The Secret to Sustaining an Empowered Culture
At StrataFusion, we like to share what we are seeing and learning at Information Technology and Services organizations that are in sync with the business and delivering great results. One of the best predictors of success is a vibrant culture. In the systems world, we stress the importance of people, process and technology, and there’s a reason why the word “people” comes first. So what can you do to connect with your teams and build a strong culture?
Three Keys to Unlock World Class IT Culture
- Articulate your message. First and foremost, ensure your IT strategy, project portfolio and focus areas are directly and dynamically tied to business imperatives and goals that your team understands.
- Encourage participation. The perspectives people bring to the table are crucial for success, and a feedback loop instills collaboration and enriches contribution. Value diverse knowledge sources by bringing in team members from other business areas to cross-pollinate and innovate.
- Invest in your people. Winning the talent war is a never-ending journey. Organizations must hire and continuously provide training and development opportunities to people who are energetic, tolerate ambiguity and are excited to learn new approaches and skills.
The Power of Culture
Culture plays a bigger role in IT success than many leaders think. It’s an attention-getter that shines through in your best people, as they also recruit the highest potential new employees. Culture must clearly articulate authentic company values, and these enrich your product and services. A strong culture is built on a foundation of trust. This means maintaining an environment that challenges the status quo and offers learning experiences – from success and failures – to clear the way for risk and rewards. It also means enabling teamwork and promoting diversity, because everyone brings a unique skill set and point of view to the table.
How can you strengthen culture? Hire, train and then empower employees to work with accountability. Take an agile approach and provide maximum flexibility to meet business needs. Reward self-management successes and discourage micro-managers. Never neglect communication of good or bad news so people understand the organization’s goals, IT strategy, plan and results. It’s crucial to update progress frequently and get input about how your team can tangibly support it.
Today’s IT teams have innovative ideas to bring to business collaboration, so take advantage of it. When you are truly committed to cultivating a culture of growth, the payoff is huge.
This is the first blog installment in a series on building world-class IT. The next installment will focus on building teams and careers.