Home > IT Management, Leadership & People, Unstructured thoughts > Part 1: IT Organizational Development, Recruiting and other head hurting stuff

Part 1: IT Organizational Development, Recruiting and other head hurting stuff

Many things keep me up at night…but the thing that probably occupies my mental space the most is people – despite being an IT manager, I admit that IT isn’t what I think at night (but don’t tell my employer). My organizational capabilities stem from the quality of people I have. Needless to say that my success and failure depends on how I development, motivate, lead, direct, support my team to achieve our functional and business strategic objectives. Quite scary if you think about it – someone who works for me, could get me fired (see HBR OnPoint Article 1723 by Linda Hill for an interesting read on what it means to be “the Boss”). And being that I’m a selfish individual interested only in my self-preservation, neglecting this basic managerial work would be a “career limiting” move, you’d think? Of course, I don’t just think about “my functional” people, but all people in the organization because engaging with staff is an opportunity to learn, teach, share information and isn’t that what “knowledge workers” are supposed to be doing?

So with this period of immense competitive business challenges, our organization is also moving to develop new internal capabilities and skill sets to meet them which means – recruitment. I learned something during the process — it’s damn hard and it’s really damn hard. My experience tracks….umm, validates, Anonymous CIO’s piece in his CIO Confidential column from March 2000(!) – surprised? The more things change, the more things stay the same!

I’d put it another way:
1. IT depts need to be stable because IT service is a 24x7x365 function and no amount of SLAs and outsourcing will ever provide close to what the core internal IT team must do for its customer. That’s why indiscriminate outsourcing strategies are demoralizing to staff because they’re like earthquakes to the team. The nature of IT service doesn’t change, but how it is provided does and often not in the way it should be.
2. IT turnover has the effect of a bullet in the foot – each IT piece that’s dislodged causes a domino affect and creates more stress along the fault lines that’s always there in the nature of IT work.
3. Finding the right IT person is not unlike finding the next CEO. Uh, ok, that was over-the-top, but here me out… like CEOs, IT people need to be generalists at heart despite their role as technical specialists. The reason they need to be generalists is because they are the natural keepers of how business’ are run – understanding end to end business processes, information flows, provider of business infrastructure… Try running a business without a proper working IT function and you’ll find out how brain damaged it is – ask anyone who’s ever worked in a Chinese company and you’ll realize the sheer idiocy and futility they go through.

With this context, Part 2 will look at lessons learned from recruiting IT analysts, helpdesk engineers, business analysts (BAs), and project managers.

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