IT and Leadership
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IT and Leadership
Collection of items about information technology and leadership - especially in higher education
Curated by Steve Krogull
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4 Principles to Work - and Live - By

4 Principles to Work - and Live - By | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
My friend Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, just came out with a new book about the principles that have guided him and his firm throughout the years (his recent TED talk is worth checking out as well). As a side-project, he’s also asking some of his friends to contribute their own principles they’ve tried to live by and have built their businesses on. I was happy to oblige, of course. But now that I’ve started, I want to expound on these principles a bit more. Here goes.
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3 Must-Haves in a Great Mentor

3 Must-Haves in a Great Mentor | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
As I originally published in Inc.: Over the years, I've seen thousands of Millennials in the classroom and in various business roles, and, not surprisingly, I disagree with those who stereotype the generation as lazy, entitled job hoppers.

Instead, I find they possess many highly desirable workplace traits. They're technologically adept, idealistic, mission-driven, caring and inclusive -- just to name a few.

That said, even the best of them could get even better if they had a good mentor. The truth is everyone needs someone to show them the ropes, to help them understand what organizations value and the best ways to get ahead in a job, corporation or even life.

But mentors don't come easy. Many of the good ones have already been snapped up. The ones still available and willing to share their wisdom don't have signs around their necks. You do not just walk up to someone and ask them, "May I be your protege?"
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What is a project manager? The lead role for project success

What is a project manager? The lead role for project success | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing projects. They are accountable for the entire project scope, project team, resources, and the success or failure of the project.

If you are looking for a career in IT and wondering if a project manager position is right for you, IT Career Roadmap: IT project manager may be the best place to start. Also, consider if you have what it takes to be a great project manager.
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Why Design Thinking in Business Needs a Rethink

Why Design Thinking in Business Needs a Rethink | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
In recent years, “design thinking” has become popular in many industries as established companies have tried to apply designers’ problem-solving techniques to corporate innovation processes.1 Key elements of the design thinking methodology include fast iterations; early and frequent interaction with customers; agile process design with less hierarchy; and a learning-by-doing approach that involves building prototypes and creating mock-ups of any kind as early as possible in the process.

Here’s how design thinking initiatives are supposed to unfold in a corporate setting: A clearly defined innovation challenge is presented to a team trained in design thinking. The team conducts research to better understand the problem. Drawing on their insights, they propose a variety of solutions, start building prototypes, and in the end, identify a fresh, profitable business opportunity.

That’s how the process is supposed to work — but it hardly ever does. Over the past seven years, we have helped more than 20 companies pursue more than 50 design thinking initiatives and have found that such initiatives rarely proceed according to the textbook model. Innovation is an inherently messy process, made even messier because it conflicts in many ways with established processes, structures, and corporate cultures. Fortunately, once you understand the challenges, you can avoid the most common pitfalls.
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As Your Company Evolves, What Happens to Employees Who Don’t?

As Your Company Evolves, What Happens to Employees Who Don’t? | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
When my company was young, we worked with two contractors who played key roles in client services. As we grew and defined our core values — singling out accountability as our top priority — it became clear that these contractors did not meet our newly defined standards. They were often difficult to catch on the phone, noncommittal about deadlines, and understandably had more of an individual, not team-based, approach to their work.

Because they were such strong performers and clients liked working with them, I tolerated their behavior. However, when other team members pointed out the double standard in expectations, I realized that I had let the situation go on for too long, inadvertently placing our managers in a no-win situation. Ultimately, we decided to cut ties with the contractors — not because their work wasn’t strong, but because they weren’t aligned with our values.
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7 Smart Yet Simple Ways to Handle Difficult People

7 Smart Yet Simple Ways to Handle Difficult People | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
Regardless of our age or social status, there will always be some difficult people out there who want nothing more than to bully and belittle us.  Sometimes they’re colleagues at work, sometimes they’re people in our neighborhoods, sometimes they’re those mean kids on the playground…

And just as difficult people will always exist in the world, so too will our power to choose how we respond to them.  Do we let them make their pain our own?  Or do we choose to transform that pain into personal growth and strength?  Do we let them win?  Or do we choose to win?
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Transforming IT: “Not Technical Enough”

Transforming IT: “Not Technical Enough” | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
“They're not technical enough.” Have you heard this charge expressed in your IT organization? Possibly you've heard it from hiring managers eliminating candidates, or maybe you've heard it from staff talking about their colleagues. If you are working on maturing your organization, you will need to check the context when you hear it. Whereas there are times when it can it can be an absolutely valid assessment, it can also be divisive, dismissive and exclusionary, perpetuating outdated thinking that deep technical expertise is all that matters, and that those that have it outclass everyone else.

