Why aren’t there more women CTO’s?

Why aren’t there more women CTO’s?

Today’s conversation is inspired by a reader who posed a question that I’ve been asking myself for over 40 yearsWhy aren’t there more women CTO’s? Her very valid question provokes a broader question as well“Why aren’t there more women in IT?”  

The questions aren’t the issue, finding answers with a root cause and actionable steps to resolve them is. I’ve followed NCWIT research for several years, and these questions provoked me to go back a few years to ground myself.  

Women struggle to maintain a presence in IT, especially at the senior levels and in the heavier technical fields. We know the challenge. According to the National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT), some important progress is being made:  

It is great to see that progress is being made. In only five years, women in the most senior IT role moved from 6% to 20%. It is also interesting to see the stats that have not moved.   

At the same time, there is a challenge to grow our workforce exponentially. Look at the overall number of computing job expected by 2026. In just five years, the expected requirements for computing professionals have tripled. The growth is being driven by the 4th Industrial Revolution.   

The 4th Industrial Revolution describes the exponential changes to the way we live, work, and relate to one another due to the adoption of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, and the Internet of Systems. As we implement smart technologies in our factories and workplaces, connected machines will interact, visualize the entire production chain, and make decisions autonomously. This revolution is expected to impact all disciplines, industries, and economies. In some ways, it’s an extension of the computerization of the 3rd Industrial Revolution (Digital Revolution). However, due to the velocity, scope, and systems impact of the changes of the fourth revolution, it is being considered a distinct era. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is disrupting almost every industry in every country and creating massive change at unprecedented speed. It is daunting.   

Let’s go back to the challenge – where will the IT workers come from? Women are key to the answer.  Women are 50.5% of the overall US population, which is in line the total world population of 50.8%.  In theory, would you not agree a significant opportunity lies with increasing the number of women in IT to at least 50% of the workforce?   

HOW?  

How do we attract and retain women to the field of IT? I’ve come to believe the answer comes in three parts:  

STEM 

It is easy to see that our opportunity must include increasing STEM education with an emphasis on increasing women to the field. Introducing IT as a career choice for girls early in life is key. I point you to a source far more eloquent on the subject:   

http://www.unite-it.eu/profiles/blogs/what-can-be-done-to-attract-more-girls-to-study-it 

Please take note of the section on stereotype threat and unconscious bias as it plays a significant role in the second leg of the answer – Inclusion.  

Inclusion 

There is a business case to be had here. Employers who invest in hiring and retaining women in STEM careers can reap significant rewards. The World Economic Forum has projected that correcting gender segregation in employment and entrepreneurship could increase aggregate productivity globally by as much as 16%. And according to Deloitte, highly inclusive organizations generate 1.4 times more revenue and are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.   

There are solid action steps that can be taken in attracting and retaining women to the IT field. I particularly appreciated the steps outlined in the following Glass-Door article:  

https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/3-top-companies-strategies-for-hiring-retaining-women-in-stem/ 

Inclusion is impacted by second-generation gender bias, starting at job description development to recruiting, reviews, and promotions. In organizations which are most often male-dominated at the top, men will have their most important work relationships with people like them, and women with people not like them. So, it’s harder for women to build a relationship beyond the workplace.  

Because men so often occupy the top positions at companies, the implicit model of what a great leader looks like is a man. If a woman has a different management style (as we often do) it may not look assertive enough, or too much or not enough of something because of the subconscious model formed by the predominate leadership and culture of the organization.  

Second-generation gender bias refers to practices that may appear neutral or non-sexist, in that they apply to everyone. It is a subtle, covert, and at times unintentional, phenomenon that thwarts women’s power and potential. This form of bias is complicated because, unlike the first generation of overt, explicit, and conscious bias against women in the workplace, second-generation bias can occur in hard to-pin-down incidents such as the way a job description is worded or never being asked whether one is interested in being promoted or taking an overseas assignment. They discriminate against women throughout the employment lifecycle because they reflect the values of the men who most often created the setting in the workplace.  In any case, it is unfair and results in the disparity of outcomes. 

An example of second-generation gender bias is that leaders are expected to be assertive so, when women act in a more collaborative fashion they are not viewed as leaders and often women who do act assertively are perceived as too aggressive. This kind of bias, or gender stereotyping, can be entirely unconscious, is most often unintentional, and goes unrecognized.  

