Using Anxiety to drive improvement

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

There’s a great video over on the  Enterprise CIO Forum  with Enterprise CIO Forum editorial director Bill Laberis describing how CIO’s can leverage the ‘anxiety’ present withing IT Staff today. The video, titled Leveraging the anxiety in your IT staff,  initially put me off…when anyone talks about ‘leveraging’ things like anxiety…I get worried that the wrong message is being sent.

Not to worry though.  Mr. Laberis does a fine job of ensuring that you understand that his use of the word ‘leverage’ is meant with all positive connotations.

I’ve posted the video below for your benefit…take a few minutes to watch it as there are some excellent tips here.  I have a few discussion points posted after the video.

Some good ideas here.

In the past, as Mr. Laberis points out, an IT professional could enter the profession and learn one or two main skills and be set for their career.   This isn’t ideal today.  How many pure COBOL developers do you know today? How many did you know 20 year ago? I’d bet the number was higher 20 years ago.

Today’s IT professional needs to be able to have multiple skills.  But…with that multiple skill set, are we asking these professionals to multitask and de-focus? Will this de-focusing lead to poor performance? Or…will the additional skills that IT pro’s help them work through the information overload and allow them to focus even more?

One of the most important things a CIO and/or IT Leader can do for their organization is to help the IT team members grow.  Whether that’s by offering them challenging opportunities, helping them improve their skill set or even helping them grow into more rounded individuals.

Leveraging the anxiety within your team can be an extremely useful method in improving skill sets…but just be careful how you ‘leverage’ that anxiety.  Rather than use anxiety as a means to drive development, perhaps a better approach would be to consistently and constantly provide growth opportunities for your team.

Image credit: anxiety By FlickrJunkie on flickr

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

2 responses to “Using Anxiety to drive improvement”

  1. VirtChangesEverything Avatar

    If anxiety can lead to urgency that’s a good thing. When I think of skills shortage (or “growth opportunities” as you refer to them), converged cloud, comes to mind. Few organizations have folks that understand public
    cloud well or private cloud. Even fewer understand how to tie them
    together and move between them. When exposing teams to new skills (which
    can be met with anxiety), emphasize the role traditional best
    practices, that they already know, play in the success or failure of the

    Paul Calento
    (note: I work on projects sponsored by and HP)

  2. Rob Jefferies Avatar
    Rob Jefferies

    I couldn’t agree more, but I think the 93% statistic is misleading.  From my experience less than half of developers I have worked with are concerned about their skills becoming obsolete.  I think those are the same people who would complete an online survey.  The other half just go with the flow.  If you think about it you can still get a decent paying job in COBOL today.

    What I find disturbing is that in many of the organizations that I’ve worked for training is a privilege.    It’s a reward and not a part of the day to day job.  I think this leads to increased turnover as developers move to new organizations which are doing new things so they can learn new skills.  I sincerely believe that setting up a learning environment is critical to keeping key employees.