Living Your Values

Living Your Values

Last week we discussed the role values play in your decisions. Your values move beyond your personal choices and are naturally applied in your professional position. I will use my own story to bring living values to life.   

 Let me begin…. 

 One of the most impactful experiences of my career was working under Dean Seavers when he was the President of Simplex Grinnell, a wholly owned division of Tyco International, in the early 2000s. Dean took on our division at a trying time in Tyco’s history, immediately after the Dennis Kozlowski debacle. The “debacle” became my secret code word for referring to the arrest and the impact it caused the 250,000 Tyco employees, countless customers, and investors.   

 Before the debacle and Dean, I was out of integrity with my values. I was very conflicted due to loyalty to my manager, and my team. My direct manager was a man of high integrity, and I loved the commitment my team had to the company, their job, and me. It was the company itself I was struggling with.   

 Without getting into the dirt of it all, the culture of the division and the company was in a bad state. It was toxic. Simplex was a staid, lowrisk, high integrity organization mashed by Tyco with Grinnell, an organization willing to take very high risks, push aside principles, close their eyes to impropriety and ignore boundaries for the sake of EBIT. The “Bring me the money” culture came down from Tyco International itself. I could not see how I could influence a change in culture, but I could see my executive manager trying with very little positive change occurring. Then the debacle happened.  

To give you a little background, I was initially hired as the head of IT Infrastructure in late 2001. I jumped into this role with blind trust and without due diligence. It took me less than a week before I was questioning my decision. The Head of Applications, Jim, and I were tasked with integrating the two companies. We did not have a CIO, and they did not see the need for one. Jim and I agreed. Our executive manger expected us to act as a joint leadership team.  

 At first, it seemed like an impossible expectation. Our styles couldn’t have been more different. Our approach was often the root of clashes that we struggled to hide from our employees. In other words, we sucked in our leadership behaviors at the time. Fortunately, we discovered common values in our caring for the organization and our teams; and got our act together before permanent damage was done.   

From then on, it was us against the district offices, who fought us in our mandate to rationalize infrastructure and application technology platforms. Looking back, I have to laugh. Jim and I would purposefully trade off playing the good cop/bad cop to get something done. It was not laughable at the time. Jim and I were under tremendous pressure.  

Along the way, Jim experienced a severe lifethreatening health issue. After his recovery, he asked for my help in facilitating his move into a less stressful, but still impactful role. My caring and concern for Jim far outweighed the personal impact his request would make on me. Together, we formulated a proposal for backfilling Jim along with a graceful transition plan. We took our proposal to Bob for his approval. He surprised us by saying he would have to think about it. Jim and I were stunned as we had grown used to Bob trusting our joint judgment.   

The next day my executive manager asked to see me. He told me that he had given our proposal consideration and had discussed it with the President, but they wanted to take it in another direction. He would approve Jim to move to the new role, but the company would not backfill him in the current capacity. It was time to add a CIO to our executive team and he offered me the position. I quickly and politely declined. You see at that time I was a relatively recent widow of a CIO. I already knew how hard the role of the CIO would be. My reaction was to debate their decision to add a CIO.   

 My executive manager immediately let me know that the decision to bring on a CIO had been made. It would either be me or someone from the outside. For emphasis he added that, if I didn’t take the role, my influence would be with the new CIO, not him. I could have taken that as a threat, but I took it as a fair warning. He asked me to go home and think about it. I thought about it all night. I arose in the morning convinced about my decision, and apprehension knows that introducing a new factor into the mix was not the right answer from my team or the organization.  

 Yes, I took the job, with what may seem like an unusual request. I asked to continue to report to Bob. My respect for the current division president and several of the executive team members was low. As a new CIO, I knew I needed Bob to act as a filter if not downright protection. Thus, my career took on a new turn as a CIO in a tumultuous company.  

As I knew it would be – it was a tough job made even tougher without Jim as my partner. I found myself nose to nose pushing consolidation, rationalization, and standardization with equally determined district managers. They had existed over a hundred years without standardization of practices and could not see the value in it now. Think about this it was the early 2000’s. I was a woman, and I was in IT. I was relatively new to the company, with a new untested title, and with a contentious and disruptive rationalization mandate. To add to the struggle, the President was dictating cost reductions through rationalization at the same time the District Managers were claiming they were told to ignore the mandate if it meant impacting their numbers. In other words, they were given an excellent excuse to ignore me. It was damn hard. I was feeling kind of sorry for myself.  

