Effective Transitions for New IT Leaders


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Five step process for professional departure and effective transition into a new IT leadership role.

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  • Effective Transitions for New IT Leaders (9/28/09 Hausmann) Abstract & Introduction [5 minutes] SMILE! My purpose today is to share how we can make a professional departure and...... make recommendations on how we can be more effective when starting a new job. I firmly believe we already know to leave old positions gracefully and we sometimes offer to help in the transition. However, I have found few specifics on precisely what we can do to leave our old IT departments in great shape as we move up the food chain. So here is my recommended five step process for transitioning into a new position: Outline : Effective Transitions for New IT Leaders Transition Out of Your Old Job Build Relationships while Assessing the Situation Get to Know Your People (Through Regular Weekly Contact) Assess Your IT Department - The Basic Rules Score Early Wins (Of Course)
  • Take a moment and let's reflect back on the first time you were leading a department. Unless it was newly defined position you had to spend significant time not only figuring out what you planned to do...but you also had to invest time trying to figure out how things were being done before your arrived! So consider what you can do to make transitions smooth for those who follow. What this must you do to transition out of the old position? Three things (a) transition packet (b) brief constituencies, and (c) determine an interim successor A. Before leaving my old position I build a transition packet .  The transition packet includes: An up-to-date strategic plan for IT; Interim performance reviews of the IT staff; Summary of current projects in progress; -- Include the person to whom you are delegating responsibility during the interim; Updated 5-year budget model; Updated Disaster Recovery Plan; List of Deadlines or key Contracts up for renewal in next 90 days; Include a summary list of all systems accounts/subscriptions for which you have access; -- or change passwords to something you are willing to share -- or designate a second person on your team to have access to the same system. Charters of advisory committees. Note: One person I trust has suggested the packet be ready BEFORE resigning. You may lose access to everything following announcement of your resignation. At a minimum: Update the Strategic Plan so the new leader has a context from which to assess the array of projects that are in progress when she takes over the department. Summary of current projects in progress - who is responsible, milestones/deadlines, key stakeholders for each project, financial commitment if you know it. Update the Disaster Recovery Plan -- notify the DR site that you are no longer authorized to access the equipment at the DR site. B. Brief Your Key Constituencies (e.g. advisory committees, matrixed administrators) as to who is taking over your responsibilities or parts of your responsibilities as you leave. C. If appropriate then name an interim successor . Chances are you are already developing a "Number 2" on your team and it will be obvious to everyone. 
  •   After getting on board, we know establishing relationships and opening communication channels takes effort. In own experience it is easy to go about piling up accomplishments. Yet as our careers progress--success is determined more by our relationships than our accomplishments. So unless we've done adequate preparation--a promotion (or our jobs in general) can be fraught with frustration after chalking a few early wins. Future initiatives or changes will fail because we did not adequately build our internal coalitions. Immediately upon arrival or even before one must meet with leaders on campus to jump start internal relationships and communication channels.  I have recommendations on what to do in the FIRST WEEK. Further, when meeting with different campus leaders I HAVE RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE QUESTIONS TO ASK and how to classify the answers. This face-to-face meeting with every constituency gleans accurate information of how the department is perceived within the institution while clarifying information collected during the hiring process. (First week) DO NOT hole up in your office and meet only with your team...get out and introduce yourself to everyone! -- Introduce yourself to campus security personnel ----- Automated alarms likely forward to campus security and/or physical plant personnel ----- You will be working with them on security incidents, police investigations, etc. -- Make time to introduce yourself to the HR personnel ----- make sure all paperwork is covered ----- good friends to have when personnel issues arise -- Check in with your boss -- start making appointments with your team ( one on ones - more