I’ve heard “not technical enough” about architects, project managers, process managers, service managers, analysts, support professionals, training professionals, vendor and licensing professionals, security and risk professionals, business/customer relationship managers, and line managers, all roles that clearly do not include responsibility for systems engineering, and yet they are assessed as if they do. What's really at play is, I think, a belief that anyone who is not an engineer is ancillary. In a mature organization, nothing could be further from the truth. Your "forward-facing" staff are more critical than ever, and without vigorous engagement with your stakeholders and user community, your organization will not be relevant, innovative or supported. Your staff with process roles are essential if you want to have an efficient and high-performing organization, committed to continuous improvement. You need leaders all over your organization, and not just technical ones. "Not technical enough" can result in your delivering technologies, not services, an organization that belongs in 1997, not 2017.
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Are we talking about the same thing? A typology for change

Are we talking about the same thing? A typology for change | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
I believe more granularity is needed; the term “change” is too coarse to be helpful in conversations about leading, managing or designing change.

I'm evolving a list of 'types' that might enrich a conversation about change. The genesis of the list comes from my reflections about the change circumstances I have experienced, observed or participated in. These groupings emerged from that reflection.
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Memo to the CEO: Are you the source of workplace dysfunction? | McKinsey & Company

Memo to the CEO: Are you the source of workplace dysfunction? | McKinsey & Company | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
Bullying bosses impose costs on people and organizations that are manifold—and often hidden. Hundreds of experiments show that encounters with rude, insulting, and demeaning people undermine others’ performance, including their decision-making skills, productivity, creativity, and willingness to work harder and help coworkers. As a senior leader, your job is to build an organization where jerks don’t thrive. In my writings a decade ago, and in the pages of McKinsey Quarterly, I put forth some principles on how companies can build a civilized workplace—adopting a “no-asshole rule,” as I called it—and how they need to enforce the standards, weave them into hiring and firing policies, and apply them to customers and clients, with the goal of creating a culture of small decencies.
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The High Price of Overly Prescriptive HR Policies

The High Price of Overly Prescriptive HR Policies | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
Too many companies’ HR policies are overly restrictive. Such policies are often convoluted and overly paternal, and attempt to control the behavior of regular people through rules designed to rein in the “bad apples.”

Having consulted with hundreds of company leaders on how to create high-performance workplaces over the past 30 years, I’ve seen this firsthand. Although a small percentage of employees may try to take advantage of more flexible or generous policies, designing your HR policies with such people in mind isn’t the answer. It won’t help boost the performance of the majority of employees – employees who have the organization’s best interests at heart. It will only make them feel distrusted.
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3 Rare Signs That Say You Were Meant to Be a Good Leader

3 Rare Signs That Say You Were Meant to Be a Good Leader | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
As I've written in the past, great leadership is about serving others. More specifically, serving your employees and putting them on equal par with customers (and sometimes even ahead of them).

It's this principle that made Vineet Nayar, former CEO of HCL Technologies, so successful. In 2010, he wrote the highly acclaimed Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down. He documented HCL's transformation -- putting employees first and customers second -- that made HCL one of the fastest-growing and profitable global IT services companies in the world.

As crazy as that sounds, it didn't mean handing the employees the "keys to the asylum" and turning managers into pushovers. It meant building a culture of trust with daring transparency and information sharing, and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit across the organization where employees had freedom to use their brains, make decisions, and take full ownership of their work.
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The Everyday Guide to Workplace Confidence: Work Hard & Yes, Feel a Little Entitled

The Everyday Guide to Workplace Confidence: Work Hard & Yes, Feel a Little Entitled | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
Confidence — one very tough customer.

If you’ve stood tentatively in front of an audience — or felt like an impostor after being praised or promoted — I would place a wager that those nagging feelings were rooted in your level of confidence (possibly a lack thereof).

When you consider confidence in the workplace, there are many platitudes, but few really ring true. How do you truly “believe” in yourself when faced with the moments that matter most? Those situations simply cannot be tackled by adages or quotes.

So…how do we really build confidence?
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UW–Madison’s economic impact to Wisconsin $15 billion annually, study says

UW–Madison’s economic impact to Wisconsin $15 billion annually, study says | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
The University of Wisconsin–Madison continues to be one of the state of Wisconsin’s greatest economic engines, accounting for $15 billion in economic impact statewide according to a new report.