I needed a break and took one. I was on holiday in Europe, contemplating my future. One beautiful Sunday morning in June I picked up the newspaper outside my hotel door to see the headlines announcing Kozlowski’s arrest. OMG! I called back to the US to talk to Bob and the person I left in charge and I flew home a couple of days later.  

Our world went from a summer thunderstorm to a whirling hurricane. Within a short period of time the then President departed (along with many others), and a new President came on board. He invited me to the table, and I gladly took a seat. I will share all my mistakes and lessons learned at another time. Right now, I want to focus on Dean and the contrasting cultural impact he brought with him.  

There was no denying there was a new Sheriff in town. Dean Seavers was a man of integrity who informed us of his expectations early on, including intolerances, and what would happen if boundaries were breached. We were given a chance to be on a fullfledged team working towards common goals. I truly learned what it meant to sit at the table, along with the responsibilities.  

Dean was fair man who unapologetically made critical changes in the leadership team for those unable to get in the game. He stood by his principles. He openly engaged us in planning and owning the success of our organization and objectives.   

He was also humble and caring. One morning I was scheduled for an early 1:1 with him and saw him walking away from his office. I called after him, “Hey, you are going in the wrong direction.” He called back to say that he was going for coffee and to join him. I scurried down the hall to catch up with him, enjoying our casual banter on the way to the break room. In the break room he pours three cups of coffee, hands me one, and is carrying two – one with cream and sugar packets on top. At first, I was thinking, “Geez, he must need coffee this morning.”  

Before I could tease him, he stops at one of the accounting clerks cubicles, steps in, and sets down the coffee with the cream and sugars on her desk. He said something to the order of: “Hey I saw you struggling with the coffee pot this morning. That is no way to start your day. Here is your coffee, not sure how you take it, so I brought cream and sugar.”  He not only took the time to bring her coffee, but he put the coffee on to brew as well. He made a difference to the clerk that day and to me. Trust the whole office heard about her experience before the day was done.   

I learned so much from him, and you can trust my values grew in the right way. My biggest career regret was resigning while he was still at the helm. He accepted my resignation with both of us in silent tears. I did not leave him or the company, I went to realize a bucket list job dream. He is only one of two former managers I would ever consider working for again. That is saying a lotI don’t believe in regrets or in following you’re a boss around.     

The moral of the story is culture starts with the leadership – not the board, not the customers, not the market, and not the economic climate. It is the leadership, starting from the top. As a leader, you are accountable for the organizations culture. Culture is grounded in the values of the top leader as instilled in the organization, along with their behaviors. Changing culture requires each leader walking the talk with authenticity, starting from the top.   

We will continue our discussion next week by looking at building your communication strategy.   

 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. 

Getting the People Right

Getting the People Right

As an IT leader, your focus is People, Process and Technology.  The Technology and Process is easy compared to assuring you have the right team with the right leadership capabilities in place.   You make great hiring choices, but do you have the support and resources to ensure you or your team’s success?   

 I want to help. I’ve been there many times over my career. In response to your needs, I pulled from over 40 years of my IT experience combined with the last six years as an Executive Coach to design Executive and Leadership Programs targeting the advancement of IT management and leadership capabilities.   

 The programs focus on four distinct areas and are flexible to your specific needs: 

  • IT Executive Coaching and Advisory:   Our unique IT Executive Coaching & Advisory Programs are designed to provide the IT leader with the tools necessary to achieve their visions and goals through constructive and confidential conversations. 
  • Technical Team and Group Programs:  Nothing is more exciting for individual contributors than to receive their first leadership position.  It can also be a very challenging transition. The promise of these programs is to transform the lone wolf technologist into the leader of the pack.
  • Non-Profit IT Leadership Mastermind Group:  The nonprofit IT Leader faces unique challenges in competing for budget and talent in an already tight market.  Group members support and challenge each other to set strong goals, and more importantly, help each other to accomplish them.
  • Trillium Women in IT Mastermind Group:  A collaborative twelve-month program in which a small group of women IT leaders with collective leadership experience and goals challenges each other to set strong goals, support each other, and most importantly – grow together. 

For more information visit our website: www.iteffectivity.com   If any of these programs resonate with you and your needs, let’s schedule a complimentary 30-minute discovery session to explore which program might work best for you:   

 https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/ITeffectivity@iteffectivity.com/bookings/  

 Space is limited. I have slots available for 3 Executive Coaching Clients and 2 Group or Team Programs. Team and Group Programs are limited to 10-12 participants per cohort.  