Again, secondgeneration bias does not require an intent to exclude; nor does it necessarily produce direct, immediate harm to any individual. Rather, it creates a context in which women fail to thrive or reach their full potential. Feeling less connected to one’s male colleagues, being advised to take a staff role to accommodate family, finding oneself excluded from consideration for key positions. All of these situational examples reflect work structures and practices that put women at a disadvantage. 

EQUITY 

Equity is a bit more complicated. I started in data processing in 1977 when there were no women in the data center. My entry into data processing was by way of a clerical role in the engineering department.  My job function was the first in the company to go onlineCICS no less. The data processing manager invited me to consider a job in the data center when he recognized my attitude for process improvement. My first data processing supervisor publicly exclaimed to me that I could not work there; I was a girl. How could I be expected to lift tapes, disk drives, run cables, and printer boxes? I was damned determined to prove him wrong. And I did. Much to his credit, he apologized to me within a few weeks.  And thus, my IT career took off.  

Over the years, I worked very hard to keep gender out of the equation and refused to accept that I was not treated on equal par with my peers. I denied it until the day I had cause to look closer at my organization and take note of the types of positions filled by my male peers. The only other woman on the executive team headed HR. What opened my eyes was when I learned that my total compensation package was much less generous than my peers, despite the more substantial budget, influence, and overall responsibilities of my role as the CIO and head of the monitoring call center (a $17m dollar profit center). No one, including HR or the President, gave me an answer to the inequity. It hurt a lot. And it made me angrier the more I thought about it. I stewed on it and let it fester until another job offer came my way. I then made the dumbest career decision of my life, but that is a story to share over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.     

On a positive note, it influenced assuring parity of salary and opportunities on all my teams from that point forward as well as to work with my clients to look at theirs.   

Without an understanding of second-generation bias, people are left with stereotypes to explain why women as a group have failed to achieve parity with men. If they can’t reach the top, it is because they “don’t ask” are “too nice” or simply “optout.” These messages tell women who have managed to succeed that they are exceptions and women who have experienced delays or setbacks that it is their fault for failing to be sufficiently assertive or committed to the job. To no fault of their own, they may be held back, paid less, or not considered for promotion due to second-generation bias.   

IN CLOSING 

Second-generation bias is embedded in stereotypes and organizational practices that can be hard to detect, but when people are made aware of it, they see possibilities for change.   

In my work with women leaders in IT, we focus on recognizing when bias is showing up and holding them back.   

We know that the men will nominate themselves even if they don’t meet all the requirements; whereas women will hold back applying unless they meet 100% of the requirements. In one case, a client observed that her male peers were assigned more strategic roles such as the head of development or security, whereas she and her female peers were assigned more operational ones such as the PMO, Relationship Management, or Support –  signaling that they had lower potential. Working with my client, she proposed to the CIO that the department provide clear criteria for development assignments in order to be transparent on how potential was evaluated and to give direction as to what experience would best increase a person’s potential. These types of actions enable more women in leadership roles.   

I find that when women recognize the subtle and pervasive effects of second-generation bias, they feel empowered, not victimized because they can take action to counter those effects. They will apply for roles even when they may not feel they check 100% of the boxes. They can put themselves forward for leadership roles when they are qualified but have been overlooked. They can seek out sponsors and others to support and develop themselves in those roles. They can negotiate for work arrangements that fit both their lives and their organizations’ performance requirements. Such an understanding makes it easier for women to “lean in.” 

Maluthis is for you. Thank you for the provocative question. Our conversation is far from over. I would love to hear from others, both women and men, about this very important issue of Women in IT.  

Until next time, have an effective week! 

Mary   

 

Resource Sources 

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL.FE.ZS?locations=USh 

https://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/public-policy/two-minute-activist/ 

https://www.ncwit.org/resources 

http://www.unite-it.eu/profiles/blogs/what-can-be-done-to-attract-more-girls-to-study-it 

https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/3-top-companies-strategies-for-hiring-retaining-women-in-stem/ 

Mary Patry 
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach   
 480.393.0722 (AZ) 
 Mary.Patry@iteffectivity.com 
LinkedIn: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/mleonardopatry 

Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

Leading to Belonging

Leading to Belonging

Recently, Netflix announced the appointment of a new executive focused on leading a diversity and inclusion program. The post about it on LinkedIn resulted in a lively if not somewhat divisive discussion.  The conversation laid heavy on my mind as diversity and inclusion are a topic near and dear to my heart because we all need to feel we belong. It is a basic human need.      

