Discover Performance Blog
Welcome to the Discover Performance blog, a resource for enterprise IT leaders who share a passion for performing better. Here you’ll find strategic insights and best practices from your peers as well as from HP’s own practitioners who help others define, measure and achieve better IT performances.

The washed-up CIO: From up-and-comer to persona non grata

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Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

 

We’ve all read books and seen movies about promising executives whose rising careers transform into crashing failures. Perhaps you’ve even seen it firsthand—even worse, perhaps it has happened to you. It can happen for a number of reasons, perhaps due to ethical or moral failures. Sometimes, as I explored in an earlier post on executive derailment, the problem can be traced to an IT executive’s failure to build and nurture peer relationships. But sometimes it is something else.

Labels: IT leadership

How CIOs should handle high-maintenance IT workers

high-main.jpgJoel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

High-maintenance employees can be frustrating to manage and, if you let them, they can suck the life out of you and consume large chunks of your day. They come in a variety of forms—here are some common types you might have come across in your IT shop, and ways to handle them. I would welcome your comments on these as well as others that have challenged you.

Labels: IT leadership

How CIOs can avoid jumping the track—and running off the rails

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Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

 

It’s highly likely that you can think of an executive—either well-established or up-and-coming—who has jumped the track and run completely “off the rails.” Perhaps they were able to recover and achieve greater success, but in most cases a major derailment becomes an ugly train wreck of a once-promising career.

 

What causes otherwise highly competent executives to derail? The Center for Creative Leadership began studying derailment in the 1970s and early 1980s. Their work found basically four areas that led to derailment:

Labels: IT leadership

4 things that Warren Buffet does—and why CIOs should take note

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Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

 

I have long been fascinated with Warren Buffet. He has neither the bearing nor the speech that one would expect from an extremely wealthy investor and business magnate. I find he is further set apart by his restrained, levelheaded approach to investing. There is much wisdom to be found in his business management and investment philosophies that can benefit CIOs. The following insights were gleaned from an annual letter he sent to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders some years ago, and a subsequent interview he gave shortly thereafter on CNBC.

 

Labels: IT leadership

Big Data ditches its training wheels, what IT success looks like in 2014, more

If you’ve not yet checked out the January edition of Discover Performance, you’re missing out on some great interviews. Discover Performance caught up with several HP leaders to get their insights on: IT’s changing roles and responsibilities; how IT Ops can communicate better with LOBs; the evolution of Big Data; and why CISOs must evangelize security to the business. Once you’ve whetted your appetite with the conversation nuggets collected here, check out the full stories in the links that follow.

Labels: IT leadership

How your IT shop can become “self-actualized”

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Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

 

In 1943, American psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced his hierarchy of needs in the paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Maslow’s hierarchy, often depicted as a pyramid, illustrates that humans have essential psychological and physical needs that must be met in order to realize their maximum potential. At the base of the pyramid is a foundation of physiological needs such as water, food, air and sleep; the pyramid’s apex culminates with “self-actualization”: self-awareness, concern with personal growth, less concern with the opinions of others and interested fulfilling their potential). If you are not familiar with the theory, see this link for a good overview.

 

Labels: IT leadership

The CIO’s New Year’s resolution: A new year, a new you

Joel Dobbs.GIF

Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

 

A number of years ago, I wrapped up a bad—and I mean bad—year. It had begun on an upbeat note, but by early summer there was a storm on the horizon. Problems were brewing on several fronts and things began to go south. Initiatives soured, and a trusted, longtime executive (whom I’d known for years) dropped the ball repeatedly, failing to deal with lingering problems. All of this became a perfect storm of bad news. The last half of the year found me bailing out the ship; by the time the autumn leaves were falling, I had to fire my colleague. It was, to quote Queen Elizabeth, my annus horribilis.

 

Labels: IT leadership

HP Discover 2013: How IT leaders can see around corners

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Before you finalize your New Year’s resolutions, check out these great future-looking videos captured earlier this month at HP Discover 2013 in Barcelona. They investigate what’s next for the enterprise as a whole, and the CIO in particular. The takeaways can help you see what to focus on in the coming months—and years—as an IT leader.

 

What if you could see around corners and plan ahead before changes in the IT landscape impact you? That’s the impetus for this conversation between HP Strategic Marketing VP Paul Muller and Director Mike Shaw, who discuss the Enterprise 2020 initiative.