 AS A BONUS Register by November 29 to receive an early bird discount.  

 I look forward to exploring the possibilities with you.  

 Thank you! 

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. 

Values, Finding Your North Star

Values, Finding Your North Star

What is most important to you? Your values will determine how you answer this question. Our values drive what we stand for. Your values are your North Star.    

The North Star has been used for navigation for centuries. Acting as a guiding light, people use their brightness and prominence in the sky to ensure they are traveling in the right direction. Just as the North Star guided explorers for centuries, our values guide our behaviors, decisions, and actions.    

Values are not found or contrived. They develop in early childhood and continue to evolve throughout your life. Personal values appear innate, and perhaps some are. However, a new study finds that values are transmitted to children not only from the way parents act but also partially through their genes.  

https://aabgu.org/are-values-learned-or-inherited/#

 I can buy into this theory based on the behaviors I’ve witnessed in children, but my belief in the theory waivers based on apparent value differences between close sibling adults.   

 However values are formed; they cannot be denied. Our values drive what we stand for – behaviors, decisions, and actions.   

 Have you thought about your values? Do you know what they are?   

 There are hundreds of values to consider:  

 https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-core-values.html 

 As a leader, it is powerfully relevant to understand your values as they apply to your career, your employer‘s decisions, and your leadership style.  

 Let’s explore deeper.  

Do you know your core values? Are your values aligned to your career role? Sometimes the answers appear easy enough on the surface. However, if you find the courage to look below the surface, you may find clues that surprise you.   

Come with me, and I will show you the power of digging in deeper.   

I’ve always known that truth and teamwork are two of my core values, and I revel in negotiating conflict. I have a high tolerance for differences in perspective and have no understanding or patience for bullies or what I see as unfair treatment of others. I’ve learned through various personality tests that I have a weakness that shows up as a need to assume responsibility for others. What I could not see from these tests was how these values showed up in my career or leadership style.   

Instead of guessing, I used the tools available to me (no cost CVI assessment tools). There are many no cost CVI assessment options available via a simple search. As I don’t want to appear to endorse any, I will share my personal results after exercising three different CVI assessor tools 

Here is what my assessment report said about me:  

“What does this mean? This means your primary core value is Merchant – A Merchant’s core value energy is Love. Love, in this sense, is working toward an inspired vision of what can be, by nurturing the core values in one’s self and others. You thrive at building relationships and providing an inspired vision for those around you. Your secondary core value is Innovator – An Innovator’s core value energy is Wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to see the way things are and discern what to do about it. You accurately assess situations and provide solutions.”  

I was a bit taken aback that Love showed up at the top of my core values. After reading the explanation, it was easy to see alignment with my Myers-Briggs personality type of ENFP. At the same time, I can now see why I was never quite comfortable in my IT leadership skin for 40 years and why coaching feels so right. My work is aligned with my core values. Everyone deserves their career to be in alignment with their core values.  

 Your Employment Choices 

 The culture of a company is an aggregate view of its leaders’ values, starting with the CEO and the executive team. Before applying for (certainly before accepting) a new role, you are most wise to research the values against the behaviors of the organization’s leadership. Reach out to your network to obtain an introduction to people who work there. You can reduce the awkwardness of an inquiry by simply asking, “I see your company website lists “INSERT VALUE HERE.”  How does this value show up at COMPANY? “  

 However, you choose to research; you will be taking a risk if you make assumptions and jump at a significant role without research. As lessons in life tend to go, I have learned this through experience.

 Management Relationships  

 If your core value is Love and your direct manager is a Banker, what challenges might your relationship face? You can use this same thought pattern with your MBTI, DISC, Colors, or any of the behavioral/communication assessments. Opposites do not attract. Think about a time when you were in complete alignment with a manager – and then contrast that feeling where nothing you did seemed reasonable enough, where you dreaded coming to work, maybe even to the point of developing a genuine illness.  

Opposites require modifying your style and communication approach. Small gaps in values are typically manageable. Managing significant differences in style can be accomplished if there are shared values and mutual respect. Sans common values and mutual respect, a considerable gap in costs will prove intolerable. Would it not be better to understand the situation and options while you are in control of your choices? I, like many people of applied wisdom (aka many life challenges), learned this lesson the hard way.   

