As a senior IT leader, you like to focus on the technology that will deliver the most impact. However, if your board doesn’t take these initiatives seriously you can be left scratching your head and wondering why. Nigel Stott shares with us his four steps to achieving respect and influence with the board.
Most boards have a real understanding of how integral technology is to the business. The problem is that it doesn’t matter how much ROI the latest or greatest application will bring if the core IT basics aren’t right. If the IT team are struggling just to keep the lights on then it doesn’t bode well for investment in future projects.
IT leaders need to focus on a hierarchy of deliverables in order to gain board respect.
At the starting level, there is service delivery. This is the basic ‘license to exist’ for any IT Director and is about the operational needs of the business. Does your service desk team provide a robust, pre-emptive experience? Do they make themselves visible within the business? Are your team keeping the systems running and downtime to a minimum? If not, the IT function will have a reputation that bars it from any strategic input. To shine in this area you’ll want to recruit A-team players even at the 1st line support level. Go out of your way to show an interest in your team as people and take a keen interest in their careers. Motivate your team to provide that first class service the business yearns for.
Next comes the project delivery level. Delivering projects is all about responding to business requirements. If done properly you are putting in place systems and procedures essential to business growth. Projects that are managed on time and to budget will gain the IT team further credibility and start to give them a ‘business voice’. This is the where the IT team has a ‘license to thrive’. Ensure that details are considered during project delivery and that you manage the change aspects through a collaborative approach with the business.
Contribute to Business Thinking
Having gained the trust of the business at the previous two levels you will now have gained enough confidence to ‘contribute to business thinking’. At this stage, you will be using your commercial acumen to speak with colleagues in a business context. It’s important here to be bold and not necessarily wait to be asked your opinion. Building internal networks provides a great opportunity to spread your influence further. Be passionate about what you do and get yourself noticed.
Right at the top, we have the ‘transformation’ element. Here you have earned the ‘license to decide’. You will be part of that inner circle that shapes the future of the business. In this environment you will understand the sector you work in, the latest technology trends and how the two need to merge.
All of this is based on the premise that you have the operational side of IT ticking like clockwork, you do what you say you’re going to do and you have a strong peer network.
Without these you’ll never be heard despite how much you believe what you say to be true.
To contact Nigel, visit his website or connect with him on LinkedIn:
spenceremmett.co.uk and www.linkedin.com/in/nigelstott