As we evaluate the human capital aspect required for leading and managing a robust, future-focused IT operation today, the skills / knowledge (skills) required today are fundamentally different from the required skills of the past.
Current research tells us that organizations perform much better when their IT department has a seat at the strategic table and has the business skills to innovate, transform, and speak the language of the business. These are easy concepts to talk about, but much harder to implement and measure.
The ability to innovate, transform and speak the language of the business requires multiple, interdependent business skills. Just being technically competent is no longer adequate. The successful IT leader must be able to perform at sustainable peak levels for all the necessary business skills and here’s the challenge. When we speak with the C-Suite, below are the skills they expect from their senior IT leadership:
6 Critical Skills for the New IT Organization
Formerly, technical competencies, or what we refer to as knowledge skills, were the table stakes to be hired and move up the IT ladder. As a result, very many IT organizations have IT leaders sitting in critical leadership roles who have very few of the required leadership skills necessary to lead IT organizations into the future.
Formerly, when it was common practice to hire the best technical person for the job, if that same technical person did not possess the other necessary skills, or only 5/6th of the full skill set, what consequence will that have for the required robust, future-focused IT organization?
IT Human Capital Skills Gap Analysis
IT organizations are at a crossroads right now. It’s time for every IT organization to perform an IT Human Capital Skills Gap Analysis:
Step 1: Perform a human capital audit and benchmark each role against the business strategy
Step 2: Determine which roles are:
- Change leadership roles
- Maintenance leadership roles
- Knowledge roles
- Partner roles
Step 3: Determine the required optimal associated skills for each role
Step 4: Assess each employee at every level in the IT organization against determined role and skill benchmarks
Step 5: Determine the current ‘Skill Competency State of the Overall Organization”.
When conducting this type of audit, we often see that IT leadership and management professionals score moderate to high on technical skills but very low on leadership skills. This is to be expected since technical skills have been overweighed in the required skill mix. This is accompanied by the assumption that the leadership skills will ‘just happen’. We know that most leadership skills are learned skills that must be taught, monitored and measured. They don’t ‘just happen’ in either IT or in any other discipline.
Today’s organizations are experiencing rapid change at multiple levels. Most of that change will have an impact on, or be driven by, technology. Today and into the future, the IT function will be at the core of managing organizational responses to that change. If your IT leadership is not operating at ideal, peak performance, how can both IT and their organizations compete, grow and sustain profitability for future viability?
It’s time for IT to take a good look at itself, develop its human capital and get ready for the future. Make no mistake, it will not ‘just happen’!
Are you looking to build the IT department of the future? Download the IT Competency Checklist to help you determine if your IT Department is ready to perform at sustainable peak levels for all necessary business skills in your organization.