Team Relationships  

 If you follow my theory that values evolve with experience, you can agree that as a leader, you influence developing your team members benefits. Their observation of your behavior should not disrupt their core values but is an excellent opportunity to evolve them. If you lead with integrity, they will learn to act with integrity, or they won’t be on your team.  

 When you lead with consideration for the needs of the individual, they will follow your example. If you treat others with disrespect or fear, so will they, and they will leave.  

The role of a manager is not for the meek or weak of heart. It carries a responsibility to your organization, its customers, and your team. The good news is that when you take care of your team, they take care of you.  

Building Your Team Values

Just as the company value is an aggregate of those of its leadership, so are the values of your team. As mentioned in the   article, Designing Your Leadership Vision a great teambuilding exercise is to bring your team together to build your Mission, Vision, and Values. The first step in defining the team values is to identify the core values of each team leader. It will be essential to express the individual values in the form of behavioral examples and to determine their tolerances and intolerances against their values. If it sounds like an in-depth discussion, it is. As a leader you will be challenged to listen without judgment as there are no right or wrong answers. At the same time, it is an incredible honor to help your employees grow as individuals and as a team! It is and always will be my favorite part of management.   

YOU GOT THIS!  

 In closing, I hope our conversation on values resonates in some way with you. I have confidence that you know the answers inside of yourself. If you need a little help seeking them out, give me a call. I am here for you.   

We will continue next week with demonstrating the power of leadership in building the vision and values of your organization.   

 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. 

Pause for Decision Making

Pause for Decision Making

We will pause this week from continuing our Mission Vision Values conversation thread to look back at leading through IT Decisions, focusing on the decisions involving and impacting people.   

We first discussed IT Decision making in the February 6th article: 

 Leading Through IT Decisions 

 In this article, I focused on IT Governance as a structure to help you align your IT Strategy with the Business Strategy. In support of these concepts I shared two reference books for your consideration:  

ITeffectivity IT Governance e-Book 

A month later we discussed the role IT Strategy plays in aligning Business Strategy and IT Strategy   

To Digital Strategy or not to Digital Strategy, is it now still an IT Strategy 

In this article, I provided a highlevel perspective of the relationship of the digital revolution to the creation of an IT Strategy aligned to the business. I further expanded on that perspective with access to an expansion of the IT strategy framework:  

 ITeffectivity IT Strategy Framework 

 Both references outline proven processes that generated great conversations. Some conversations were very supportive and appreciative of the structure while others were not and some stated  that the pace of change in their organization is too fluid to allow for a governance framework. Still others felt they were too small to need a framework. All of these arguments have some merit, but they can’t convince me that there isn’t a need for IT governance.   

So why are we back here?  

Simply, because too many of my recent conversations with IT Leaders revolve around IT budgeting and roadmap development struggles. Most people who spoke to me were raising concerns that their business was expecting more with flat or declining capital and operating budgets while still looking to grow the business. The last time I saw these heightened levels of concerns was right before and during the 2008 crisis. Realizing this caused me to ponder and research what might be happening. To my frustration, my research revealed conflicting positions.  

As I am not an economist by any stretch, I can only guess based on what I have been hearing, seeing, and reading. I believe that some of the issues are being generated by the uncertainty of the political climate in our world. One can only wonder and question how much of an impact trade disputes and other geopolitical tensions are having around the United States. How about the still-unresolved Brexit saga casting a shadow over the UK’s economic prospects in Europe or the trade tensions generated by China’s conflict with Hong Kong.   

 To further inform us of the impact of the economic situation and to inform of us of a state of contrast, Gartner published a report in July 2019 that provided a more in-depth analysis. I am sharing a few paragraphs here with encouragement to read the article;     

Gartner Says Global IT Spending to Grow 0.6 in 2019 

 Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.74 trillion in 2019, an increase of 0.6% from 2018, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. This is slightly down from the previous quarter’s forecast of 1.1% growth. 

“Despite uncertainty fueled by recession rumors, Brexit, trade wars and tariffs, we expect IT spending to remain flat in 2019,” said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. “While there is great variation in growth rates at the country level, virtually all countries tracked by Gartner will see growth in 2019. Despite the ongoing tariff war, North America IT spending is forecast to grow by 3.7% in 2019, and IT spending in China is expected to grow 2.8%.” 

