Communication Tips for IT Leaders
Leadership coach John Baldoni is up with a timely take on the way leaders communicate, using presidents Barack Obama and Franklin Roosevelt as cases in point.
"Explanation is a key attribute of leadership communications. Leaders know to inject their communications with verve and enthusiasm as a means of persuasion, but they also need to include an explanation for the excitement."
As Baldoni explains, leaders need to focus on three things to be most effective: 1) define what it is, 2) define what it isn't and 3) define what you want people to do.
These are some important lessons for IT execs. Let's put in their context:
1. Define what it is. This goes to the ongoing argument from business leaders that their IT leaders don't communicate their strategies and goals effectively. When pitching a new initiative or investment, IT leaders need to get down to business: that means zeroing on the business value the initiative or investment will provide.
2. Define what it isn't. For CIOs, this one's simple: it can't be about technology. Bring bits-and-bytes discussions into the executive suite, and you won't get what you want.
3. Define what you want people to do. This one has a few facets. Some would argue that the key thing here is -- going back to No. 1 -- to communicate business value. That's true, but it's easier said than done. Part of communicating is listening -- CIOs need to work with their business partners and hear their pain. Then they have to go out and find a solution, and make sure the business understands the benefits. The next step is to get their own IT teams in line -- make sure they realize the goals (and the imperative to accomplish them).
Sure, this may sound like common sense, and plenty of CIOs can say they do these things already. But in these tough times, walking the walk is far more important.
As we and plenty of others have noted, communication has never been IT's forte. Our recent story on the issue, along with three valuable pieces from a CIO, a consultant and an executive search leader add more dimensions to the issue.
Tell us: what are you doing to communicate more effectively with your business partners and your own team?