Labels: IT leadership

CIO ethics check: 5 moral pitfalls to avoid

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Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

 

A business leader—be it a sage senior executive or a newly appointed junior manager—will at some point face a temptation that tests the limits of his or her ethics. Through the years, I’ve witnessed dozens of people who, due to momentary weakness, compromised their ethics or morals; as a result, they torpedoed their careers, seriously damaged or destroyed their company and, in one case, ended up in prison. As Bill Watterson’s Hobbes once lamented in the beloved Calvin & Hobbes comic strip, "I don't know which is worse, that everyone has his price, or that the price is always so low."

Labels: IT leadership

HealthCare.gov lesson learned: Know what you don’t know

Joel Dobbs.GIF

Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

 

Stewart Brand, IT thought leader and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, said, "Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road." As I have been following the trials and tribulations of the healthcare.gov roll out, I wonder if we—as Brand observed—have become part of the road.

Labels: IT leadership

Modernization can be a lifesaver for CIOs drowning in the maintenance pool

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Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

 

On CIO Forum, I wrote a post titled Are you committing career suicide? that quoted liberally from Bob Evans’ recent thoughtful article in Forbes titled Career Suicide and the CIO: 4 Deadly New Threats. In that article, Evans’ fourth deadly threat is “Surrendering to the 80/20 budget trap.” He describes the issue this way:

 

“…unless CIOs lead the way in reducing the portion of their overall IT budgets now spent on low-value infrastructure and keeping the lights on (it’s typically between 70% and 80%), then they will never liberate the funds necessary to invest in and create customer-facing applications and other innovative approaches to growth and engagement.”

Labels: IT leadership

The paradox of personal privacy

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Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

 

“Privacy as we knew it is virtually gone. Why should you care?” — Lew McCreary

 

In Wounded Prophet, a biography of Catholic priest and writer Henri Nouwen, author Michael Ford quotes a friend of Nouwen who said, “I don’t believe that Henri ever had an unpublished thought.”

 

Perusing most social media, especially the steady stream of tweets and Facebook posts, I can empathize with the very prolific Nouwen’s friend; I have the same reaction to thousands of my fellow human beings. Is there anything some people won’t — or don’t — say about themselves?

Labels: IT leadership

Why CIOs should mind their own “busyness”

Joel Dobbs.GIFJoel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm.

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” — Henry David Thoreau

On a cross-country flight several years ago, I struck up a conversation with an elderly gentleman who was my seatmate. As fate would have it, he was Chairman Emeritus of the sociology department at a respected East Coast university; I was quite curious about the areas that were hot research topics when he received his Ph.D. in the 1950s — and how the field had changed since. Our conversation left me fascinated.

Labels: IT leadership

Future CIOs will look a lot like entrepreneurs, Pt. III

Joel Dobbs.GIF

Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business. Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Enterprise CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.

 

 

“Innovation is the next frontier for all CIOs, and now is the time for the CIO to prepare and take action.” — Vinod Baya, Galen Gruman, and Bud Mathaisel

 

The preceding quote, from PwC’s The strategic CIO’s new role in innovation report, summarizes the opportunity in front of CIOs today. As I explored in my previous posts, CIOs cannot innovate alone. To truly get innovation into their companies’ DNA, CTOs must build teams with skills that complement their own abilities and other members of the team. Next, CIOs must foster an organizational culture that encourages, recognizes and rewards innovation.

Labels: IT leadership

Future CIOs will look a lot like entrepreneurs, Pt. II

Joel Dobbs.GIF

Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business. Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Enterprise CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.

 

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100x times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” — Steve Jobs

 

In my previous post, I examined traits found in top entrepreneurs and explored the idea that adopting an “entrepreneurial spirit” can bring continued success to CIOs. In this second installment, I’ll delve into a trait most commonly associated with entrepreneurship: innovation.

Labels: IT leadership

Future CIOs will look a lot like entrepreneurs

Joel Dobbs.GIF

Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business.  Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Enterprise CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.

 

“This defines entrepreneur and entrepreneurship - the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity.” – Peter Drucker

 

Unlike most other C-level titles, the role of CIO is relatively new. The role has evolved rapidly in the past 20 years since it first emerged, and the role has been further complicated by quickly changing technology as well as the transition of once-obscure, complex technologies into the mainstream of everyday life. Being a successful CIO requires balancing an organization that delivers flawlessly in both operations and service with one that is creative, innovative and strategic. No mean feat, by any means.