 “Although an economic downturn is not the likely scenario for either 2019 or 2020, the risk is currently high enough to warrant preparation and planning. Technology general managers and product managers should plan out product mix and operational models that will optimally position product portfolios if a downturn should one occur” said Mr. Lovelock. 

 Further research did not reveal any real surprises. I was expecting and found that cloud applications and cloud infrastructure are the top priorities for US companies with a net 80% and 61%, respectively increasing spending in these areas. Legacy systems integration (24%) and data center automation (1%) have the least spending options. None of this was out of alignment with what I am hearing from my clients.   

﷟HYPERLINK “https://www.hnkpmgciosurvey.com/press-release.php”  

Where I was surprised and perhaps disappointed was in learning that IT Staffing levels are expected to be fairly flat at a time where digitalization, A/I, and security concerns are driving the need for talent at record highs. The impact the budget had on both internal and outside resourcing resonates with my clients.    

 In my search for answers, I came across the Harvey Nash KPMG CIO Survey 2019. In it I believe I found a small piece of clarity behind the challenge. The press release opens with dramatic and insightful words:  

 “Almost two-thirds (63%) of organizations now allow technology to be managed outside the IT department, a shift that brings with it both significant business advantages and increased privacy and security risks, reveals the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey.

When IT spend is managed away from the direct control of the CIO, companies are twice as likely to have multiple security areas exposed, and more likely to become a victim of a major cyber-attack.

The largest technology leadership survey in the world, analyzing responses from organizations with a combined technology spend of over US$250bn, reveals for those organizations where the IT team is formally involved in decision making around business-led IT, business advantages include improving time to market new products (52% more likely to be ‘significantly better than their competitors’) and employee experience (38% more likely to be ‘significantly better than their competitors’).

However, four in ten (43%) companies are not formally involving IT in those business-led IT decisions.”  

 The report ends with conflicting statements:  

 More technology leaders reported increases in IT budgets under their control than at any time in the last 15 years.

The jump in those reporting increases (from 49%to 55%) is the largest seen, with the one exception of 2010, when organizations were still clawing their way out of the global recession.

For technology projects where the CEO prefers to ‘save money’ almost half (45%) of respondents report budget increases compared to just 38% last year, suggesting many CIOs are investing to save, for instance through automation.”  

 Why conflicted? Investing to save is an interesting concept. It assumes business understanding of the drivers behind the savings and the commitment of ownership to achieving it, including the trailing costs of transformation. There is a cost to every decision made along with tradeoffs and implications.     

 Investments made without IT involvement are pretty daunting as support costs are most likely not included in the ROI or operating budget planning until they are in production. This situation puts the burden on IT to absorb the expenses often under unreasonable expectations. This, too, resonated with my clients.   

Still, in 2019, I see business leaders with the aspiration of organic growth and expansion through acquisition without a real understanding of the operating cost impact of their decision. I’ve seen, in several cases, the genuine expectation that the existing staff can absorb expansion and growth without the need for additional resources.   

To CEO’s, CIO’s, and other business leaders that believe this can be – I caution you. I get that change is happening faster than most IT organizations can keep up with and in many cases than what organizations can afford. In these cases, strong governance becomes even more critical to maximizing investment and to assuring ownership and commitment to execution.    

I am happy to discuss with anyone who has an interest.   

 We will continue our discussion next week by looking at values.    

 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. 

Designing Your Leadership Vision

Designing Your Leadership Vision

Last week we talked about leading yourself and designing your leadership vision. This week we will focus on leading your team starting with defining your organization’s vision and mission. A leadership vision is articulating what you want for your organization, your team, in the future.   

One way to start defining your vision and mission is by looking at department goals and objectives. Both serve different purposes and are often confused with each other. While a mission statement describes what a company wants to do now, a vision statement outlines what a company wants to be in the future.    

Start with Your Vision   

Vision statements are always future state, what you aspire to be; your goal. I like to project 3-5 years into the future, and I typically align with the length of the strategic plan. Technology changes at such a rapid pace that it is rarely practical to project further than five years.    

In my work with CIO’s, I often ask to help with the development of their IT Strategy. Vision and Mission are the foundation for any strategy endeavor. To write a strong vision statement, you should consider aligning the IT Vision to the organization’s objectives and vision.  

What goals need to be achieved and in what time frame do they need to be delivered?  

Prioritize, what is critical, what is not, and why. 

