CIO.com published an article called “7 Lies IT Leaders should never tell” and I have thoughts. Many thoughts…
Overall, the author (John Edwards) has written a good article that covers some good points. Worth the read by IT leaders. Bonus of some tasty quotes from IT leaders.
#1: “IT always knows what’s best for business” Yup, this is not, never has been, and never will be true. But I think it is possible to reach the “IT often knows” stage as long as you do three simple things: ask, listen, and verify. Continually verifying your understanding will help prevent your knowledge from going stale. Business moves fast and because we are busy with keeping up in our own space, we may hold on to some no-longer-true information. Regular meetings with business leaders will keep your finger on the pulse of the organization.
#2 “Everybody is replaceable” The title here is actually true, not a lie. Everyone leaves their job at some point either for a different job, retirement, or death. However, the main point in the words behind this title are excellent and would have been better titled “Don’t Be A Jerk”. An important reason for this is that, when people leave, there is a cost. We are all familiar with the technical, organizational, and process knowledge that walks out the door when someone leaves. There is also the loss of understanding of why things were done. Why is there an exception for Wednesdays in this code? Absent knowing why, we keep it in, even if it is no longer valid. Or yank it and screw up some customers because there was a good why for it. Employee retention matters for IT, perhaps more than other departments (although I’ll deny typing that if the finance leader asks me about it).
#5 “The hybrid work model is just another fad” (don’t worry, I’ll come back to #3 and #4) Everything is a fad. Every technology, process, model, etc. Fad implies a very short time horizon, but that doesn’t mean that things that aren’t a fad stick around. Sure, some things last longer than others (faxes anyone?), but for internal business activities, even short-lived ones need attention. Even if hybrid goes away in a few years, companies still MUST invest in supporting it today.
#6 “I’m always available” Oh my, I hope not. Family, self-care, and urgent bathroom breaks are all higher priority than the vast majority of communications and tasks that come to you. If you are managing your time correctly, you are checking email a few times a day, not constantly (and especially not in the bathroom). As an IT leader, you need to block off time on your calendar to sink deep into a problem or strategy. Give your team skills and the freedom to deal with emergencies so they don’t require you before taking step one. And make damn sure that your employees don’t have to get permission from you before heading home to take care of a family emergency—a quick text informing you is always sufficient.
Ok, I told you I would get back to #3 and #4 and since #7 gets the same response, here we go (click to the article see the ones I am referring to). Who actually says things like these? Really, who says this? Words like “failure-proof”, “impervious”, and “total” will only get you in trouble. Stating them as goals is great. Never use them when describing the current, or even a future, state.
The title of the article was well click-baited, but the article has some good points. (Yes, I just verbed that but since you know exactly what I am talking about, I communicated it successfully. Smile.)