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Category: Personal Development - CIO to CEO--Get Value from IT

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Category: Personal Development

08/19/10

Permalink 10:30:24 pm, Categories: Personal Development

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be a guest panelist in a class titled "Solutions Oriented Leadership" taught by my colleague Cheri Baker. Cheri asked me to join the panel with two other leaders. The class was small (about 8 people) which provided a great forum. The students were prepared with a list of 18 questions and we tackled about half of them. One of the questions revolved around "Who is your most important mentor and why?" and the answers were memorable.

Each of the panelists talked about various people who have mentored them through the years, but one common theme emerged--a mentor is someone who not only sets a good example, but can also provide you with a different point of view that may not always be easy to hear. Mentors are people who can help you improve yourself--not by taking action for you, but rather by helping you understand the action you must take.

Everyone should have mentors--they may be formal relationships (such as an executive coach), colleagues, or friends or family. Regardless of the relationship, a mentor must be someone you can be honest with and someone who can be honest with you.

Take a moment to think about the mentors in your life and how they have helped you. And if you don't have a good network of mentors, consider adding a new mentor in the next week. You probably already know someone who would be a great fit!


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07/24/10

When your organization hires a new person, what do you look for? What are the things that are important to your company? One common attribute that many companies look for is clearly defined career growth in the individual. Depending on the type of position, this growth may be indicated by promotions or, for more skill-based or technical positions, growth in the knowledge of more complex systems, procesess, or techniques. Regardless of the type of growth, the important factor for many companies is to see growth.

So what happens with your own employees? Do you provide growth opportunities within your company? Are you committing company resources to making learning opportunities available? How do you respond to employees who have "outgrown" the company (i.e. they are ready for the next level, but the company is not yet able to provide that growth, as in the case of someone being ready for a management position but a management position is not yet available)? Good companies understand that sometimes people grow faster than the organization and when the time comes for the employee to move on in order to continue growing, the company wishes them well and maintains connections with them (because these employees often end up coming back when an opportunity is available).

Do your functional areas have line items in the budget for continuing training? Does training get "cut" first when times are tough? Are employees encouraged to learn new things and put them to use?

Great companies grow great people--and retain many of them but accept that some will go on to other companies (where they will hopefully help develop more great people). Keep this in mind as you look at taking your company to the next level. People make the company and the company makes the people. It should be a win-win situation.

NOTE: I will be taking a short (2-3 week) break from the blog, but will return in late August. Until then, feel free to check out some of the entries in the archive. --Don


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03/30/10

How often are you faced with a decision where you really want a third-party or neutral point of view, but from someone you trust? That is where your personal "Board" comes into play.

Over the years, I have developed a group of people whom I respect, trust, and admire that I can turn to and bounce ideas off of in a safe and confidential manner. I call this my Board of Advisors--and they are invaluable to me. The group is diverse, consisting of people from many different industries, backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. When I take an idea to them for feedback, I usually get very different thoughts from each, but often a common theme emerges. This type of feedback can be invaluable as I make decisions.

As a CEO, if you are faced with approving IT expenditures or programs and you are not a technology person, you may find having a personal "IT Board of Advisors" to be helpful. The group doesn't have to be large, but even having one or two people who are knowledgeable in the IT area and who you trust can be extremely helpful. If you haven't developed this group already, I encourage you to do so.

As a CIO, if you are preparing to present IT programs to your CEO or the Board, having a personal Board to bounce ideas off of can also bring great value. Ideally, this group will be business focused, but also have a technology background. They can help you refine your message so that it resonates with your audience.

Devote some time to developing, nurturing, and cultivating your personal Board. The effort is well worth it.


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Don shares his experience and ideas about how to get the most value from your IT function. Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of Don and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of his clients or employers.

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