First, let’s start with the root of the issue and clarify what diversity and inclusion mean.

What is Diversity?  

Diversity is understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people including those of different races, backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities, and sexual orientations with unique variations in education, personalities, skill sets, experiences, and knowledge bases.   

Interestingly, research by Deloitte finds that diversity is perceived differently by generations. 

Millennials view workplace diversity as the combining of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, and they believe taking advantage of these differences is what leads to innovation. Gen Xers and Boomers, on the other hand, view workplace diversity as equal and fair representation regardless of demographics without necessarily considering diversity’s relationship with business results.  

Diversity is not a program designed to meet hiring quotas  

What is Inclusion?  

Inclusion is a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment that increases the participation and contribution of all employees. Inclusion focuses on whether the employer has a workplace culture in which diverse employees feel integrated instead of isolated. An employer can have a diverse workplace without having an inclusive culture. In an inclusive workplace, the employer develops and maintains a culture in which the employer values diversity.   

Inclusiveness is not creating programs that look to assume one group to be of higher importance.  Inclusion is an environment where everyone has the opportunity to belong. 

The importance of Diversity and Inclusion programs 

Diversity and inclusion are a company’s strategies and practices to support a diverse workplace and leverage the effects of diversity of thought and experience to achieve a competitive business advantage.  Diversity and inclusion assure all employees feel included and have an equal opportunity for success along with feeling comfortable and valued. It takes active leadership to bring these programs to life.  

What it is not.  

Diversity and Inclusion are not Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action laws focus on specific groups based on historical discrimination and disadvantage, such as individuals of color, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. Affirmative Action laws require all companies to take Affirmative Action to defeat and counter past instances of discrimination in the workplace. Affirmative Action is about achieving equality in the workforce by reaching out to previously disadvantaged groups and eliminating barriers to hiring and advancement.   

Unlike Affirmative Action, diversity refers to a broader and more inclusive concept of valuing people of different races, religions, national origins, genders, sexual orientation, economic status, and other differentiators in the workplace. It is premised on the idea that organizations and companies are most effective when they leverage and include the views and abilities of employees of all backgrounds. The goal of diversity is to foster a culture of mutual respect, leading to a more productive workforce and one that better reflects the diversity of customers and global markets. 

Inclusion maximizes the ability of all employees to contribute to an organization and employers benefit by having different approaches and views to making decisions and solving problems. As a result, having a diverse and inclusive workforce can lead to increased productivity and improved communication. 

With that, I commend Netflix, Deloitte, and all companies that choose to focus on diversity and inclusion. Who would not want to feel included?   

Are Diversity and Inclusion a problem in IT? 

It seems like the Information Technology field has everything going for it. It is a career choice that appears to be doing fine with diversity from the outside. Despite all the positives, there’s a lingering sore spot in the IT and technology world: diversity in leadership positions. The tech industry has long been accused of favoring white males in their hiring practices, especially in executive positions where white men make up 80 percent of the jobholders. Many IT leaders that I meet are very proud of their diversity stats. I most often find their pride is based on comparing IT diversity statistics to peer departments in their company. It can be quite sobering when we take a hard look at the ratios of diversity between IT leadership and IT workers 

Inclusion is a much larger issue. People must feel a sense of belonging—a connection to an organization and team that makes you feel you can be yourself. Not only does it result in higher employee engagement and productivity in the workplace, but it is also a basic human need.   

Unless you are the individual who does not feel included, it is easy to let your diversity stats lull you into a false impression. To retain great talent, it is critical that organizations take an honest look at the end to end employee experience with intent towards creating conditions that promote inclusion daily   

Some will say, “You can’t make people like someone or “How can I make people be friends.”  You can’t.   

You can teach people what it means to be inclusive. You can foster activities that build bonds and common goals. Most of all, you can model inclusive behaviors yourself. Like any form of behavior change, inclusion is a process of identifying key moments in which to build new habits by taking daily actions that can be practiced and measured. When these habits are put into action in an environment that supports honest conversations and healthy tension, real change becomes possible. 

