Enabling Success Through Building Your Cultural Vision

Enabling Success Through Building Your Cultural Vision

Does your organization have the culture needed to drive your vision for high performance? Are you, as a leader, prepared to create and lead your organization into a culture of intent?  

Many executives think that culture is a vague and ambiguous term. When it comes to organizational performance, it is not.  

Worse, they believe culture will right itself. Culture defines the attitudes, behaviors, habits, and disciplines for how things get done in your organization. Ultimately, culture determines you and your organization’s success.  

Creating a culture of success through coaching is relatively simple in theory but hard to implement. This short article pulls from the work of Andrew Neitlich in his book The Way to Coach Executives and defines what a culture of coaching means. It then suggests the high-level action steps required to develop a culture of coaching.  

First, organizations with a culture of coaching have the following eight habits:

  • Employees at all levels are open to receiving feedback, input, and advice. In fact, they regularly request it from others. It is not easy to hear tough advice and feedback from others. Most leaders, managers, and employees don’t do it well. While the guidelines for receiving feedback are straightforward, the skills for effectively delivering feedback are not native to most technical managers. At the same time, many people get defensive and are closed to receiving feedback professionally. A culture of coaching starts with employees at all levels being open to advice and feedback. In other words, they are coachable.

     

  • Actively strive to get better. Second, a culture of coaching is about mastery. Employees want to do well and want to keep getting better. They keep raising the bar and demanding the best from themselves and each other. This trait requires an organization with attractive career paths and opportunities for growth and development.

     

  • Be willing to stop digging in your heels with stubborn and already known positions and instead conduct a deep, creative inquiry into root causes and innovative solutions. It is easy to have conversations about what’s known. It is also easy to stubbornly stick to the same position about an issue so that the issue never gets resolved. For example, you can watch the political parties in the USA dig in their heels about crucial challenges for the country. In some organizations, employees roll their eyes before a colleague even speaks because they already know what he or she will say. Coaching is about having conversations about what’s not known. It is about putting one’s position aside and having a dialogue to go beyond rigid thinking and attitudes. It is fostering openness to new ideas and possibilities. Coaching challenges people to leave the past in the past, work together to create new ways of approaching problems, and to balance relationships, results, and ego.

     

  • Use coaching along with other approaches to develop leaders to grow the organization. A culture of coaching is about developing new capacities in employees. New leaders keep emerging to grow the organization and also to allow current leaders to continue to grow and develop in the most strategic ways possible.  
  • Get important conversations going. The book “Good to Great by Jim Collins uses the metaphor of a flywheel to talk about one role of a leader. The leader’s job is to ask crucial questions about what the organization does best, its values, and its purpose. As the conversations build, so does momentum, the same way a flywheel takes a while to turn but eventually becomes a powerful force. A culture of coaching encourages employees to ask deep questions and work together to answer them while always leaving room for new insights and creative approaches. 

  • Design and create the culture you want to have. A culture of success through coaching is only one aspect of an organization’s culture and coaching is just one of many skills that a manager should possess. Leadership must still define the complete culture they want for the organization.

     

  • Use coaching as a tool to help people get better and continuously improve the organization. Finally, in a culture of success through coaching, people coach each other to ongoing success. This can happen through formal coaching relationships with internal and external coaches, but most of the time it happens through ongoing dialogue with managers, colleagues, and employees. Everyone plays a coaching role.  

Six action steps to create this kind of culture: 

  1. Train senior leaders and managers to be effective coaches.
  2. Reward people for modeling coaching behaviors, especially when they solve key issues or develop top talent through coaching.
  3. Senior leaders need to model the coaching behavior they expect to see.
  4. Use coaching as a tool to create other aspects of the desired organizational culture.
  5. Use both internal and external coaches as one of many tools to help people develop.
  6. Utilize our Enabling Culture tool to get a sense of your organization’s culture:  ITeffectivity Enabling Culture 

As with any kind of culture change, the obvious but hard truth is that senior leadership needs to make coaching a priority and a focus. Otherwise, none of the above action steps matter.   

The references above are relative to any business unit. I apply them to the IT leadership role as I continue to advocate that IT is an extension of the business.   

What are your thoughts? I am here for you if would like to discuss further.   

Until next time, have an effective week! 

Mary   

 

Resources:  From “The Way to Coach Executives” by Andrew Neitlich

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. 

Bridging the Generational Gap

Bridging the Generational Gap

Last year about this time, I went in search of a local web designer to help me make a few adjustments to my corporate website. With that, my working relationship with Lauren Medelberg, a young, very bright, and high energy Millennial was born.   

Over the year, we became unlikely friends with a gap of 40 years between us. She has stretched my imagination and prodded me to be more courageous. Most of all, she has helped me realize that our future is well taken care of because of the people of her generation.  

