Key Strategy Questions for Your IT Staff
As a follow up to my last post, I want to suggest some important questions CIOs should ask themselves about how their senior staff perceives strategy.
â¢ How does the business use strategy to gain competitive advantage? â¢ How do we integrate IT strategy with the company's business units? â¢ How do you articulate and communicate IT strategies to the business? â¢ How do you implement your IT strategies, including mentoring/coaching follow-up, to support transfer to strategy work on current challenges?
You might be surprised at the answers you get. My research suggests that there will likely be a difference to what you think they perceive as strategy and how they actually implement it. Here are some pointers that I use at Columbia and with clients to help ensure that the differences are minimal:
â¢ Make sure that you have a clear definition of strategy. â¢ What strategy means at your company vs. general definitions. â¢ Historical patterns, theories, approaches in strategy development and implementation that have occurred in your company. â¢ Align strategic methods with their past experiences within the culture. â¢ Ground strategy in your likely unique IT environment. â¢ Link strategy to an educational program that allows your staff to better develop vision and practice how they present such strategy to the business.
I think you will find that this process helps to develop your staff's ability to establish winning strategies by applying learning and practice to current strategic challenges. It also addresses organizational influences on success, e.g. repositioning, goals/scope, and the company's internal supports and barriers, such as communication, systems and leadership.
Arthur Langer is senior director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Community Engagement at Columbia University. To read Art's monthly analysis columns in CIO Insight, click here.