Thursday, March 17, 2016

CIOs as Talent Masters

Re-magine IT and reinvent IT management starts with people management.

People are always the most invaluable asset to any organization, and having the right person in the right position at the right time is always one of the biggest challenges facing any business anywhere. This is particularly true for IT, due to the changing nature & complexity of technology and the abundance of information. Is IT skills gap fact or fiction? What differentiates high performance or high potential talented IT professionals from others? And how to manage IT talent, culture, and performance in a more cohesive way?

IT leaders need to do self-reflection first: CIOs as IT leaders need to craft a long-term talent strategy for managing talent lifecycle effectively. One of the skill gaps is the lack of digital mindset and recombinant capabilities in CIOs themselves. Sometimes they too much focus on fixing the symptom, without digging through the root cause of IT skills gap, hiring only for immediate need, not paying enough attention to the business’s long-term perspective. Often times they look narrowly at specific problems and projects developed to solve those business problems, partly because that is the way funding is allocated, rather than having a broad view of their enterprise and the longer term strategy for the organization. Often times projects are not cohesive and create more problems when done independent of the enterprise than they solve. They fail to keep up on standards within their domain that can lead to the holistic enterprise viewpoint, and execution of IT strategies that fit within that enterprise viewpoint.

Improving employee engagement and satisfaction is another challenging facing IT leaders today: The good IT leader has to be prepared to constantly realign technology against the enterprise's business needs. With emergent digital trend and agile philosophy & practices, he/she has to orient the IT organization for constant realignment, and therefore, has to communicate vision with credibility and passion, motivating business stakeholders and the IT team to collaborate effectively in everybody's success. If engagement is low, the team corner of the triangle (quality, process, and holism) is off balance, which can be reflected from the IT management. Organizations would benefit from creating a culture where employees feel safe in expressing themselves without reprisal, then listening to their internal partners before implementing change initiatives. The studies show that the majority of people are not engaged in their jobs because their talent is not being utilized; though every employee has individual reasons for not being engaged that is rarely revealed by engagement and exit studies. If you have someone in a role where their natural strengths and talents are being recognized and utilized, they will be engaged. To build a learning agile IT organizations, IT leaders need to check up:
-The social/digital business with organizational structure becoming flat and agile?
-The learning organization defined at Fifth Discipline?
-The self-managed organization following Agile principle?

Continuous Performance Management: There is a need to evaluate the performance of employees in more objective and continuous way. There is a danger of not having a process to "develop and nurture" performance, bias and favoritism are common in the workplace. Waiting until once per year or even every six months to evaluate workers is also not enough to know key performance nor should it be. There is more to an employee's performance than metrics on an assessment form or survey. Performance assessment is a combination of many factors and shouldn't be quantified so easily. IT talent managers need to continuously check: Do managers add value to the employee's professional or personal goals, and objectives as well as the other way around? Such that both employer and employee are following through on stated commitments to each other. Due to the complexity of IT, both "ends" and "means" must be balanced. "Thinking performance" and "doing performance," behavior and outcome are all important elements in performance assessment. Should employee performance assessment be based on behavior or outcome? Behavior and outcome are not, or should not be mutually exclusive, you need both and they need to be aligned. That's why a good manager is a very valuable asset. At today’s knowledge, technology, and innovation economy, thinking performance is as important, or, even more, important than just doing. The assumption is that key behaviors emphasized are the right ones to enable the right outcomes. IT leaders and talent managers also need to ask the fundamental questions such as, how do you define talent? How do you measure talent? And how do you put the right people in the right position to unleash both individuals and the business’s potential, etc.

With increasing speed and hyper-connectivity of digital businesses, talent management systems and processes are also gradually moving away from a static, unidirectional, and time-bound avatar to a more dynamic, continuous, and interactive state. Improved transparency, goal tracking, real-time feedback, and enterprise-wide acknowledgment/recognition of achievements are some of the key drivers, which result in the adoption of digital talent pipeline and social performance management systems. Reimagine IT and reinvent IT management starts with people management, IT leaders need to manage the most invaluable business asset - people more effortless and innovatively.


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