Links for April 17 2011

Technology Consultant - Eric D. Brown | Image for link posts
  • Because You Matter by Danny Brown on Social Media Marketing Blog

    Quote: We spend so much time wondering how we can be like someone else. How we can have that person’s success. But you know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with who you are. Right here. Right now.

  • What High-Performing Companies Track by Skip Reardon on Six Disciplines

    Quote: A study on HR metrics by i4cp shows that higher-performing companies are more apt to measure talent-related metrics than lower performers. Common talent-related metrics include movement within the organization, quality of hires, quality of promotions and the cost of training/development.

  • Make Your Content Make a Difference By Colleen Jones on Smashing Magazine

    Quote: Content strategy is planning for every aspect of content to get results. That goes far beyond writing the copy. When getting strategic about content, focus on three key areas: analysis, editorial and architecture. While explaining content strategy in detail literally requires a book (or two or three), I’d like to share with you a concise introduction to each area in this article.

  • Greasing The Skids of Communication by Elmer Boutin on The Crossing of Marketing and IT

    Quote: There is a lesson to be learned. I propose those IT and Marketing departments who find themselves in disagreement consider having an in-house technology summit. At this meeting, sit down and discuss the challenges each side faces in an open and honest way. At the end, with guidance and direction in hand, appoint a person from each side to be the liaison who will be empowered to communicate and help make decisions on behalf of their department. Let those two work out the priorities and permissions and bring the results to their respective departments.

  • The 4 Ways IT is Driving Innovation an interview with Erik Brynjolfsson on The Magazine – MIT Sloan Management Review

    Quote: Information technology is also a catalyst for complementary changes: It’s what economists call a “general purpose technology” that sets off waves of complementary innovations in things like business processes, new ways of reaching customers, new ways of connecting to suppliers, internal organization to the company. These complementary changes are often 10 times as large as the size of the initial investments in the IT itself and have profound and long-lasting effects on our ability to create goods and services.

  • This Old Thing?: Why new technology needs to keep old technology in mind by Hana Schank on UX Magazine

    Quote: As we develop new technologies, we need to think about all of the unintentional yet important information old technology communicates. As an information architect, I find myself making the counter argument so frequently—that we need to think about new processes and new models—that it’s easy to overlook the importance of the old model

  • Putting Personal Choice into Enterprise IT? by Michael Fauscette:

    Quote: Both the bottom up employee grassroots efforts and the new top down CIO policy shift signal a change for IT in a much broader sense. Web 2.0 taught us that software and tech tools can be simple, elegant and mask complexity while increasing productivity and functionality. The IT shop of the future is one that continues to effectively manage risk and security but also empowers employees by enabling personal choice that will increase productivity and satisfaction.

Links for Jan 3 2010

Competing with Pirates by Mark Fidelman on Seek Omega and Cross Posted on CloudAve

Why Planning Is Important, Your Plan is Not by George Krueger and Mary-Lynn Foster on Blog For Profit

Are You Willing to Lose Your Best and Brightest Over a Bag of Pretzels? by Vincent Ferrari on KnowHR Blog

Breaking Through Organizational Silos in HR by Lance Haun on Rehaul by Lance Haun

I Can’t (Read: Don’t Want To) Change by Julien Smith on in over your head

Why You Should Fire Yourself by Ron Ashkenas on HarvardBusiness.org

Project Leadership Lessons From a Jigsaw Puzzle by Kevin Eikenberry on Kevin’s Blog

Partnering in Outsourcing Deals: Is It a Myth or a Genuine Strategy? by Sara Cullen on The Cutter Blog | Debate Online

When Your Company Culture Isn’t Ready for Social Media by Jeanne C Meister and Karie Willyerd on HarvardBusiness.org

Three Enterprise 2.0 Themes You Should Be Watching in 2010 by Hutch Carpenter on I’m Not Actually a Geek

Marketing, technology, and storytelling by Scott Brinker on Chief Marketing Technologist

A Breakdown in Culture, Communication, and Technology by Gene De Libero

10 Ways to Get Serious About Social Media by Amber Naslund on Altitude Branding

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Don’t let the big (or small) words win – The New CIO Series

In the world of  technology we tend to use either really big words, really small words and/or acronyms.

What do you think of when you think of  ‘the cloud’ what do you think of?  Do you think about Amazon‘s EC2 or S3 or do you think about  “Parallel and Distributed Processing”?  Both could be right but neither are instructive to the ‘business’ user.  For that matter, is “the cloud” instructive to the business? Probably not.

The New CIO & Language

There’s a lot of talk in the business world about finding IT leaders who can speak to the business. I agree wholeheartedly…but I also think the business needs to learn to speak to the IT world too….but I’ve covered that in detail in a post titled Information Technology Leadership and Alignment. Moving on.

To help align business and IT, The New CIO needs to first look at the language of IT.  Get rid of the big words….and perhaps the small words if they aren’t clear enough.  Look at your IT group’s language to make sure acronyms and tech-jargon are purged from the external facing documentation and communication.  Take a long look at what you communicate to the organization and how you communicate to make sure you aren’t letting the tech-speak take over.

