I do so love our Technology Leadership in a Changing World Programme! We had the second session this week and our morning session, led by Dr John Kenworthy covered Understand your Business. This still is a challenging subject but progress was made when the participants moved from speaking about 'us and the business' to ' us'. It's so easy to see our business colleagues as from a different place.
We started with the discussion on the different types of business cultures and discussed our own businesses in that light. We looked at the changing roles and expectations of IT and the value that IT delivers to different parts of the organisation. The session is always conducted under Chatham House Rules, so I can't share some of the more juicy bits!
There are three takeaways that I can share though.
- The critical activity going forward is for IT to shift its role from commodity provider to trusted advisor, from a target to be outsourced to becoming involved in the development of the business strategy and therefore key to the organisation. We looked at some actions that we can take to make that happen. While this is often happening at the c-level, it is important to understand that all senior executives have a role in contributing to the business strategy.
- There are various ways to influence stakeholders. We discussed several of them. The area that was new to me was the chemistry of influence. I must say, it definitely appealed to the nerdy side of my nature!
- Probably the most immediately relevant is the way to hold more powerful meetings. That is not to be interpreted as more meetings. As we all run from meeting to meeting, we are really delivering less value than we can or should. We discussed ways to reduce the number of meetings we attend and make sure the ones we attend, and more importantly the ones we run deliver clear actions and benefits.
With the second of these sessions, the benefits of sharing experiences, led by a domain expert in a safe environment with the coaching and mentoring which we deliver between sessions was more obvious. If we are going to make a difference, we need to do more than attend a session. We need to inhale the experience, and make it an integral part of our DNA before we get absorbed back into the day to day madness that is most of our lives. Otherwise, there will be no change and we will continue to do the same thing with the same result.