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Showing posts from February, 2009

Evolution and Journey of Becoming a Great Leader

Forward There is a significant difference between management and leadership. People follow managers because they have to. People follow leaders because they want to. Leadership is demonstrated through numerous behaviors. I will cover in detail the behaviors that I believe are typically shown by the majority of strong leaders. Leaders naturally exhibit many of these behaviors but can also learn certain behaviors. This article will take a different approach than the other "leadership" articles. It takes a no-nonsense approach to leadership by looking at the top traits of a strong leader. Somewhat terse but to the point, it is designed for people who want to understand the difference between managing and leading. It is also designed for seasoned leaders who want a refresher on key leadership qualities. Enjoy reading! Chapter 1 – Courage at All Costs “Courage is the management of fear, not the absence of it”. -- Rudy Giuliani When you think about the leaders tha

IT's All About Business Partnership

August 15th, 2007 (originally published) Yes, I did purposely capitalize IT - meaning Information Technology. Many articles and books discuss the importance of IT acting as a strategic partner with their business counterparts but few give specific examples or best-practices to build a solid partnership. The following will provide real-life examples to transform your IT organization into the partner that you want it to become. Although not every example will be relevant or applicable to all IT organizations, the intent is to provide some new ideas and provoke some thought around creative approaches to common partnership challenges. It is readily apparent that there are a common set of IT challenges with which all IT organizations struggle. The degree to which each IT organization struggles with these challenges varies greatly. This article is appropriate for IT professionals who want to increase their partnership with their business counterparts. It is also geared towards business pro

The Changing Role of IT

August 15th, 2007 (originally published) The Changing Role of IT The role of IT has been changing dramatically over the past 5 years. Economic trends in the early 2000s have lead to scrutiny of CapEx spending which correlates to IT spending. CapEx in most cases has been dramatically reduced in an effort to manage costs. Offshoring and layoffs have also been common in IT. These changes force new requirements on IT and the business, specifically ensuring that IT is working on the top priority projects. In most companies there are too many IT requests and too few people to handle those requests. The ideal IT organization is one that is strategically aligned with the business and increases the business’ competitive advantage – one that can think like the business, talk like the business and add value during the strategic business planning process. The ideal IT organization exists to be a strong business partner through a deep understanding of the business’ goals, objectives and processe

First 100 Days with a New IT Team

August 15th, 2007 (originally published) Becoming a new IT manager, director, VP or CIO can be a daunting proposition. In some cases your career aspirations may lie in IT and in other cases you may be thrust into an IT role after being asked to lead the IT team. You may have limited technical experience or deep technical experience, extensive or limited business acumen. You may have been in IT for years but want to take a more strategic approach. Current State It is critical to understand the current state of affairs in IT in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the IT group. You will want to ensure that any changes you make do not jeopardize or undermine the strengths of the IT group. The identified weaknesses need to be analyzed, understood and a remediation plan will need to be created and implemented. The current state of affairs includes an analysis of people, process, systems and strategy. The appropriate questions for each category include the following: Peop

Virtual Worlds Worth a Real Look

September 11th, 2007 (orginally published) Second Life and Gaia - both examples of virtual worlds. Skeptics see these virtual worlds as places where losers and introverts go in a feeble attempt to make new friends, no thanks to their pathetic social skills. But there is so much more to these virtual worlds that becomes obvious when you take the time to do some analysis and research. First, these worlds will eventually overtake the Web as people’s first choice for search, learning, commerce and collaboration. Welcome to the killer app which we have all been waiting for. Virtual worlds allow us to explore and interact in a way that far exceeds anything that a dynamic web page can provide. The 3d experience, the ability to use an avatar to represent yourself, the interaction with others - all make the experience much richer than the WWW. What specifically will change? Commerce will have a completely different flavor in these virtual worlds. The ability to shop in a way that is much mo

When different is not differentiating...

November 8th, 2007 (orginally published) Every company relies on a series of business processes to run their business. Manufacturing has business processes, sales has business processes, marketing has business processes, customer service has business processes, etc. These business processes, which some people refer to as workflow, can be automated or manual. Businesses strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors and often use their business processes as differentiating factors. An example might be the business process for segmenting customers to allow a business to treat their ‘best’ customers with greater attention than the less valuable customers. Consistency of an automated business process has a direct impact on an IT organization. For example, if a company has five different ways to order a product or service, then it is likely that there are five IT solutions that also exist - which also means that IT has five different applications to manage, maintain, support,

The End of Solitude - Response to William Deresiewicz

I recently read an article by William Deresiewicz titled “ The End of Solitude ”. What prompted me to read the article was an interview with Mr. Deresiewicz that I heard on NPR. During the NPR interview, Mr. Deresiewicz delved into the importance of solitude, being alone and time for self-reflection. Of course, you are naturally drawn to premises that are similar to your own so I listened intently as he contrasted the present with the past regarding the lack of “alone” time that we all face today. Mr. Deresiewicz’s literary knowledge is beyond impressive – he’s an academic and is able to compare and contrast numerous thought-leaders of the past and their views of the value of solitude. In “The End of Solitude” he highlights the importance of solitude that numerous philosophers and famous authors have written about for many, many years. My personal appreciation for Thoreau’s writing, specifically Walden and more specifically “Solitude” and “Economy” immediately came to mind as I read