How do I best explain why? This discussion leads to the heart of your department’s contribution to the organization. I like to start by answering the following questions:   

  • Why does our organization exist? 
  • How can we do things different or more effectively?  
  • What outcome or direction is necessary to reach our goals?   

With those three questions answered, use the output as input into describing what success will look like once you achieve your objectives in the form of an easy to understand the aspirational statement.    

I particularly appreciate Boston College’s Vision Statement for its simplicity:  

 Information Technology Services will be recognized as a high-performance team providing technology excellence that advances learning, teaching, research, and student formation in alignment with Boston College’s mission and goals. 

This vision statement fills four key principles:   

Alignment:  Ensure that the IT organizational model and all related operational services and duties are correctly aligned and prepared to fulfill the business goals and objectives.  

Engagement:  Ensure that all IT “vision” stakeholders are on board and fully engaged in technologyrelated planning and the operational capabilities required to deliver the IT service portfolio.    

Best Practices:  Ensure that IT is designed to operate within standards, relying on effective management practices and strategies properly sized to meet technology needs and organizational capabilities.  

Customer Service:  Define the organizational vision to ensure that IT services are provided in a timely, highquality manner and that they are entirely prepared to fill the operational needs of the end-users while working within the boundaries established by business interests and technology best practices.  

This exercise encouraged me to evaluate ITeffectivity’s Vision. My vision is a work in progress, somewhat representative of the evolution of the practice itself. My current vision is:  

To influence leaders to respect and utilize the power of diversity and inclusivity to drive the best outcome.   

A little heady, but adequately epresentative of my personal values and wishes for society.   

Now the hard part. Before you finalize your organization’s vision statement ask yourself Are there gaps or conflicts against my personal vision? If your vision for your team is to engage and foster leadingedge technologies, but your organization’s goals do not support your vision – you will find yourself in unsustainable odds between your own and your team’s vision.    

Is there something that you need to change? Is your vision creating the gap, or are there corporate realities you need to consider? More importantly, what can you live with? What is too much of a compromise? What might you be able to do about it? The conflict will only fester if not resolved within yourself.      

Moving on to the Mission Statement  

Once you are good with your vision statement, move on to your mission statement. A mission statement is a brief description of a company’s fundamental purpose. It answers the question, “Why does our business exist?” Mission statements focus on what you must do to achieve the vision. It is in the here and now.  

Mission statements are as varied as the organizations they describe. All mission statements will “describe an organization’s present capabilities, customer focus, activities, and business makeup.(Source: Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases by Fred David) 

Boston College’s IT mission statement provides a great example:   

Information Technology Services provides secure, reliable, and integrated technology solutions in alignment with academic and administrative goals while delivering excellence in customer service.  

In support of this mission, we will:  

  • Partner with the University community to understand the information technology needs of faculty, staff, and students. 
  • Provide leadership and planning for the effective and strategic use of emerging technologies.
  • Demonstrate technical and operational excellence through a commitment to professionalism and continuous improvement.

A mission statement is a brief description of a company or an organizations fundamental purpose. It answers the question, “Why do we exist as an entity?  

The mission statement articulates the purpose both for those in the organization and for the public. It seems reasonable to follow through with sharing ITeffectivity’s mission statement as another example:   

ITeffectivity partners with IT leaders to deliver stakeholder requirements by enabling the capability and resourcefulness of the IT team members.    

This simple statement calls on the developing of the leadership skills of my client’s IT management team. A good leader is one who is always three steps ahead of the needs of the team. Most importantly, a leader looks after the need of the people before him or herself.   

Why Having a Vision and Mission Statement Is Important?  

Every IT organization should have a vision and mission statement, both as a way of ensuring that everyone in the organization is “on the same page” and to serve as a baseline for effective strategic planning.   

As a bonus, creating a vision and mission statement definition as a team can be a priceless priceless teambuilding exercise.   

To facilitate a strong team vision, ensure everyone understands the big picture – What does success look like for the company? It is essential to set the foundation that the team vision must directly support the company’s overall vision and strategy.   

Engage each team member individually to spark their thinking of the possibilities for the team.  Encourage them to define the characteristics of the team at their best. What would be different from today? Allow each individual to explore their thoughts on how they and the team would look and act differently. Most importantly, leave them to think about what it would take to get there.   

Then, bring them together in a workshop format to share and explore the creation of your organization’s vision and mission.  

Finally, come prepared to articulate what you will contribute as their leader.    

We will continue our discussion next week by looking at values.     

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 

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