The Feld Framework For IT Leadership – (Part 6)
March 4, 2010
In my previous post, I discussed the plank HOW we do it. In the post, I will talk about WHO will accomplish the transformation.
Once a well articulated WHY, clearly defined WHAT and pathway to execution of HOW it is to be done is completed, the business transformation’s success depends on the leadership: WHO governs and leads the team through the phases. The leadership needs to understand and address the short- vs. long- term needs for the business and the business unit vs. the enterprise’s need for execution. The winning team will have the right talent, the right structure with clear decision making authority, and accountability. A strong and sustained leadership culture from the top of the organization to the front line is the only way to muster the energy for sustainable and systematic change. However, there is need for governance structure and processes.
WHO Principle 1—Organization matters: This requires (a) a process driven development teams, (b) a common services team, and (c) a world-class operations team. The IT team should be organized for most enterprises as follows, with a cradle-to-grave responsibility including design, code, test and support, with each group under a strong leader.
The development leader should relate to customer experience and deliver a superior end-to-end experience for the customer. An optimal team depends on the size of the enterprise. The basic organization structure could be as follows: VP with 6-10 direct reports presiding over each sub-function and each of them have teams with no more than 60-100 developers. Each front line manager should have a team of 8-12 people. This kind of organization has many advantages, for it provides stability, end-user intimacy and named accountability, creates a knowledge team and empowers developers by engaging them in real-time feedback.
Also, all developers should be educated in project management to reduce inefficiency and cost of project management.
Besides the process driven team, there is a need for a “common-services” team in every enterprise. The mission of this team is to design and build component code and frameworks that all other development teams can re-use. This improves the quality and cost of development. They also play a key role for this team to provide all of the inter-systems communications and messaging that is so critical to the seamless end-to-end operations.
Nothing is successful without a world-class operations team that is “ALWAYS ON” and is focused on providing a superior end-to-end customer experience. The team’s goal is to provide efficient deployment, fixes, provide robust security and immediate response to challenges, both internal and external.
WHO Principle 2—There are no perfect leaders, but great leadership teams. Leadership team should follow the following three steps (a) building an agenda, (b) building a foundation and (c)
having an impact
A) Building an Agenda
Key skills of great leadership:
1) Pattern recognition—the ability to see underlying relationships and understand the meaning beneath the surface. This skill helps to distinguish the important factors from the noise and craft a compelling story of the organization’s challenges and opportunities. Great executives are good at addressing the near-term issues of the enterprise, as well as the lead the team towards the future goals of the enterprise.
2) Street smart—pattern recognition focused on the people and organizations. Leaders need to understand how decisions are made—who the influencers, experts and blockers are in the organization— and who will tell you what you want to hear vs. what you need to know.
3) Technically savvy—the ability to sort complex issues independently and take advantage of organizational, business and technological opportunities while avoiding fads.
B) Building a Foundation
Leaders must show personal character. This means doing and saying what is right, not just what is expedient or what others want to hear, even if it is at substantial personal risk. The consistency of character is hard to describe, but easily recognized. The leader’s character will build trust in the enterprise and lead to success of the organizations.
Another important skill for great leaders is influence and persuasion. Leading other executives and front-line workers through a full scale business transformation that could be game changing will require strong influencing and persuasion ability.
C) Having an Impact
Leaders need to fully engage with their colleagues in the business. They should (a) provide input that business leaders actively seek out, (b) articulate unstated business needs, (c) guide organization to better processes and solutions and (d) tactfully challenge their colleagues’ position when necessary.
Leaders need to be resilient and solutions oriented. During the game-changing initiatives, one needs to develop new approaches to work over, around, and through obstacles and setbacks. To be successful once has to build a resilient organization.
WHO Principle 3—The culture of the organization is an important aspect in the success of leading change. Typically, culture is considered a soft topic and hard to describe. In reality it is actually a hard topic but easy to describe. Culture is like mortar that makes the building blocks (bricks) into a strong and durable wall. The culture that (a) builds trust, (b) provides hope, (c) shares enjoyment, and (d) leads to opportunity, builds a high performing team.
WHO will lead and manage the change?
- Trust in the staff is a must. The trust is cultivated by setting boundaries within which people (a) can have freedom to make decisions, to take risks, to speak their minds, and (b) have obligations to speak the truth, to be accountable for their decisions and to learn from their mistakes. Leaders, when evaluated on how well they shared their staffs with each other, tend to build trust among each other.
- Hope is important as people tend to flourish when they have believe they have hope to achieve great dreams. Leaders need to be realistic as well as optimistic to provide a hopeful environment.
- Enjoyment is important in the work environment, as people perform at peak levels when they enjoy what they do and with whom they work with. Real enjoyment at work comes when the team is deeply immersed in tacking a problem, and as one, perseveres and succeeds together.
- Opportunity to grow is important at all levels and for all degrees of performers. Implementing the “move meeting” concept for rotating the talent pool through projects of different skills and requirements, providing the talent pool opportunity to learn new things. Creating opportunities for highly talented workforce by recalibration of the workforce on a regular basis is also important.
- Line organizations own the performance management process.
- Both managers and employees play a critical role in improving organizational performance.
- Performance must be measured on two dimensions: performance objectives and demonstration of competencies/values.
- Performance contributions must be differentiated across like jobs.
- Performance contributions must be tied directly to compensation.
- Performance improvement requires feedback, coaching, and development opportunities.