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What are the Capabilities to Lead Ongoing IT Transformation?

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Simon Terry
MVP

Ongoing IT Organisational Transformation is part of everyday life for IT Pros. @Anna Chu has provided some great context on the changing models of IT in her post. The purpose of this thread is to share some ideas on how to best prepare for the changes and start a conversation where others can share their suggestions.  IT Transformation raises for us the challenge of what capabilities do IT Pros and leaders of IT Pros need to be most effective in this era?

 

Here are some thoughts from my perspective. I would love to hear yours:

 

Change is inevitable

 

Whatever the technology domain you are pursuing and whatever industry you work in, the last few years have been a dramatic demonstration of the forces changing IT. That means personally and organisationally we need to prepare ourselves for change.  

 

At an individual level, we need to move from expertise to continuous learning. We need to be thinking about changing career options and developing new skills. Importantly, we need to be ready to lead change of others, whether the business or others in our IT teams. At an organisational level, we need to move from functions to agile capabilities. We need to be preparing for new technologies, new ways of working and ongoing experimentation to find more effectiveness in the value of the work we deliver for the business.

 

Become a Strategic Business Partner - Change Agent

 

Dion Hinchcliffe and a range of other thought leaders in the US CIO space have been stressing the critical role of change agents in helping any IT organisation to manage ongoing digital transformation.  This is one reason why the business I help lead is called Change Agents Worldwide and focuses on supporting organisational change agents. 

 

The shift to a change agent and strategic business partner demands IT turn from its own expertise outwards to the needs and demands of users and the business. Seeing yourself as a business Change Agent demands some deeper expertise in key areas:

 

  • understanding of business strategy and goals
  • sharing perspectives on future transformation opportunities and demands.
  • ability to lead and influence change
  • ability to communicate complex technology choices in language the maximises the value of business decisions
  • focus on connecting IT change and capability to fulfil those goals
  • developing expertise in creating value through user adoption and change

 

One simple way to improve your strategy skills is to read Lafley and Martin's simple approach to strategy called Playing to Win: How strategy really works. The book is based on an adaptive cascade of 5 simple questions to help people frame their strategy and agree it with others.

 

Personal & Organisational Preparation

Agility, strategic leadership and change leadership all require the development of new individual and organisation skills. I have outlined some of these key skills in my 2017 Roadmap of key areas of work in my client base.  At a personal level, there is a focus on:

 

  • Personal Knowledge Mastery: to help with ability to make sense of the data and to share 
  • Working Out Loud: to improve transparency, engagement and collaboration
  • Adaptive Leadership: to move to leverage individual agency and new ways of leading agile teams through influence
  • Experimentation: to move beyond expertise and speed the cycle of decision making.

 

Organisational priorities include:

  • Open Management
  • Social Learning at Scale
  • Organisational structures and practices for networked teams
  • Agile innovation and change

 

I would love your thoughts on what else needs to be included.

 

IT Pros can no longer rely on expertise or a particular technology stack to provide security of employment or career opportunities. The best guarantee of ongoing exciting opportunities is to be leading the transformation as a business change agent with the ability to apply deep technology expertise 

 

4 Replies
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Scott Guthrie at MSAUIgnite on the need to keep learning: https://twitter.com/msautech/status/831366661521313792

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Here's something I've been working on for a while across the enterprise not just IT. 

 

https://medium.com/@LesleyCrook/21-agile-ways-to-lean-digital-transformation-into-your-company-3906b...

 

 

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Simon Terry wrote:

 

IT Pros can no longer rely on expertise or a particular technology stack to provide security of employment or career opportunities. The best guarantee of ongoing exciting opportunities is to be leading the transformation as a business change agent with the ability to apply deep technology expertise 

 


I feel that this last paragraph captures exactly what's at stake for IT Pros when it comes to org transformation.  It may have traditionally worked to rely on your certifications and technology expertise in the past but that no longer stands. 

 

I agree @Lesley Crook - Working Out Loud is certainly a good start to being more responsive to business needs, sharing out what you're working on so others can respond and react.  But what if WOL isn't part of the organization's culture?

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We work out loud in many ways and domains, not all of them create organisational culture conflict. IT Pros might join groups or networks external to the organisation to learn from others, to participate in projects with new technologies or to challenge their skills. IT Pros might set up peer mentoring groups either internally or externally to share their progress in learning new skills together. A Working Out Loud Circle can provide a framework for this development. Ultimately, successful IT organisations will work out loud across a wide range of domains and help others to do the same. A little role modelling and great Microsoft technology can drive significant change in the culture of collaboration in an organisation.
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