Labels: IT leadership

CIOs must lead, mentor—or get out of the way

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Russell Reynolds Associates recently surveyed nearly 1,000 IT leaders worldwide, and the resulting report (“Rethinking People Leadership in IT”) includes some startling insights about IT leadership, mentoring and the changing role of the CIO. After reading the report, I caught up with Shawn Banerji, managing director at Russell Reynolds Associates, who says it’s a brave new world for CIOs and CTOs.

 

“The days of saying—‘I’m an IT guy with a pretty good personality, the businesspeople like me, and that’s what allows me to rise up and separate myself from the rest of the propeller-heads’—are over,” Banerji proclaims. “You must be a terrific businessperson.” Part of being a terrific businessperson includes the ability to lead and mentor IT staff, helping them develop people skills. Interestingly, the RRA report found that IT leaders ranked people skills as most important to the success of the function—and as most in need of improvement among their teams.

Labels: IT leadership

5 steps to keep you from falling victim to being a victim

Joel Dobbs.GIF

Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business.  Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Enterprise CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.

 

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” -- James Allen

 

In a business like IT, it is easy to go down the slippery slope to victimhood. After all, we have few secrets in this business. In many companies where literally everything is dependent in some way on IT, when something goes wrong everyone knows it.  It is also an unfortunate reality that in many organizations IT frequently gets blamed unjustly or used as a scapegoat for problems.

Labels: IT leadership

Seven questions for examining the ethics of a business decision

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Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business. Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Enterprise CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.

 

“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.” – Potter Stewart

Labels: IT leadership

CIOs: What’s holding you back? The essence of IT leadership

joel dobbs.gifBy Joel Dobbs

 

Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business.  Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Enterprise CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.

 

We all hold attitudes, prejudices and beliefs that, if allowed to go unchallenged, limit our effectiveness as leaders. Focusing on what we can’t do instead of what we can do constrains us in ways we cannot begin to imagine. 

So how does this play out in the life of a CIO?  Here are a few examples of how an attitude can get in the way and not let a CIO perform better.

 

 

Labels: IT leadership

How to create an open and honest IT department

joel dobbs.gifJoel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business.  Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Executive CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.

 

How many times have you found that that your unwillingness to hear the truth has come back to bite you?  I have learned that lesson more than once.  Here are my top lessons for IT leaders seeking to create an environment of openness and honesty.

Labels: IT leadership

Provide options if you want to persuade others

Joel Dobbs.GIFRecently I had a lengthy phone call with an IT executive at a large, Midwestern company with whom I have been working. The company is in the process of assimilating a sizable acquisition and there is a significant item that, if not dealt with, will likely blow up in his face.  The problem he faces is that he can’t seem to sell the company’s CEO and other key executives on the need for addressing it as they are preoccupied with other things.  His question to me was “How can I be more effective in persuading these people?”

 

All of us, no matter what our industry or role, need to be able to effectively persuade others. Here are some suggestions how to do this.

Labels: IT leadership

3 keys to sustaining transformation projects for successful outcomes

tony price.JPGBy Tony Price, World Wide Lead for Strategy and Transformation Consulting, HP Software Professional Services

 

Early this year I got a phone call from one of my customers who asked me to "come in and work your magic". They were 18 months into a 24 month-long IT transformation project and things were running significantly behind. We went in and we turned things around. We reminded everyone of the reasons for transformation and the short-term wins that they'd already achieved. We listened to and responded to everyone’s concerns and we won their hearts and minds.

 

It's flattering that clients think I can work magic, but I'm not a magician. What I do is something that every IT transformation leader can do—it's recognising that the success of a project is highly dependent on getting people behind the change. And that's done by appealing to their emotions, i.e., winning their hearts as well as their minds.

 

Labels: IT leadership

Cultivate strong followership with these 7 principles

Follow to lead small.pngMany organizations spend a great deal of time and money cultivating leaders. But when you think about how much more of the organization is made up of followers, it begs the question: How do we cultivate great followership?

Labels: IT leadership

How CIOs can become change agents and deal with rapid rate of change

paulandjake.PNGIndependent blogger, videographer and tech expert Jake Ludington recently sat down with HPSW Chief Evangelist Paul Muller to discuss exactly that and how both see the role of IT changing and what we can expect to see in the future.

 

Traditionally IT’s role was to provide the infrastructure or the plumbing that is the foundation for business operations. But that role is going away (or to a less senior manager within IT) as the CIO moves into a more strategic role, using technology to help speed business innovation. As the CIO moves to a producer role, he or she becomes more of a change agent who delivers the innovations that move a company forward. The CIO becomes, Paul says, more like an orchestra conductor and less of just another member of the ensemble.

