How do you set your IT team up for success when you delegate business-facing responsibilities to them?

Top Answer : Some of it is the hiring you do and looking for IT professionals that not only understand technology and how to use technology as part of their toolkit, but also are business people and have a business mindset around delivering business value and identifying business opportunities. For existing staff, it's leading by example and setting up the structure of how you engage with your other business partners. There may be a lot of informal structure there, but you have to set up a formal structure of, “hey, we are going to have these types of conversations in this sort of a structure with this audience of people,” and model that behavior. I needed to lead from the front and demonstrate what I am looking for. In some cases it is something they already know how to do, and in others there is some coaching for them to operate in that model. Monthly check-ins are a great way to have constant dialogue and calibration. I think that there's maturity there, too. I think as you move from getting the framework, dialogue, and planning together, the next piece of this is to have shared metrics. For finance, for example, it may be “we want to close the books in a day.” That's a great metric because there's a bunch of business value attached to that metric. So that becomes a shared metric that not just finance has, but the IT organization supporting finance has. They together look at the projects, investments, processes, and technology, whatever it is that they think they need to do, to make that number get to the target. So then it becomes all a hundred percent focused on a business outcome and key metric that moves the needle for the organization. So, I think it's a phased approach. You get the structure in place. I think for many CIOs, that's where they want to get to. They want to be part of delivering the key metrics for the organization. They want to be tied directly to that metric because if they move the needle, it has lots of really good outcomes.

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Some of it is the hiring you do and looking for IT professionals that not only understand technology and how to use technology as part of their toolkit, but also are business people and have a business mindset around delivering business value and identifying business opportunities. For existing staff, it's leading by example and setting up the structure of how you engage with your other business partners. There may be a lot of informal structure there, but you have to set up a formal structure of, “hey, we are going to have these types of conversations in this sort of a structure with this audience of people,” and model that behavior. I needed to lead from the front and demonstrate what I am looking for. In some cases it is something they already know how to do, and in others there is some coaching for them to operate in that model. Monthly check-ins are a great way to have constant dialogue and calibration. I think that there's maturity there, too. I think as you move from getting the framework, dialogue, and planning together, the next piece of this is to have shared metrics. For finance, for example, it may be “we want to close the books in a day.” That's a great metric because there's a bunch of business value attached to that metric. So that becomes a shared metric that not just finance has, but the IT organization supporting finance has. They together look at the projects, investments, processes, and technology, whatever it is that they think they need to do, to make that number get to the target. So then it becomes all a hundred percent focused on a business outcome and key metric that moves the needle for the organization. So, I think it's a phased approach. You get the structure in place. I think for many CIOs, that's where they want to get to. They want to be part of delivering the key metrics for the organization. They want to be tied directly to that metric because if they move the needle, it has lots of really good outcomes.
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