on this later ) -- start making appointments with key adminstrators, faculty, department heads, deans -- reach out to those on the search committee, say thank you again If there was a particular person or constiuency that "wanted the other guy" or had doubts about your candidacy...meet with them first! Don't be shy. Chances are it was just miscommunication and this is your chance to build bridges before the work and expectations start piling up. < LIST OF QUESTIONS TO BUILD THE RELATIONSHIP (Subsequent weeks)> In your meetings with different VPs, Deans, and department heads--what questions do you as to open the communication? Further, what questions can you ask to determine WHAT KIND of SITUATION YOU HAVE ENTERED? ASK THESE QUESTIONS -- YOU CAN USE THE SAME QUESTIONS WHEN YOU GO OUT CONSULTING What do you and your division need and expect from IIT? What metrics do you use to assess IIT? How has IIT done relative to your needs? What is your perception of IIT in general? What feedback and/or guidance do you have IIT? KEEP THE MEETINGS SHORT -- NO MORE THAN 30 MINUTES After each meeting when you return to your office be sure to take time and review your notes. From your notes begin... BUILDING YOUR DELTA FILE --  accumulate the long list of things people want to see changed or you determine that must change. TAKE NOTES...keep track of these things. Your integrity and ability to "get the job done" hinges on you not losing track of these projects. Delta File -- It is the list of changes you desire to make. It may be as simple as a personal journal--I kept mine in a Google Docs document sometimes adding to it during an O3. What goes into the delta file: ---- What we will do differently after.... ---- What do we need to do differently here.... ---- When in charge of x always do.... ---- When in charge of x never do.... ---- Before I make changes to x we need to.... I recommend keeping it electronically in a google docs account. After a few weeks of working on our Delta File. We will have accumulated enough data to start making decisions about what kind of situation we have on our hands. While I make every effort to adjust my leadership style appropriately...I really like the terminology introduced by Michael Watkins in his book "THE FIRST 90 DAYS" Tear a page from The First 90 Days apply the STaRS model: Decide: Startup, Turnaround, Realignment, or Sustain Success but take it a bit further: Parts of your operation will require turnaround...others you will strongly desire to see preserved. The relative priority of items from your delta file must be determined by a variety of factors: -- campus strategic plans -- boss initiatives -- advisory committee directives -- any gaps in "The Basic Rules”
  • 3. Know Your People - One on Ones and Regular Staff Meetings [ 4 minutes ] It is tempting to spend time exclusively analyzing your own department staff by focusing on technical skills and strengths. I find value building relationships through weekly one-on-one meetings with each direct report. and weekly staff meetings. Building the relationship open communications and reduces the interruptions (really!) I find more complete, deeper understanding of the skills, strengths, and characteristics of individuals in the group are established through regular communications. Let me make a key point--every week. I have 12 direct reports and meet with *each* once per week. If you do not believe me when I say this is one of the best investments of your time, give me your business card at the end of the presentation and I will direct you to testimonials of hundreds of people who do the same.  It is especially helpful to start the one-on-one meetings right away when starting a new position. In addition to  building the relationship--I found I could quickly verify/confirm at the O3 meetings what I was hearing during meetings outside the department.
  • 4. Assess Your IT Department - The Basic Rules [5 Minutes] Armed with the information gathered in the initial steps the successful transition involves a quick assessment of the team. We must determine whether the basic "blocking and tackling" activities in the operation are covered. I have a list of what I consider to be the core basic needs of the successful IT organization.  I first mentioned the “Basic Rules” in a University Business article interview for an article entitled “The Killer CIO” in August 2004. (Seven basic rules) o    Align IT initiatives with institutional priorities. [hooks to University Strategic Plan] o    Keep IT Expenditures Within Industry Benchmarks [EDUCAUSE Core Data Service] o    Maintain an Integrated, web-enabled ERP system [& Eliminate Outlier Databases] o    Network performance must be bulletproof o    Invest in staff (faculty) training and development. o    Hire good people. o    Multiyear planning must involve highest stakeholders—lacking that be prepared to go unilaterally working with users in as much a participatory process as possible.
