Getting IT Together: 2016 is the Year of the Tech Leader!

M. Nora Klaver Posted by M. Nora Klaver, Executive Coach, Bouchard Executive Coaching Ltd..

Nora is an accomplished executive coach with 25 years of experience developing corporate leaders. She is the author of Mayday! Asking For Help In Times of Need.

Getting IT Together: 2016 is the Year of the Tech Leader!

Having observed the technology industry for fifteen years now, I’ve seen subtle changes occur over that time. (Oh! I just flashed an image of me floating gracefully above the technology industry watching, just watching. Seriously. There’s been a lot to see and I’ve been privileged to view it from the perspectives of the engineers and leaders I’ve coached.)

Back to the topic at hand: changes in the tech industry. I’m not talking obvious shifts like moving from main frames to servers, or desk tops to laptops — though those improvements have been wonderful. And I’m not talking about how technology has become so common place the average 3 year old has her own tablet. I’m talking about a shift in perception and attitude within business toward technology and the people who live there, and as important, the mind shift within technologists themselves.

In 2005, I began coaching at an organization whose technology department had grown to 500 souls over a period of three years. Now, for some organizations, that might not sound like much, but considering this company only had 1100 employees, this was a big deal. Yet, these 500 engineers had very little say in critical decisions or organizational direction. Oh yes, there was a CIO and a CTO, but their peers weren’t listening to either of them. I never learned why, but I suspect they couldn’t garner an audience because 1) the Board of Directors didn’t understand technology in the first place, 2) the CIO and CTO were incapable of conveying the value of IT, or 3) the CIO and CTO themselves didn’t perceive how essential their influence could be.

Back then, tech departments were perceived as a cost-centers, as shared-services; and they were treated as such. IT was often excluded from high level strategy meetings, their budgets were regularly poached, and they were the last to know about many key decisions.

Neglecting IT and refusing to listen to them comes at a cost, and some organizations have paid that price big time. We are talking you Motorola and Sears and Borders. Had these companies capitalized on the insights of their IT departments, they might be industry leaders now.

Thankfully, few in IT are willing to play that game anymore. Remember Apple’s famous Revolution ad from 1984? Now instead of an athlete with a hammer, imagine an engineer with a keyboard. It’s that kind of revolution!  (Here’s the original ad for those who don’t remember or who were born in 1985! Apple Revolution 1984)

The CIO/CTO of today is crystal clear on their value-add. Tech teams possess unique talents and strengths, and they deserve respect. No longer drones, engineers are encouraged to use their atypical thought process to continuously improve. It’s that diverse (dare I say disruptive?) thinking that today’s companies desperately need to sustain success.

What a profound shift! Engineers and their leaders finally get IT!

To celebrate this new reality, I am releasing a series of posts that not only explores this new paradigm, but also offers up suggestions to make it easier for all of us – me included! I’ll examine:

  • Antiquated leadership behaviors and mindsets that still might be holding your IT department back
  • How your strengths may be overplayed
  • The critical importance of growing leaders who understand both IT and the business.
  • The real realities of being a leader of other people like yourself
  • The value of looking up from the keyboard and seeing what’s in front of you
  • To get started celebrating 2016 with me, check out my recent blog that came out over the holidays.  This post supplements and supports this conversation about the soon-to-be unbridled influence of technology.

If you are ready, and you believe in yourself and that what you do is important, be sure to join me for 2016, the Year of the IT Leader!


M. Nora Bouchard, MA is a seasoned and deeply experienced executive coach. Over the last 20 years, Nora has guided CIOs, leaders of IT teams, as well as others who wrangle code, DBAs, data center operators and network administrators. She appreciates the analytical mindset and is profoundly familiar with its light and dark sides. Nora is author of the ground-breaking book, Mayday! Asking for Help in Times of Need. With over 10,000 hours of coaching under her belt, and hundreds of hours facilitating learning events, Nora can help you find the success you crave.

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