Belonging 

Let me tell you a story about the power of belonging   

A client company’s IT Infrastructure technical engineers are located in various offices scattered around the US. The leadership and majority of the IT infrastructure team is located in a city several states away from the corporate headquarters. Wisely, the client has a senior network engineer residing at HQ to assure timely support of the executive leadership team. Coincidently, he is African American 

When I first started to work with this team, I observed that the senior network engineer was often hanging out chatting and did not appear nearly as busy as the other IT team members in HQ. No one seemed to know what his role was, but many people voiced the question to each other and me. I took the time to talk with him and discovered him to be very bright and very underutilized. Though he was the most senior member of the engineering team, he was not included in technology projects or upgrades outside of HQ. It was easy to spot his frustration and loneliness. His direct manager and members of the engineering team would often visit HQ, but rarely did I see them interact with this local senior engineer. I also knew for sure they did not spend social time together. It was quite sad.   

Fortunately, my consulting role allowed me access to observe as well as to mentor his manager. I talked with the manager about the engineer. He had inherited him from another team. It was apparent that he did not know him well. The next time the manager came to town, I invited a group of IT team members, including the network engineer and his manager, out for a happy hour. During those two hours, the manager and engineer talked to each other more than they ever had. Their behavior changed from the point forward. They began talking more and the engineer was included in larger efforts. That one happy hour event did not turn the tide; it opened the door.   

I am delighted to report that the employee is not only engaged, he is now a technical leader in his space who is looked to for ideas and thought leadership. He told me recently that he finally feels he belongs at the company. Can you imagine how much better he feels about himself, his work, his peers, his manager, and his employer?  

In closing 

Let me leave you with a parting thought. As you work towards building a more diverse and inclusive organization, it is important to consider what your employees are saying about you and your company outside of the office. What is their feeling of inclusion and belonging saying about who you are as a culture? In what ways is your employee message out of alignment with your customer? A diverse employee base who knows they are included and belong matters 

Until next time, have an effective week! 

Mary   

Mary Patry 
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach   
 480.393.0722 (AZ) 
 Mary.Patry@iteffectivity.com 
LinkedIn: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/mleonardopatry 

Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

Taking Back Control of Your Time

Taking Back Control of Your Time

Lets talk about time. Who feels they have excess time available?   

In last week’s article, we discussed time’s impact on feeling overwhelmed. Time is in short supply with ever-increasing demands looking to take it over. Time is the most precious commodity in our lives. Once it is spent, it is gone forever.   

One of the biggest drains of a CIO’s time is meetings. Research has shown CIO’s and IT leaders spend about 60% of their time in meetings, another 35% tackling problems, and only 5% presenting ideas and strategies.  

The ideal day optimizes time to allow for focus on innovation, strategy, and people development while minimizing the amount of time needed for operational challenges and exceptions.  

It is very easy to become overwhelmed with the demands on your time. How can you manage the things coming at you and take control of your time? The key comes down to understanding how and where you spend your time.   

How many of you have ever heard of or seen what I like to call the Four D’s?  Dump – Do – Delegate – Defer.  

The best way that I’ve found to understand how you spend your time is to list all the functions/tasks that you perform. I find creating a spreadsheet matrix works well.  

The most thorough approach is to track your time in 15-minute increments across two weeks. I can see your eyes rolling on that one. At the very least, sit down and start listing everything you do, every meeting you attend, every report you create, review, or approve. List everything. It often helps to see the input of your assistant or right hand. And don’t forget the mundane tasks 

Once you have done this, you can go right into assessing your time with an open mind and raw honesty. You are only kidding yourself without completing this step.   

I like to start by asking myself, “What things consume my time with little to no value? If you listen to Peter Drucker, “What do we need to stop?  Whatever those things are, they are great candidates for tagging as “Dump.” You don’t have time to do things that add little to no value.    

What are the things I must do MYSELF! Here you need to keep an open mind with raw honesty. If you really are the only person who can do it, then tag it as “Do.   

What things can I defer? And if I can defer, until when can I defer them  

What things must be done AND can they be delegated? Delegate them SMART!  

Specific– Be specific as to what exactly you want them to do. 

Measurable – Agree to what successful completion of the task means. Ensure you can measure a good job done. 

Achievable– Ensure you set achievable goals. If you don’t, you risk morale running low and ineffectiveness spreading amongst the team. 

