Saturday, January 30, 2010

Stop thinking like a CIO

Maybe I should have better said "Think like a consultant...or Think like your boss". In any case, too often CIO's, myself included, don't do enough to get outside our roles and consider our particular business and business in general from another perspective. It matters not whether you're in a profit-making endeavor or a not-for-profit, it's important to spend time thinking about your enterprise differently if you're going to provide the sort of game-changing leadership needed.

I love to read. Everything from Sports Illustrated to aviation magazines to Runners World to fiction. I try to always have a big stack of books waiting for me. My rule is to alternate fiction with non-fiction; switching from "play" to "work" to stay fresh.

The last quarter of the year I read a series of books by my friend and colleague, Faisal Hoque, founder of BTM Corporation. Faisal's been advocating for a different, structured approach to managing business technology for years. One of the key takeaways was the need to move from striving to align the IT and business strategies (as if they were somehow separate) to fully integrated business technology management. BTM have built the frameworks and applications to help organizations dramatically improve the return on their invested business technology capital. Great stuff and for starters I'd highly recommend his book "Winning the Three-legged Race".

I just recently finished an excellent book which may not be on the typical CIO or CTO reading list but should be. Entitled "The Breakthrough Imperative" by Gottfredson & Schaubert, it's an excellent look at how the consultants at Bain & Company analyze a business to determine opportunities for improving performance. As the business technology leader for your organization, some part of each week should be consumed in doing the same thing. Think like a consultant. As technology leaders, we have an advantage over nearly anyone else in the organization (or the consultants on the outside for that matter)- we are trained to think holistically, in systems and their interconnection. Analyze your business, fold that into your technology investment discussions with your peers in the rest of the business and see what a difference there is in the conversation.

Read any good books lately??

By the way, our website is Clear IT Leadership. I'll be migrating this blog to our new site soon.


Jeff said...

You might find Peter Hinnsen's new book "Business/IT Fusion: How to move beyond Alignment to transform IT in you organiation" an interesting read. It's a touch rough in theory but paints an interesting if not compelling case for a radical change in IT structure.

Jeff Davis (Grumman Tiger N28760)

Patrick Flynn said...

Hi Jeff. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll look it up. And good to hear from you. Hope all is well and you're getting in lots of flight time!

Brian Joyner said...

Hi Jeff-

I could not agree more about how IT Leadership is transitioning. The days of "Nick, your company's guy" are over. The IT world is totally about business/technology integration now days.

I have recently started reading a blog started by the NCSU School of Management and it's got some articles you might want to look at. They preach a world of technology/business cross functionality and it's got me hooked... it's a promising concept.