Want to really take it up a notch and make sure you’re communicating what the organization needs to hear? Bring in a marketer and a   communications person to build an IT marketing and communication plan for your team.  Your organization has marketing plans for how you’ll attack the market, why can’t you have one for how you’ll communicate to the rest of the organization?

Be careful though…you don’t want to get too far into business language or you’ll end up using the same marketing/business jargon that every other group within your organization uses.  Keep it simple and real and you’ll be fine.

Next time the CEO asks you “what’s this cloud computing thing I keep hearing about?”, how will you respond?  Big words or the right words?

The New CIO is a weekly article about the challenges facing today’s CIO as well as what can be done to prepare for future challenges. Join me next week for another article in the series.

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Jeffrey Phillips on Intense Ambiguity

I just read a great post by Jeffrey Phillips titled Intense Ambiguity that really brought into light what it’s like working for a boss or organization that has no clear strategy and vision.

What does Intense Ambiquity mean?  Jeffrey defines it as:

…significant pressure from the management team to do something – especially new and interesting things. However, there isn’t necessarily a corresponding amount of clarity about what those things should be. So, there’s a lot of pressure to get things done, just no one is really sure what kinds of things should be done.

Intense Ambiguity defines this situation perfectly.

How many readers out there have found themselves in the same situation? You work your butt off in reactive mode trying to do ‘something’ but there is no real vision or strategy to help define what that ‘something’ should be.

Jump over and read the rest of Jeffrey’s Intense Ambiguity post for more insight.

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So you want to be a Change Agent?

I was recently reading Dagmar Recklies’ article titled What Makes a Good Change Agent? and started thinking about some of the people that I know who are good at change…and some who completly destroy any opportunities for change.

In the article, 15 Competencies are listed that a good change agent should have.  These competencies are:

15 Key Competencies of Change Agents

  1. Sensitivity to changes in key personnel, top management perceptions and market conditions, and to the way in which these impact the goals of the project.
  2. Setting of clearly defined, realistic goals.
  3. Flexibility in responding to changes without the control of the project manager, perhaps requiring major shifts in project goals and management style.
  4. Team-building abilities, to bring together key stakeholders and establish effective working groups, and to define and delegate respective responsibilities clearly.
  5. Networking skills in establishing and maintaining appropriate contacts within and outside the organization.
  6. Tolerance of ambiguity, to be able to function comfortably, patiently and effectively in an uncertain environment.
  7. Communication skills to transmit effectively to colleagues and subordinates the need for changes in the project goals and in individual tasks and responsibilities.
  8. Interpersonal skills, across the range, including selection, listening, collecting appropriate information, identifying the concerns of others, and managing meetings.
  9. Personal enthusiasm in expressing plans and ideas.
  10. Stimulating motivation and commitment in others involved.
  11. Selling plans and ideas to others by creating a desirable and challenging vision of the future.
  12. Negotiating with key players for resources, for changes in procedures, and to resolve conflict.
  13. Political awareness in identifying potential coalitions, and in balancing conflicting goals and perceptions.
  14. Influencing skills, to gain commitment to project plans and ideas form potential skeptics and resisters.
  15. Helicopter perspectives, to stand back from the immediate project and take a broader view of priorities.

Looks like a fairly good list.

Take a look at some of the main terms found in these competencies.  You’ll see words like:

  • Sensitivity
  • Flexibility
  • Networking
  • Tolerance
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal
  • Political Awareness
  • Influencing

Great list…and one that many many people overlook when they are trying to bring change into an organization.

If you want to be a Change Agent, the first thing on your agenda should be to understand where the organization (and you) have been.

The second thing you need to do?  Listen.

Why is listening so important?  Because you can’t change what you don’t know or understand.  The only way to learn and understand is to listen to the organization and the people within it. In order to create lasting and meaningful change, you’ve got to understand why things have been done before you suggest changing things.

For lasting change, take a look at the 15 competencies above and make them your competencies. Do this and the change you want might just be a bit easier to bring about.

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Moose on the Table

Just finished reading “Moose on the Table“by Jim Clemmer.

Before I get into the review, let me define “moose on the table.”  According to the author, it is a rephrasing of the old saying “the elephant in the room”…as in…the thing nobody wants to discuss (or can discuss, etc).

Jim Clemmer uses a fable to tell the story of an organization that is in need of leadership and change…but the ‘leader’ is brow-beater who only wants someone to agree with him.  The story follows Pete Leonard as he works his way through some issues at work and at home.  Pete attends a seminar and realizes that the way his boss is acting is forcing the organization down into the depths of failure and that he and the other folks need to make an effort to “face the moose”.

The author provides some concepts about how to deal with the moose on the table…some are novel and others aren’t but all are great ideas that can be implemented by anyone trying to approach solving a problem like a moose on the table.

The basic outcome of the story is this:  When a problem rears up, communicate and solve the problem rather than rather than talk around it, place blame for the problem or go into ‘pity city’ (e.g., poor me, etc).  Leadership and communication are key to solving the “moose on the table” problem.

This book is a good read and is short enough to finish quickly.  The concept is a good one and the story is engaging.  I’d recommend it to anyone out there who is dealing with a “moose on the table”.

NOTE: This book was provided by the publisher as an advanced review copy.

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