Recently, Lauren expressed frustration after reviewing a negative comment made by a reader against Millennials. Lauren wanted people of the older generation to get beyond the generalizations of her generation. They want to be treated with respect. They know they need to earn it, but don’t feel that older generations are open to it. I offered to let Lauren tell us what she needs on behalf of her millennial peers

Here is her ask   

It is 2019 and instead of bridging the gap between our generations and learning together, we make the choice to dislike each other simply based on age. We have so much to learn from one another, yet we choose to point out the faults. Growing and working together to build our society up should be our focus, instead of bringing each other down.   

I was born at the tail end of the Millennial Generation and I often hear that people of my generation are lazy whiney children who have no idea what we are doing with our lives. However, in technicality, we are some of the most educated adults in history and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest generation currently in the workforce as of 2016.  

Now, I will not deny that we do have our downfalls, just like the generations before us and the generations to follow. I really do feel that we have a lot to offer society. We are the generation of technology. In my lifetime alone, I have watched technology change so rapidly that it has become an all-consuming part of our lives. This is an amazing thing and a terrible thing all in one.  

The reason I say its terrible as well is because we have lost the person to person contact that has been such a large part of generations before us. This is why its so important for us to work with the older generations. We help with technology and older generations guide us in leadership and person to person communications. We need them and quite honestly, they need us. It’s a give and a take situation that helps society in the long run.  

I have included a reference document that explains the differences in generations and a guide to engage todays employees Generations by Ken Abrams 

This matrix outlines the positives and negatives of all the generations and provides good resources on how to communicate and work as team no matter what age groups are a part of your team.  

Although I do work with technology in my career daily, I reached out to a few of my colleagues to see what they have to say about the gap in generations. A great point that one of them made was the difference in routine between the generations. For example, balancing a check book was very common amongst the older generations whereas the younger generations have apps that do things like that for them. Younger generations often have the mindset of work smarter by using the technology we have at our fingertips. Though technology provides great tools, we have also seen where our generations have become so dependent on the technology that we struggle to go without it. Older generations have no problem because that is what they have been doing for years.  

A point another friend made was how the IT field needs specialized jobs such as Data Scientists or CyberSecurity Architects. In the past IT was everything technology related within the company. Now, with the field growing exponentially every day, the need for certain specialties have become in high demand. As the need for specialties has grown, there have shown to be more positions than people who know what to do. They also commented, “IT has always been comprised typically of individuals who are self-starters/learners. They have to be in order to keep up with an ever-evolving field.” I thought this was a great point because IT is always changing, so adaption is a huge part of the industry no matter what generation you are in 

No matter what age you are, I am, or anyone else is, we all have our strengths – be it the loyalty and strong relationships of the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers or the creativity and new ideas of the Millennials and Gen Zers. If we learn to work together as a team, as a society, we can use all our strengths. So, I challenge you all to reach out to someone from a different generation and learn something new. Let’s bridge the gaps between us and grow as one.  

Lauren is right. She and her friends are our future leaders. I’ve learned how much we need each other and how much we have to gain.  

Technology is driving changes in the workplace faster than I’ve ever experienced. Digital technology is changing the way we work, play, and live. Speed, collaboration, innovation, and engagement are no longer “nice to haves” but are necessities. We live in a world where the always available, always on mindset prevails. Employees and organization must grow and adapt to constant change. On top of it all, leaders are accountable for creating a workplace where all employees can thrive.  

There is a place for every generation alive in our workplace. We have the opportunity to work and learn together by understanding and meeting the needs of each generation.   

  • Baby Boomers (My generation) We’ve been working in the industry upwards of 40 years and are taking our experience with us as we retire over the next 10 years. Until we leave the workforce, we need (and struggle) to continue to develop new skills in a rapidly changing environment. At the same time, we have the opportunity to impart our wisdom and leadership skills on the generations behind us.  
  • Generation X This generations is often referred to as the over-looked generation. They are poised to take on senior leadership roles as we baby boomers begin our exodus from the workforce. Gen Xers are increasingly taking control of the company reins and will be charged to lead their organizations through the next wave of technology and corporate growth.  

  • Millennials Remember, they aren’t the new kids on the block anymore and there are a whole lot of them. The Millennial generation is expected to continue to grow as young immigrants expand its ranks.Many of them have been working for 15 years, and at the age of 37 they are already the face of leadership spanning many companies and industries. I have coached IT managers as young as 25. Yes, it impresses me as well.  

     

  • Gen ZThe newest generation of employees has entered the workforce. They have never known a world without digital technology or the internet. They are true digital natives with their own traits which include a quest for authenticity and connection.   

With the need for technology workers expected to exceed $3m new positions by 2025, there is a place for all generations. Most importantly, we have the opportunity to learn and grow from each other. With that, I accept Lauren’s challenge and look forward to our continued partnership.  

Will you join me?   If you want to reach out and tell her yourself, you can find her at linkedin.com/in/lauren-medelberg 

Until next 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. 