  • 5. Score Early Wins [3 minutes] The temptation is to begin making changes immediately upon taking a new position--it is not necessary. (Sometimes, the other way is just fine!) One challenge we may face is that we have a directive to "turn things around." Nevertheless, the imperative is to make lasting change. Take time to build relationships and get the lay of the land. Pull the low hanging fruit from the Delta File *after* building relationships with the key leaders in the institution. The delta file can be quite long. In my most recent role the delta file was 10 pages long. My purpose in making changes after building the list is to ensure that I have broader perspective and address genuinely pressing matters before over-committing human and financial resources. The discoveries of what to avoid (in some cases) are as important as adding items to the To Do list. The end result is we will build a reputation: "Can do. Will do. Done!" -- It will look easy because did our homework before making changes.
  • Outcome Although I was successful in my first IT leadership role, my first time as a department head was sometimes frustrating due to a knowledge gap. This knowledge gap was caused by an inadequate review of all campus constituencies in my initial survey. I focused my early efforts on fixing problems and less so on building relationships with all administrators and key academic departments. The result was communication challenges when changes were required later. Transition Out of Your Old Job Build Relationships while Assessing the Situation Get to Know Your People Assess the IT Department - The Basic Rules Score Early Wins My more recent leadership transitions have been far more successful when using the process discussed in this presentation.
  • Thank You :   Thank you for your time this afternoon and please let me state my gratitude to Kathy Lang, CIO at Marquette University, for inviting me to submit a presentation proposal on leadership. I am happy to take any additional questions! Future Poster Sessions -- How to Build a 5 Year Budget Model ----- (Take what Ihave already done an make it a poster session for EDUCAUSE) -- How to Convert your Delta File into a Strategic Plan for IT ---- Tie each initiative back to one of the institutional planning documents ---- If you cannot then you (perhaps) ought not do it! -- Why Train or-How to Grow Your Department – Even in a Downturn
  • Effective Transitions for New IT Leaders

    1. 1. Effective Transitions for New IT Leaders Thomas L. Hausmann March 15, 2010
    2. 2. How to Make an Effective Transition <ul><li>Purpose: Make a professional departure and be effective when starting a new position. </li></ul><ul><li>Five Steps </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transition Out of Your Old Job </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build Relationships while Assessing the Situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get to Know the People in Your Group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assess your IT Department – The Basic Rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Score Early Wins </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. 1. Transition Out of Your Old Job <ul><li>Assemble a Transition Packet </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Updated strategic plan </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interim performance reviews </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Current project summary </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>5-year budget model (or overview) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>DR plans, deadlines or key contracts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>List of accounts/subscriptions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Charters of advisory committees </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Brief Your Key Constituencies </li></ul><ul><li>Name an Interim Successor </li></ul>
    4. 4. 2. Build Relationships While Assessing the Situation <ul><li>Purpose: Build internal relationships, open communication channels, and gather data. </li></ul><ul><li>Five Assessment Questions to Ask </li></ul><ul><li>Build a Delta Fil e. </li></ul>
    5. 5. 3. Know the People in Your Group <ul><li>Purpose: Build relationships with direct reports. </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct weekly one-on-ones with every direct report. </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly staff meetings with all direct reports. </li></ul><ul><li>Start one-on-one meetings right away. </li></ul>
    6. 6. 5. Assess Your Own Department <ul><li>Basic Rules from “The Killer CIO” – August 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>My Basic Rules (7) </li></ul><ul><li>Enables an assessment based on experience. </li></ul>
    7. 7. 5. Score Early Wins <ul><li>The temptation is to make changes right away—don’t do it! </li></ul><ul><li>Pull low hanging fruit from your delta file and knock ‘em out of the park. </li></ul><ul><li>Build a reputation: Can Do, Will Do, Done! </li></ul><ul><li>Great for the institution, great for the team. </li></ul>
    8. 8. How to be Effective In the Transition <ul><li>Transition out of your old job: make it easy for the institution you leave. </li></ul><ul><li>Meet with all constituencies while assessing the situation </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct one-on-ones with your direct reports. </li></ul><ul><li>Assess the department—are the basics covered? </li></ul><ul><li>Score early wins on your schedule. </li></ul>
    9. 9. THANK YOU! Questions?