some elements of IT will become commoditized, there will be a vast need for those who can bridge the ever widening gap between the complexity of the technology and the value to be realized from harnessing it.
The greatest innovations are still yet to come. The full realization of IT’s promise is about to come to fruition. It is an amazing time to be an IT professional--as long as you are willing to learn the skills you need to enter the Quantum Age.
About the Author
Charles Araujo is the founder and CEO of The IT Transformation Institute, which is dedicated to helping IT leaders transform their teams into customer-focused, value-driven learning organizations. He is the author of the book The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change, is presently at work on two new books. Araujo is also the creator of DeepRoots, an organizational change methodology designed for IT teams. He frequently speaks and writes on a wide range of subjects related to his vision of the future of IT.
This article was originally published on 01-22-2013