Key Concepts of IT Success
What drives success for IT professionals? What differentiates first-rate IT teams from the rest of the pack?
As IT has moved from the basement to boardroom and the importance of information technology has soared, this question has taken center stage in the IT world.
The answer, as reported by dozens of research studies and CIO interviews, is painfully obvious. It’s the strength of the stakeholder relationship that has the greatest impact on overall IT success.
Here’s the problem: Stakeholder relationship management and engagement is the weakest and least developed competency of technically-oriented IT professionals and teams. And that’s exactly why it is at the core of our approach and methodology.
We approach IT professional success deeply mindful of this truth.
We have built an entire methodology from 25+ years of experience that is directly focused on improving stakeholder relationships and engagement thereby improving the success of IT professionals and teams.
Over a period of 8 years we created a tool to measure the stakeholder relationship.
This stakeholder relationship tool (we call it MeasureIT) moves your stakeholder relationships out of the fluffy qualitative realm, and into the realm of hard, data-driven standards and benchmarks.
When you perform MeasureIT, you receive a comprehensive stakeholder-based perspective and hard data score on the entire IT operation’s performance.
By completing MeasureIT year-over-year, these scores show the impact of your actions on your stakeholder relationships.
Much like a “credit score,” the IT stakeholder score can go up or down based on how well the IT group performs and manages the stakeholder relationship.
- The higher the IT group’s “credit score” with stakeholders, the more influence and success the IT group enjoys.
- The lower the “credit score”, the harder it will be to ask your stakeholders for even the simplest and smallest of requests.
The remaining elements of our key concepts present our unique method for improving MeasureIT scores by addressing both the science AND the art of IT management with a particular eye to the stakeholder relationship.
Stakeholder engagement is not built on social connections, it’s rooted in the critical content that shapes the interaction with stakeholders.
We believe that there are nine areas of content that form the essential building blocks of IT management excellence.
These building blocks can be thought of as the critical deliverables that every successful IT group must have in place to operate effectively and to succeed with stakeholders.
Each and every one of these building blocks fills a critical requirement for professional IT management while at the same time providing essential content to drive the relationship with stakeholders.
The Nine Essential Building Blocks of IT Performance Excellence
- Stakeholder Benchmark
- IT Vision and Strategy
- Strategic Information Systems Plan (SISP)
- IT Organization Model
- IT Operating Model
- Annual Operating Plan
- Performance Scorecard
- Internal and External Communications Program
- IT Leadership Development Program
These building blocks are not only for use with stakeholders. In fact, they serve many critical purposes within the IT group itself. But they are essential for success with stakeholders.
At times IT teams believe they have all of these building blocks in place. This is sometimes the case. But as a general rule, we find that the standard approach to items like the IT strategy and measurements often fall far short of what stakeholders need to generate deep confidence in IT.
Each of the building block deliverables above has a special management purpose. We hope you will give us an opportunity to share with you our unique take on each of these items and how they drive IT success with stakeholders.
The “hard” content deliverables set out in principle #3 above are just the beginning. The next part of stakeholder relationship excellence can be found in the in the “softer” Attitudes, Behaviors and Communications, required of IT professionals, leaders and organizations as a whole. (We are often told this is the really tough stuff.)
The fact is that many IT professionals (and IT organizations) have little awareness of the unspoken “relationship rules of the game” for succeeding with stakeholders.
Our research and experience indicates that it’s helpful to understand this game as a set of attitudes, behaviors and communications vis-a-vis stakeholders.
Some of these A,B,Cs are global in nature. In other words they are apply as a sort of general rule when thinking about or working directly with stakeholders. For example: The language you use, such as referring to your business peers as “stakeholders” and not “customers.”
Other ABCs apply primarily in a certain context. For example: When building support for a project approval. You will have to Be Skeptical (an Attitude), perform Nemawashi (a behavior), and utilize the Madison Avenue Sales Method (a style of communication).
Our ABCs methodically break down and identify the critical leverage points in the IT/stakeholder relationship and respond to those points with very specific tools and instruments.
To help IT pros and teams get the hang of these ABCs we have packaged them into a set of Stakeholder Relationship Toolkits—templates and guidelines specifically designed to help IT through each of the critical contexts in which they typically work.
For IT performance scores to shift significantly, stakeholders need to experience a shift from IT at multiple levels.
From the ground up, stakeholder experiences with IT have to shift and they have to shift in a consistent way.
That’s why our performance improvement programs work on three levels:
- Level I – Tools and Methods for Delivering Visionary Leadership
- Level II – Methods and Models for Driving an Ongoing IT Engagement Process Backed up with Concrete Deliverables
- Level III – Professional Development Programs and Practical Tools to Shift the ABCs at the Individual and Team Level
IT pros and managers need a practical way to understand, and put to work, the ideas and methods that drive improved stakeholder relationships.
The 11 Secrets of Highly Influential IT Leaders offers a road map to follow that pulls it all together and allows IT professionals and mangers to get started on this journey without requiring a custom consulting engagement.
Our book lays out a three part journey
- Part 1 – Influence Begins with Credibility
Walks you through the key activities and behaviors you need to set in place a foundation of credibility—the basis for influence.
- Part 2 – The Essentials of Influential Communications
Reveals how to quickly improve your standing and influence with your stakeholders by addressing the biggest challenge faced by most of IT—communications.
- Part 3 – Game Time
Teaches the specific tactics you need to succeed in critical situations and contexts in IT where you, the IT leader, have the opportunity to shine.
All of our research, methods, tools and templates are geared with a specific purpose in mind: To help you, the individual IT professional, manager, or CIO, do better.
That means: to help you, as an individual and as a team member, command more respect, more influence, and ultimately greater compensation due to the increased stakeholder value you are providing.
Our focus on improved IT performance isn’t about making IT better for its own sake or purely for the sake of the organization of which IT is a part.
We are motivated by the idea that our work increases the value of what YOU provide so you can enjoy a more fulfilling and rewarding career.
Tell us your biggest challenge in your stakeholder relationships.