Culture in IT

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.

As a leader, the only real lever you have to change culture is to change your own behavior and set an example.

Culture should be intentional and by design. A leader needs to work with her leadership team to decide beforehand how to behave differently and how to recognize and deal with each other when someone does not.

A leader also needs to work with employees who are having a hard time to change and give them the extra help they need. Eventually, the organization must recognize and deal with employees who cannot accept the change.

Mergers and acquisitions can often fail due to culture clashes. A leader must be mindful and intentional when attempting to design a culture for the merged IT organizations.

An IT leader sometimes will want to establish an IT culture independently from the business culture. Be careful about making this choice. The undesirable outcome can surface when the IT culture is too different from the overall business culture. The difference in culture can cause ongoing problems with IT’s integration with the rest of the enterprise.