The report shows that UW–Madison, UW Hospital and Clinics and the university’s affiliated organizations and startup companies support 193,310 Wisconsin jobs and generate more than $847.5 million in state and local tax revenue. That’s up from 128,146 jobs and $614 million in tax revenue the last time a similar study was completed in 2011.
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Researchers May Have Discovered a Key to Being Well-Liked at Work

Researchers May Have Discovered a Key to Being Well-Liked at Work | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
In the workplace, many of us avoid asking too many questions for fear of being viewed as annoying or incompetent. But a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who ask questions, especially those who ask follow-up questions, are deemed more likeable than those who don’t.

Harvard University researchers observed the behavior of 398 volunteers as they interacted with one another online. Participants were grouped in pairs and chatted with one another for 15 minutes using a survey software called ChatPlat. Participants were expected to get to know their matches as much as possible before that window closed, then they answered specific questions about their partner to gage how well the conversations went. Researchers found that participants who asked their partners follow-up questions were perceived as being more likeable than those who didn't.
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Culture Shift: Context and Organizational Culture Change

Culture Shift: Context and Organizational Culture Change | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
Are most professionals doing debriefs after a project? One would hope so. An opportunity to debrief increases performance (Tannenbaum et al 2012) regardless whether you are an HR professional, project manager or organization development practitioner. It certainly works for me. Here is an example of a debrief after a culture change project.
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The Overcommitted Organization

The Overcommitted Organization | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it

A senior executive we’ll call Christine is overseeing the launch of Analytix, her company’s new cloud-based big-data platform, and she’s expected to meet a tight go-live deadline. Until two weeks ago, her team was on track to do that, but it has since fallen seriously behind schedule. Her biggest frustration: Even though nothing has gone wrong with Analytix, her people keep getting pulled into other projects. She hasn’t seen her three key engineers for days, because they’ve been busy fighting fires around a security breach on another team’s product. Now she has to explain to the CEO that she can’t deliver as promised—at a time when the company badly needs a successful launch.

Christine’s story is hardly unique. Across the world, senior managers and team leaders are increasingly frustrated by conflicts arising from what we refer to as multiteaming—having their people assigned to multiple projects simultaneously. But given the significant benefits of multiteaming, it has become a way of organizational life, particularly in knowledge work. It allows groups to share individuals’ time and brainpower across functional and departmental lines. It increases efficiency, too. Few organizations can afford to have their employees focus on just one project at a time and sit idle between tasks. So companies have optimized human capital somewhat as they would machines in factories, spreading expensive resources across teams that don’t need 100% of those resources 100% of the time. As a result, they avoid costly downtime during projects’ slow periods, and they can bring highly specialized experts in-house to dip in and out of critical projects as needed. Multiteaming also provides important pathways for knowledge transfer and the dissemination of best practices throughout organizations.

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Executive Presence for Introverts: Three Ways to Show Your Colors Without Changing Your Stripes

Executive Presence for Introverts:  Three Ways to Show Your Colors Without Changing Your Stripes | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
As an introvert who has been in very public-facing roles for most of my career, I’ve spent much of my adult life “putting my extrovert on” in order to show up as a leader in business. Showing up as a leader is really about demonstrating executive presence, and executive presence is fundamentally about confidence…not the confidence you have in yourself, but the confidence you inspire in others so they’re willing to follow where you’re leading.

What I’ve learned from both personal experience and from coaching other executives is that executive presence is harder for introverts than extroverts. From quickly establishing rapport to speaking up in meetings, many of the subtle interpersonal behaviors that signal leadership just come more naturally to extroverts.  But that doesn’t mean that introverts need to “act” to demonstrate executive presence. And they shouldn’t because one of the elements of executive presence is to be authentic.  So how can introverts show up as a leader while still being themselves? Here are three techniques introverts can use to comfortably command the room
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UW Flexible Option Proficiency Assessment - YouTube

What is proficiency assessment? How does it benefit students and faculty? What aha moments did the faculty have? Carleen Vande Zande answers. She is the University of Wisconsin System interim associate vice president of Academic Programs and Educational Innovation.
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How Diversity Makes Us Smarter

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
The fact is that if you want to build teams or organizations capable of innovating, you need diversity. Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving. Diversity can improve the bottom line of companies and lead to unfettered discoveries and breakthrough innovations. Even simply being exposed to diversity can change the way you think. This is not just wishful thinking: it is the conclusion I draw from decades of research from organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers.
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Redefining Respect for People: Disagree to Agree

