Learning IT Organizations

We’ve all heard the saying that leading by example is one of the most powerful ways of leadership. But ironically, it’s often the most overlooked. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” Gandhi once said.

The best way to create culture is to transmit culture. The most obvious ways to transmit culture is through teaching and coaching. IT managers and staff look up to their senior leaders for directions.  IT leaders should not limit their engagement with their employees with discussions about operation work. They should engage their subordinates in other meaningful ways so as to help them develop themselves.

The best IT teams must have a culture of continuous learning.  In IT organizations, developing employees is not optional, it is a necessity. Development is necessary to acquire the skills and learn the knowledge needed to keep up with new technology and processes in order to achieve business goals. Additionally, development programs in volatile and competitive organizations like IT are important in attracting and retaining employees. 

Information Technology needs future-oriented leaders. Arguably, it is the most unpredictable and most innovative area of the company. If the CIO is not forward-looking, IT will most likely neither be as competitive nor at par with competitors who are relentlessly pursuing innovation. IT leaders are fascinated about the future. They are relentless about change and impatient for progress. CIOs should always be looking forward to new technology and practices that are developing, searching for new processes, tools and methodologies and experimenting how it will make sense in business in the future.  

  • How many types of developmental conversations occur in your organization?
  • How can you create a culture of learning that goes beyond traditional classroom training?
  • In what ways do your communication tools and practices help build your team’s skills for participating in conversations about goals, changes, and barriers they face?

Photo coutesy of Ivy Remoreras Photography.

3 thoughts on “Learning IT Organizations

  1. Glenn,
    This concept is very true in any work environment situation. I have always felt that the most important task that any manager has is to train their employees, if not directly, then to provide the means.
    Employees who are well trained will take a more active part in the operation, as well as ownership to a point. Attitudes become more positive and an there is interest in doing the job better.

    In regards to the IT world, this does translate to inovation and interest in new technology. I have seen many employees take the initiative to take this learning further and even outside of the work place.
    The Manager’s interest and input into the importance of training is just the base on which this is built. They must continue coaching and encouraging their employees, recognize positive results, and always find the “face-to-face” time to prove how important the employees are.
    Great article – Thanks

    1. Thanks for this comment Jon. Very insightful! I built on from some of your thoughts and included it as input to an article I am writing for SSON. I do learn a lot from others commenting and collaborating with me through this medium. Appreciate it.

  2. Glenn, this is one of the most important posts I’ve read in a long time – short, sweet, and to an incredibly important point – continuous learning.

    From 30+ years of IT management consulting, I have found that a minority of IT organizations qualify as ‘learning organizations’ to any degree. And only a handful deserve to be held up as exemplars. Ironically, if you think about Senge’s Fifth Discipline (which some would describe as the bible of Learning Organizations), I find that it is rare to come across IT professionals that understand, let alone practice Systems Thinking. And remember – we’re talking about IT professionals – a discipline that should be driving Systems Thinking throughout their enterprises!

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