What if you just got promoted or accepted a new job. Plop — there you are. I’ve got some bad news for you, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review, in 2006 about 40% of the CEOs who left their jobs had lasted average of just 1.8 years. If they can’t hang on to their new jobs for very long, what makes you think that you can? It sure looks like you are going to have to quickly figure out what is going on so that you can start to show some value. Great — just how does one go about doing that?
First, just what is a new Tech Manager / CIO supposed to figure out? Guess what — it’s the same thing that a new CEO would need to determine: how to boost profitability, increase market share, overtake competitors, etc. Now the trick here is that a CEO and someone in IT will have different levels that they control. A CEO only really controls two things: hiring/firing and budgets. An IT department member actually controls more: hiring/firing, technology selection, project progress, etc. The scope of their actions may differ; however, the goals are the same.
Here’s the trick: as a new leader you will need to gather information quickly. You can expect to be given somewhere in the neighbrohood of about 3-4 months to collect what you need. Be careful: most IT folks will start with whatever they know best. The problem is that the greatest improvements in you new area of responsiblity may not come from the areas that you know best!
There are four guideposts that every new IT leader needs to keep in mind when sizing up his new responsiblities:
- Costs / prices will always decline
- The company’s competative position determines your options
- Customers and sources of profits don’t stand still
- Simplicity gets results
Using these four guideposts as you process the information that has been collected will allow you to identify the specific IT areas that are within your control for which changes will yield the greatest benefit for the firm. At the end of the day, diagnosing the issue is only the first part of the process — next you need to decide where you want your team to go. In order to get there, you will need to define and implement initiatives based on your findings. Good luck!