Redefining Respect for People: Disagree to Agree | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
Almost any discussion in the Lean community eventually leads to the important concept of Respect for People. I discuss the importance of it with my trainees frequently when coaching, no matter what industry they are in. It is an essential element for developing and sustaining organizational transformation as illustrated by the “TPS House”. Some people try to define it in short, simplistic slogans, while others avoid the subject by saying that each person develops their own definition of respect. Respect is a big word. Like any big word, it opens up a lot of room for interpretation. While most people in leadership positions agree that Respect for People is important, most have a hard time defining what “respect” really means. If you really believe that respect is important, this is a big problem. In order to show respect, you must be able to define it. If you can’t define it, your attempts at showing respect will come across as insincere, or worse, disrespectful. While it may not be possible to create a simple universal definition of respect, we must try to define at least a few specific characteristics that contribute to creating a respectful culture for leaders, employees, customers and all other stakeholders.
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Six Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Innovation - TalentCulture

Six Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Innovation - TalentCulture | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it

What makes an enterprise organization successful? Is it a phenomenal understanding of the market? A visionary growth strategy? A value-driven customer focus? A strategy that enables digital transformation, both from a tech standpoint and a culture standpoint? Yes, yes, and yes. So many yesses. But there’s something else, something that would fall into the “all of the above” category: Winning enterprise companies are innovative, keeping them out in front of the curve and always on the cusp of something bigger.


I’ve always been an innovation-first kind of person, and I’d like to focus here on fostering innovation from a leadership perspective. How can senior leadership ensure innovation that goes beyond the generation of a couple of new ideas and turn that into a strategic, guiding principle that touches every part of the company? Here are six ways to do just that.

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Who Empathizes with Machiavellian or Narcissistic Leaders?

Who Empathizes with Machiavellian or Narcissistic Leaders? | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
Have you ever worked with a leader who manipulates others to get their own way? Or is there someone in your team who is so completely self-obsessed that they disregard other’s opinions and contributions? Hostile personality characteristics such as these might help people climb the career ladder, but it could be a very lonely journey to the top — unless their colleagues also share these personality characteristics.

In our research, we replicated previous findings that leaders with negative personality traits were perceived by their subordinates as displaying poorer leadership behavior. However, we also found that if followers shared those same traits, they were more likely to get along with their nasty manager.

We set out to explore when and why a leader’s negative personality traits might hurt perceptions of their leadership, even though we know from other research that those same traits actually help leaders get ahead. Specifically, a study conducted in Germany found that “narcissism was positively related to salary, Machiavellianism was positively related to leadership position and career satisfaction, and psychopathy was negatively related to all analyzed outcomes.” If these traits — often called “the dark triad” by researchers — are so disliked by many people, why would they correlate with positive career outcomes?
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An Amazingly Practical Approach to Practicing a Growth Mindset

An Amazingly Practical Approach to Practicing a Growth Mindset | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it

Growth is a myth in environments that tolerate deceit, backstabbing, malevolence, and hypocrisy. Leaders who tolerate offenses against community – in the name of delivering results – destroy growth and limit results.

Never tolerate a high performer who destroys community.

Eliminate hypocrisy by practicing transparency regarding strengths, weaknesses, and development. 


Teams can’t pull for each other if they don’t know each other’s growth-goals.

Remove people who work to undermine others.

Building an environment of growth is one of leadership’s greatest challenges and opportunities.

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Bob Sutton: Five Ways to Reduce Workplace Friction | Stanford eCorner

For our wrap-up of FRICTION, Stanford Engineering’s Bob Sutton returns to the premise of the podcast - work doesn’t have to suck - and shares his top five takeaways from all the lively and frequently raw discussions he’s had over the summer with fellow experts on management, organizational behavior and other aspects of today’s work environment. A professor of management science and engineering, Sutton signs off by asking listeners for answers to two questions about friction that still haunt him. Here’s your chance to nail a simple test by a tenured Stanford professor and bestselling author.
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Why You Should Swap 'I'm Busy' With 'I'm Focused'

Why You Should Swap 'I'm Busy' With 'I'm Focused' | IT and Leadership | Scoop.it
People have often caught sight of my color-coded planner and reacted with a, “Woah, you’re so busy.”

Although I love my ambition, being told that I’m “so busy” can make me feel kind of guilty. It makes me feel like I’m too busy—like my days are filled up with tasks and projects that are keeping me from other things.

Yes, some days that totally happens—my day gets taken over by "busywork" like laundry or that email inbox that refuses to hit zero. But oftentimes, my "busy" period is intentional, like when I'm blocking out time to write a new article or think up a story idea. When I call that time "busy," it makes me forget that I’m choosing to pack my schedule with something I’m passionate about.

That's why I'm swapping "busy" with "focused"—to actually give credit to my ambition and intention. And here's why you should consider the swap, too.
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