Setting IT Direction

In 2011, author Bob Lewis published the book, “Leading IT: Still the toughest job in the world, Second edition.” The book tackles some of the most challenging areas to address in an IT organization. Often the problems have little to do with the technology nor the process. The issues usually have to do with the people, inside and outside of the IT organization.

Here are the takeaway lessons I picked up from reading the book.

The first step in leading is to set a direction. By setting the direction, the leader creates focus. The focus is the difference between getting results and wasting resources.

Vision and mission are essential for leading because they help provide focus. They, however, are different.

Vision articulates a new end-state, after the change. The leader needs to involve her team in defining the vision but should lead the process. The leader owns the vision.

Mission articulates what the organization exists to accomplish. The leader let her managers own the missions. The leader works hard to ensure the vision and the mission are compatible with each other.

Good leaders balance between focus and flexibility/adaptability.

Effective leaders also recognize that vision and mission is only 1% of the organizational effort. You will need everyone putting forth the rest of 99% to get results.