Guest Column | May 22, 2019

Getting Strategic About IT Talent

By Andy Doyle, Point B

Attract And Retain Millennial Talent

Most IT organizations perform regular reviews of their strategies — assessing business requirements, the application landscape, and infrastructure needs. Unfortunately, not all IT organizations develop a comprehensive staffing strategy to align with their technology or corporate strategy. As IT teams face accelerating change and competition for talent, a staffing strategy can propel the organization to new success.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a successful IT strategy. The size, IT requirements, and business needs will define the organizational structure that best suits each business. Creating a staffing strategy can be just as challenging as creating a technology strategy: What works today may be quickly outdated. Increasing competitive demands and rapidly changing IT realities require regular reviews of current staff, immediate talent requirements, and long-term strategic needs.

High-performing IT organizations are often highly innovative and collaborative. They strive for continuous improvement even while dealing with legacy technologies. They don’t put up with common IT staffing challenges such as heroes and single points of failure, and work to avoid overwork and burnout. In part one this series we’ll explore ways to establish effective leadership and look at how you can create a team culture.

Align Leadership Strategy With The Times

Finding great IT leaders is tough and getting tougher. The best leaders bring technical breadth, business savvy, collaboration, and people skills and an aptitude for change. A few ways you can align leadership strategy with today’s needs include:

  • Recognizing the standard historical method of promoting the deepest technician rarely works in today’s complicated and rapidly changing IT world.
  • Supporting technically talented people with technical track leadership positions instead of managerial.
  • Providing the appropriate guidance, mentoring, and training to personnel by identifying managerial and technical strengths at early stages of their career.
  • Recognizing all leaders, whether technical or managerial, need strong communication skills as interactions with various IT teams — including architecture, application development, and infrastructure support — are critical for the overall health of the IT organization.
  • Providing coaching, teambuilding, and leadership development to help ensure these relationships are developed positively along with instilling the team culture in new leaders.
  • Ensuring the overall team dynamic is not overlooked, as it is an essential factor in promotions and leadership development.

IT and business transformations are the new norm. Leadership must be able to adapt and guide others through these changes. For example, technological innovation adoption (cloud, Agile, DevOps, hyper-converged infrastructure, software-defined networking, etc.) requires leaders who are comfortable with change and innovation and can more easily guide the team through it.

In hiring IT leaders who can best guide your organization through IT and business transformations, be sure to look for:

  • Innovators who are passionate explorers and can provide context and effective communication to their fellow team members and across the IT organization.
  • Candidates with an entrepreneurial mindset, who can showcase ideas through project and organizational innovation.
  • Individuals who welcome change and can help provide context and direction to their team, who address challenges with an open mind.

The Importance Of Team Culture

With solid leadership, you can create a strong culture that includes respect, collaboration, and innovation. Working with HR, define your team culture in a way that’s authentic and will be embraced by all team members. Both top down and bottom up cultural considerations are important for entire team ownership, along with rules of engagement when cultural tenets are violated.

By establishing a comprehensive staffing strategy that aligns with technology, cultural, and leadership responsibilities, you can better adapt to change and create a culture that attracts and retains high-quality talent.

Part 2 of our series will explore how to partner with HR in the face of resource challenges, and how to collaborate in developing an effective strategy while establishing a modern organizational structure.

About The AuthorAndy Doyle, Point B

Andy Doyle is a principal with Point B, an integrated management consulting, venture investment, and real estate development firm. With over 20 years of experience in technology leadership, Andy has successfully led large-scale efforts in data center migrations, IT infrastructure architecture definition, IT infrastructure project execution, and technology operations. He has deep expertise in project management, analysis and developing strategic plans for clients in the telecommunications, financial services, health care, technology, and professional services industries.