Labels: IT leadership

How to maximize your leadership potential

joshuabrusse.jpgBy Joshua Brusse, Chief Architect, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP Software Professional Services

 

If you’re a manager in IT, I urge you to think about ways you can develop your leadership capabilities. Why is this so important? Simply put, businesses have less and less need of managers. Two workforce trends bear this out: the shift to outcome-based management (which I wrote about in an earlier post) and the culture of the younger generation, who are turned off by too much management. Managers are managing the status quo. But the future is about becoming innovative. We need people who are continually leading innovation (and therefore change). In the future, we won’t need managers. But we will need leaders, especially charismatic leaders.

 

I believe if you have leadership potential, you can take it one step further and become a charismatic leader: that is, someone like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, etc., who truly connects with and galvanizes large numbers of people. Many people believe that charismatic leaders are born that way. That’s a myth. If you have leadership potential, you can become a charismatic leader. There are eight qualities I’ve identified in charismatic leaders. Develop these in yourself and you can maximize your leadership potential.

Labels: IT leadership

5 ways to motivate people for higher performance

joshuabrusse.jpgBy Joshua Brusse, Chief Architect, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP Software Professional Services

 

You hear the cliché all the time: People are our most important asset. But let’s actually look at that statement. If people are so important to your organization, how is that “asset” performing? Is it contributing to the objectives of the company? Is the performance of your human capital driving better business outcomes?

 

Today’s workforce is very different from what it was a generation or so ago. If you truly want to innovate, you’ve got to figure out how to motivate a 21st century workforce. Here are five things you can do to improve workforce performance. 

Labels: IT leadership

6 steps to become a strategic thinker

Joel2.GIFGuest post by Joel H. Dobbs

Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business.  Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Executive CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.

 

One of the top areas I am asked by coaching and mentoring clients to help them with is becoming better strategic thinkers.  Strategic thinking is one of those skills that are critical for advancement to the executive suite and it is critical if you want to stay there.  Strategic thinking can be learned. I wasn’t born a strategic thinker and you may not have been either but, with practice, you can get better.

 

Read this post for insight into the six ways that successful people think differently.

Labels: IT leadership

4 competencies every CIO must master

Joel Dobbs.GIFBy Joel H. Dobbs

Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business.  Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Executive CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.

 

 

IT analysts predict that four trends -- cloud computing, social media and social networking, mobility and “big data” or information management -- will be the factors that will attempt to wrestle control of IT spending, and with it control of the IT environment, away from IT. I believe that the four areas described above combined with the overall trend towards the “consumerization” of IT has the potential to completely disrupt IT as we know it.  Sadly, many CIOs will ignore this trend and, in the tradition of Kodak, who even though they invented digital photography, couldn’t let go of the film business and now face bankruptcy, will face irrelevance.

Labels: IT leadership

Going through organizational change? Here’s how to measure internalization

joshuabrusse.jpgBy Joshua Brusse, Chief Architect, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP Software Professional Services

 

I’ve written before about how management of organizational change (MOC) can bring tremendous benefits to organizations (see my post “3 elements for management of organizational change”). MOC can help organizations progress more quickly through the stages of change, arriving at internalization.

 

Only when employees have internalized the change is the change sustainable, and only then will the organization reap the benefits.

 

Internalization therefore is a key to achieving ROI on the change. But how do you know that your MOC program has been effective and that people have internalized the change you’ve wanted to make?

Labels: IT leadership
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About the Author(s)
  • Alec Wagner is a longtime writer & editor, enterprise IT insider, and (generally) fearless digital nomad.
  • Lending 20 years of IT market expertise across 5 continents, for defining moments as an innovation adoption change agent.
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • I'm the community manager for Discover Performance and have been a writer/editor in the technology field for several years.
  • Mike has been with HP for 30 years. Half of that time was in R&D, mainly as an architect. The other 15 years has been spent in product management, product marketing, and now, solution marketing. .
  • Paul Muller leads the global IT management evangelist team within the Software business at HP. In this role, Muller heads the team responsible for fostering HP’s participation in the IT management community, contributing to and communicating best-practice in helping IT perform better.
  • Rafael Brugnini (Rafa) serves as VP of EMEA & APJ for HP Software. Joining in 1996 and has more than 20 years of knowledge and experience linked to HP. He resides in Madrid with his wife and family, and in his spare time he enjoys windsurfing.
  • Evangelist for IT Financial Management (ITFM), IT Governance and IT Portfolio Management, consulting IT organisations for Close to 15 years on principles of good governance.
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