Global warming and your IT career – Part II
Global warming and your IT career – Part II
Is climate change likely to shrink the iceberg on which you have based your career?
In Part I, I discussed the following themes…
- Recognising changes in the business environment, before it impacts your career
- Transactional skills vs. Transformational skills: What’s your mix?
- Generating influence: Can you promote an idea to non IT stakeholders?
In Part II we explore this theme further.
Experienced CIOs would be familiar with what I’m about to say, but for those who are in the earlier stages of your IT management careers, I thought these ‘though starters’ may be useful .
What’s got you this far may not work for you in the future…. or will it?
Repeated past behaviours that have historically worked for you, are the reason you are where you are today.
Your career has progressed steadily over the last few years, you’ve done some fantastic work, delivered value to your organisation, and life’s not too bad. Will this continue in the long term?
Just repeating these behaviours are no guarantee of future success. The rate of change for those in, or associated with the IT industry is unprecedented when compared to other professions. Industry analysts have a hard enough time in predicting the future with certainty, what chance do you have?
Well, if you are able to equip yourself with the necessary skills and experiences that improve your adaptability, resilience and hence marketability, this will be an effective insurance policy against being the victim of change.
- Do you see ‘visibility’ as a good thing? I have previously discussed the importance of letting others know of your existence. Be responsible for your own marketing. Some career IT professionals are uncomfortable about displaying their own strengths in a positive way. In this context, the word ‘marketing’ merely means an expression of consistent quality and value. This ability is not innate to some individuals.
- Adaptability and ‘having valued and well considered options’ are crucial to your continued success in your career of your choice, not someone else’s.
- Will working hard and achieving results automatically result in the sort of recognition that you need or want? Many IT folks are somewhat reluctant to trumpet their successes – most others in organisations do this – (especially sales folks) – why not you?
Seek objective, trusted opinions to help steer you towards an outcome that you want.
Anybody with a mother-in-law will tell you that opinions are often freely offered. (Only joking in my case, of course!). The challenge in terms of your career being who, how and where to find truly independent, objective and trusted opinions on issues that are relevant to you? Here is a suggestion:
- Seek out a truly independent person who has preceded you in your chosen or targeted area of expertise.
If they haven’t, then it’s all theory – just like someone sitting in the lodge describing how you can climb the mountain having never done it themselves. Most experienced managers would be glad to offer comments, observations or assistance, however time limitations (or conflicts of interests) are sometimes the limiting factors in this approach.
Soft skills for soft people?
Modern thriving and vibrant organisations require confident, competent, high performing career professionals and managers in their core service support functions.
Imagine for a moment your working environment where people still ‘did their job’, however also demonstrated effective skills in areas such as being able to:
- See both their jobs and their own contribution from other’s perspectives
- Professionally handle objections from senior or influential non-IT stakeholders
- Demonstrate confidence, resilience and capacity to thrive in stressful situations
- Effectively handle ambiguous or uncertain environments
- Work more collaboratively with stakeholders outside their own area of expertise, that may have challenging personalities
- Communicate more effectively in a range of unfamiliar situations; as well as
- Communicate complexity effectively, to non-IT stakeholders
This not only contributes to a positive working culture, but also is key to the elimination of wasted effort.
Technical proficiency vs. proficiency in dealing with people: Developing influence
Technical specialists will be increasingly expected to interact with others outside of their immediate team, driven in part by the organisation’s desire to transform their key IT staff from inward to outward looking.
Influence is all about being able to deliver positive change to not only those you come into contact with, but also across your organisation, without you needing to do a great deal of work. Influence is not just about having good ideas, or delivering technical expertise.
- Influence is a bit like gravity… you know its effects but you’re not always able to precisely what causes it. What will you do to increase your influence?
Individuals that work at the intersection of different teams, departments and functions can have a positive multiplier effect through the organisation, and have the greatest opportunity to garner personal influence as they have to deal with others across multiple disciplines and types of roles.
Successful, thriving organisations have an abundance of people with well developed and effective interpersonal skills.
Until next time!
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