Relevant– The task/goal must be relevant to the team or individual and in line with their development needs. 

Timely  Every goal or task must have a target completion date upon which you will measure the effectiveness of the goal. Always ensure that the person or people undertaking the task understand the time span and by when the task should be completed. 

Once you have your list defined, take action against your plan. Refine the list as items are identified or removed. If you follow this technique as laid out, I trust that you will take control of your time. Let us know how it works for you!   

Until next time, have an effective week! 

 Mary

ITeffectivity LLC was founded in 2013 with the mission of helping IT Leaders bring order to their ever-changing world.  Since then, Mary has advised over 80 leaders as well on behalf of Fortune 100 firms to small non-profits. Discover your possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

Mary Patry 
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach   
 480.393.0722 (AZ) 
 Mary.Patry@iteffectivity.com 
LinkedIn: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/mleonardopatry 

Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

Managing Your Overwhelm

Managing Your Overwhelm

What is your most precious asset as an IT executive, or any executive for that matter?  

Certainly, money and investments are high on your list. You can always earn back money that you have lost and find new opportunities and investments.  

If we use the criteria of renewability to screen for how precious an asset is, then we can also remove a second asset from the list: professional relationships. Your network of professional relationships is one of the most important assets that you have. Almost nothing is more important to your success. However, to a large extent, your network is in fact renewable. You can repair wounded relationships, and you can continue to grow your networks by meeting new people.  

The same goes for another asset that is precious: our health and wellness. While we may take the importance of our health and vitality for granted, to a large extent we can make healthy choices that renew our health, vitality, and energy. Lifestyle changes and medical assistance enable healing. With the right diet, exercise, and stress management, we can bring a new fresh focus, more discipline, and fresh enthusiasm to our work every day. 

While money, professional relationships, and health are mostly renewable, there is one asset that is not. Because it is so finite, it is more precious than any other. 

The one resource that we have that is not renewable is TIME. Every second we use is a second that we cannot get back. Once time is past, it is lost to us forever.  

We know this, and yet we often act as if we do not. We spend our time doing things that others could be doing instead. We do things that are not essential to our organization’s strategic priorities. We do things that are not the most important things for us to be doing as leaders. 

As a result, we feel overwhelmed. We lose our focus. Ironically, our other assets suffer as well. We are stressed and lose energy. We put our health at risk. We do not relate as well with others, because we are distracted and cannot focus or give our full attention. We make poor decisions that cost money.  

Time is indeed our most important asset. As an IT leader you have many conflicting demands on placed on you. Between customer meetings, staff meetings, vendor meetings, operational problems and new demands, there is little left to do what you want to do – strategizing and team development.  

It is key to treat time as you would any other asset. Measure how you use it. Analyze your decisions. Make new and more strategic choices going forward. Do what it takes to set boundaries to execute those choices. Only then can you manage your overwhelm.  

Use this simple one-page time tool to assess if you control your time or if time controls you.
Assess Your Overwhelm here 

Then, come back here next week for a 4-step process to get control of your schedule.  

Until next time, have an effective week! 

 Mary   

 ITeffectivity LLC was founded in 2013 with the mission of helping IT Leaders bring order to their ever-changing world.  Since then, Mary has advised over 80 leaders as well on behalf of Fortune 100 firms to small non-profits.  

Mary Patry 
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach   
 480.393.0722 (AZ) 
 Mary.Patry@iteffectivity.com 
LinkedIn: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/mleonardopatry 

Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

Sustaining the Change

Sustaining the Change

This simple quote of 12 words is the foundation of all change management efforts. You, as the leader, must be the change that you want your team to adopt. People believe what they see. Words will not enable a team to change; your action will.   

Looking back over our series on change, you will see a consistent theme. Change is about people. Technology and process may enable or support change, but that is all. Change starts and ends with changing the mindset and attitude of your people. Change does not happen just because you planted it. It needs nurturing from you.  

People will change their mindsets only if they can see that it matters and that they can fundamentally agree with it. They don’t need to be in full agreement, but they do need to agree enough to trust you and give it a try. The surrounding infrastructures (i.e., recognition and reward systems, process improvement or simplification, organization model) must be in place to support the change. The people must have the skills and capabilities to do what the change requires. Last but not least, the people must respect those modeling the change – that would be you.   

