The Soft Skills ARE the Hard Skills
Developing a high performance IT team is more important than the technology you choose.
As IT leaders, we are usually familiar with, if not intimate with technology trends, issues, ROI, strategic technology plans, and more, but have typically not had training in "soft" skills such as managing people, hiring well, strategic thinking, selling the "invisible" concepts, value propositions, etc. Where does one start?
If you have been following my posts of late, you know I'm an advocate of reading good books.
After all, while not all readers are leaders, all leaders are readers.
After today, you should have all kinds of time on your hands since you don't have to follow the US election coverage.
I would suggest it's a good time to read at least one good book.
With all your new found free time, challenge yourself to find a mentor, and/or find a group of progressive thinkers (there are a few here on beBee) and build a network. Be willing to invest in yourself, and invest in your team. It's the people who make technology magic by deploying it well.
A good book to start with? I thought I'd highlight a book from my library that has been instrumental in my thinking.
Patrick Lencioni is an artist in storytelling, who takes a business model around organizational dynamics and makes it make sense. His "5 Dysfunctions of a Team" should be on every leader's shelf. Not just on the shelf to impress your visitors, but actually read.
Here's an excerpt from the review on Amazon:
Once again using an astutely written fictional tale to unambiguously but painlessly deliver some hard truths about critical business procedures, Patrick Lencioni targets group behavior in the final entry of his trilogy of corporate fables. And like those preceding it, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is an entertaining, quick read filled with useful information that will prove easy to digest and implement.
This time, Lencioni weaves his lessons around the story of a troubled Silicon Valley firm and its unexpected choice for a new CEO: an old-school manager who had retired from a traditional manufacturing company two years earlier at age 55.
Showing exactly how existing personnel failed to function as a unit, and precisely how the new boss worked to reestablish that essential conduct, the book's first part colorfully illustrates the ways that teamwork can elude even the most dedicated individuals--and be restored by an insightful leader.
A second part offers details on Lencioni's "five dysfunctions" (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results), along with a questionnaire for readers to use in evaluating their own teams and specifics to help them understand and overcome these common shortcomings.
You may find it different than many other leadership and business books. It's written as a fable, with a cast of characters you will surely recognize. The model is expanded at the end of the book, after you have seen it in action in the story.
Check out the book on Amazon here.
Here are some other recommendations from my recent post:
Images: Used under creative commons license.
About the Author:
I’m the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology.
I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.
In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee (www.bebee.com/@kevin-pashuk) , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at TurningTechInvisible.com.
I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream at www.flickr.com/photos/kwpashuk