Real IT leadership: Selling the transformative dream


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We talk a lot about how IT leaders need to formulate the right strategies and ensure the right technologies snap into place. But to make a real difference, IT leaders need to be change agents.

Most of us know, for example, that there’s inestimable value in the patterns that emerge from analyzing mountains of business and log data. Or that machine learning can reduce overhead and fuel transformational applications. Or that it’s past time to standardize security policies across multiple clouds. But how do IT leaders get their organizations to make the leap?

They need to learn how to sell. It’s an essential skill for effective IT leadership. 

What’s the first step in sales? Prospecting. You need to discover where the low-hanging opportunities are to demonstrate the value of, say, a data-driven approach to modernizing legacy processes. Organizations in which technologists are integrated into cross-functional workgroups have an advantage, because those allies can be called upon to identify quick wins.

Then you need to convince a primary stakeholder that it’s worth a shot. This is not one and done. You need to collaborate with that stakeholder (or whomever they designate) every step of the way, from requirements-gathering to regular check-ins to testing to training.

You also need to instrument your project from the beginning to ensure you can collect metrics to prove success. If a successful outcome ensues, you and/or a proxy need to broadcast the results. This is your internal marketing program. Get your first stakeholder to sing your initiative’s praises and others will beat a path to your door.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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