Why do you want to be a CIO?

Why do you want to be a CIO?

In my work with senior IT leaders aspiring to be a CIO, the most common question I ask is, “Why do you want to be a CIO? 

What drives anyone to want to be a CIO. Wanting the title is sometimes the reason. The title alone won’t sustain you through the pressures. Some imagine they will be in control and get to make the decisions.  You will experience many opportunities to make decisions, but I can guarantee that you will not be in control of all decisions.  

Let’s face it, the CIO has a hard job and faces many challenges. As the most senior leader of the Information Technology function, you have pressures coming at you from all sides. Business requirements increase the need for technology. Costs rise and you are challenged to keep budgets down. As technology forces deliver new functionality, resistance to change adds new pressure. 

You most likely have the largest single G&A cost center in the company with the most visible service delivery function. The services delivered are critical to the corporate mission and quite often taken for granted as a utility. You are accountable 24 x 7 for availability and access to business systems that are critical to driving business results. You are responsible for the inevitable data breach. In the world of SaaS and PaaS, you are even responsible for things that you don’t have control over.   

It can be a lonely job. You are required to maintain calm in the time of crisis and demonstrate confidence to your peers. There aren’t many people you can vent to without risk of eroding their confidence in you. Occasionally, it can feel like a no win situation.   

At the same time the role of the CIO is so very rewarding. What other corporate leadership role has the depth and breadth of influence as the CIO across all areas of the business?  

  

The CIO of yesterday has evolved into a business leader partnering with peers to drive results. The dependence of business on information technology will continue to grow with the digital revolution.  Today’s CIO must be business savvy and responsive to business drivers and the needs of peers worrying about digital transformation. The CIO who can evolve from the operational leader to a strategic executive has the opportunity to make a real difference in both the corporate direction and the lives of IT team member. It is a big job, and a very rewarding job for the right person and reason.  

The questions you should ask yourself are:  

  • What is driving you to be or want to be a CIO?   
  • Have you thought about why you want such a challenging role? 
  • What is your purpose?   
  • What do you hope to get out the experience?  
  • Are you ready to move from a technical leadership role to a business leadership role?  What do you need to get there?   
  • What legacy do you aspire to leave behind?   
  • How much risk are you willing to take on?   

I am here for you if you need help answering these questions or if you need a partner in building your future success.   

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. 

20 Questions to Evaluate Your Team’s Alignment

20 Questions to Evaluate Your Team’s Alignment

Despite vast resources exclaiming the ease of building effective teams, leading and engaging teams remains a significant challenge in most workplaces. The added distraction of mobile devices and multi-tasking habits adds to the challenge. The following are 20 questions team leaders and participants should be asking in order to maximize their alignment and effectiveness:

  1. What is the specific, measurable goal that defines your team’s success?
  2. How aligned are the values of each team member with each other and the organization?
  3. How does the team recruit top-notch people?
  4. How clear is the value of the organization to each employee?
  5. How clear are expectations about what every team member is supposed to be doing and achieving?
  6. How well do team members know and trust each other?
  7. Do the team members offer to help each other without having to be asked?
  8. How clear is the path to results?
  9. What opportunities are there for early and ongoing small wins?
  10. How well does the team anticipate, avoid, and mitigate risks?
  11. Is communication open, honest, and transparent among team members?
  12. How well does the team acknowledge each other as well as celebrate success?
  13. How effectively does the team clear up and move forward after setbacks?
  14. Does the team know the conversations to move things forward from vision to result?
  15. Do the leaders of the teams effectively motivate each team member and each other?
  16. Do the leaders of the teams spend time with each other as a group outside of the office?
  17. How well does the team handle transitions of team members out of the team?
  18. How well does the team help new team members ramp-up and achieve performance quickly?
  19. How often do team members instinctly help each other without having to be asked?
  20. How effectively does the team learn about how it can work together better?

These are crucial questions, and the answers are not always obvious. Which of the questions resonate with you?

Even if members of a team think they are discussing the same topic, often they are having a very different conversation. While one team member might be talking about vision, another is asking about strategy, another is focused on evaluating ideas, and still another is frustrated that no one is committing to specific action steps. Also, some team members aren’t saying anything at all or are making negative comments.

Are all the members of your team engaged and on the same page?

The next time you have a team meeting, write the names of your team members across this page. Every time someone speaks, check off what kind of conversation they are having. Then you will able to see whether your team is truly aligned and on the same page, or not paying attention at all. You will also see who is dominating the conversation (often the most vocal is the one to lead a team down the wrong path), and who is disengaged.

To learn more, I invite you to download a complimentary resource – Team Meeting Assessment It is a simple assessment to evaluate the conversations different team members are having and whether those conversations move the team forward, backward, or keep them at a standstill. I guarantee it will open your awareness and generate new ideas about making your teams more effective and efficient.

Click here to download team engagement assessment tool: Team Meeting Assessment

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.