Let’s look at each of these areas a little deeper.  

The change matters and they believe in it. 

Studies have shown that if people believe in the overall purpose behind the change, they will change their behavior to match that purpose. To feel comfortable with the change, they must understand their role. To be enthusiastic about the change, they must understand how their actions impact the outcome of the change. This requires that you, as the leader, take the time to build their story in terms that they will trust and believe in. I say their story as it must be more than how it will affect the organization’s profit margin. The story is only effective if it portrays their role in delivering services to the external consumer. The more you can communicate how they make a difference, the more it matters. This is human nature. We all want to feel and believe that our actions make a difference.    

The change is rewarded and recognized.  

Rewards and conversely punishment systems alone do not sustain change. Sorry about that. Wouldn’t it be easy if it did! Reward systems provide value initially. After a relatively short time, the employee will lose sight of the reward if the other three areas are ignored. Organizational designers have found that reporting structures, management, operational processes, and measurement procedures (i.e., setting targets, measuring performance, granting financial and non-financial rewards) must be consistent with the behaviors that people are being asked to embrace.   

Again, that is you, the leader. For example, if the manager is required to spend time coaching an employee through a change, but coaching is not included in their performance management scorecard, they most likely won’t bother.  Reflect to “be the change you wish to see.”  

The right skills are in the right place. 

Sometimes, many times, a transformational change asks the employee to act differently without preparing or teaching them how. How might require a change in instruction or practice. The how might require picking up a new responsibility with a new skill. You may be asking them to be customercentric when they don’t know who the customer is or what “centric” means to them.  It is up to you to assure they are prepared 

Change is most effective when an impact assessment with a mitigation plan is performed before the change is announced. This assessment will identify the staff impacted, the change management requirements, training, and the coaching needed down to the individual team member level. Change takes time and is best offered in small chunks of learning. Without the assessment, you are entering a maze without light and just feeling your way through it.  

There is a strong role model to follow. 

That is you, the leader. People believe what they see. Role models are not only the individual’s manager but consist of the executive team all of the way up to the CEO/President. In some dramatic transformational changes, the board of directors is also included. During a time of change, every word you say and every action you take is analyzed and scrutinized for meaning. It can be daunting. What you do is less important than how you do it.    

If cost containment is a corporate mantra, actions at the senior rank may appear frivolous by the people. Let me give you a simple example. A global organization recognized that its cost structure was well out of line with a company of their size. An assessment revealed that general administration costs where four times that of their peers. A policy was put in place to immediately eliminate all non-essential travel, catered lunch, and entertainment. The exception to the rule was the box seats at the local arena. The employees questioned why this spend would be allowed. What they did not understand was that the box seats were a fixed spend under a multi-year contract. The executive leaders could have continued to use the box seats for client entertainment. They did not. Instead, they used the seats for incentives through raffles and team building exercises.  

Behavior is not only modeled at the individual level but by affiliation groups as well. Let’s say that an IT Leader is taking action to simplify a process and leading by example, the mantra of change. If groups of longterm employees spend their time around the coffee pot complaining that this too shall pass, individuals will not feel the need or pressure to change.  

Here is where you come in. If you can buy into the concept that a successful change program starts and ends with the people, you should be able to buy into the reliance change has on the story behind the change. The consistency of the story must permeate from the executive leaders down to every employee. The messaging cannot be a few posters on the wall or a PowerPoint reflecting bullets. The message must be delivered consistently in the form of a dialogue with built-in two-way communication.   

A change leader will recognize feedback and course correct on the fly. It isn’t as artsy as it sounds, but it does require active listening, questioning in a non-threatening way, and truly demonstrating belief in the change they wish to live. Change is hard. Realizing the outcome of change is a beautiful thing.   

This concludes our discussion on change.  As we wrap up, I welcome your feedback, questions, and comments.     

Until next time, have a great week!  Wishing you a Happy and safe Fourth of July with your family and friends.   

Mary 

ITeffectivity LLC was founded in 2013 with the mission of helping IT Leaders bring order to their ever-changing world.  Since then, Mary has advised over 80 leaders as well on behalf of Fortune 100 firms to small non-profits.  

Mary Patry 
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach   
 480.393.0722 (AZ) 
 Mary.Patry@iteffectivity.com 
LinkedIn: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/mleonardopatry 

Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry.