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As CIO, have you created a safe space for your Senior IT Leaders?

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Wayne Pales's picture
I help CIOs build IT Leadership Teams capable of delivering the Digital Energy Transformation The Chapel Group

Hi, I’m Wayne, a senior technology leader and energy expert passionate about playing my part in creating a low cost and sustainable energy future.In 2019, I left the corporate world to be a stay...

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  • Dec 10, 2020
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Like most energy companies, your organisation is likely to be in the early stages of a Digital Energy Transformation. As CIO, it is likely you are trying to come to terms with how to support the businesses desire to leverage distributed energy resources whilst still keeping the lights on. You are wrapping your head around the explosion in data volumes and how to embrace Artificial Intelligence. You wonder if emerging technologies such as distributed ledger are game-changers, a fad, or something in between.   

You know to deliver your component of the Digital Energy Transformation you need a high performing IT Leadership Team reporting to you.

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But in your desire to help the business and move quickly, are you putting the cart before the horse?

Research into why Digital Transformations fail consistently points to people challenges, such as the C-suite not buying into the digital story and not walking the talk, and front-line staff fearing for their jobs so rejecting the new ‘digital’ ways of working.

Recommendations often talk about getting the organisational culture digitally ready before introducing new technologies and new ways of working. Often what we see is an organisation trying to balance a desire to do things the right way, coupled with a desire to move fast., Here-in lies the problem. Typically, an organisation will commence its cultural change program in parallel with its investments in new technologies.  

So here you are, expected to move fast and kick off the technology investments to support your organisation’s Digital Energy Transformation. You will likely engage a third party to help you design your target IT Operating Model, which will include changes to your Leadership Team.

Fearful of not being part of your new team, your existing leaders may confidently talk of how they know what they need to do. They may be staying one Google-search ahead of you in their efforts to sound informed as to the latest approaches to digital transformations. They may create unnecessary conflict by pointing to the failings of other IT departments to keep the spotlight off them. They may even make bold decisions to give the impression they know what they are doing, when in fact, they are making it up as they go along. And so starts months of damaging behaviour that wreaks havoc on your transformation program and has the Board asking for you to explain yourself.

To avoid this disruption, you must be clear as to the capabilities you require each member of your leadership team to possess. You must create a safe space where your leaders feel comfortable sharing their shortfalls with you and agreeing on a plan to fill the gaps.   Have you created a safe space for your senior IT leaders, so they are comfortable sharing the areas where they have gaps?

If you are a CIO and would like to take part in my book research, please email me at hello@waynepales.com

Wayne Pales's picture
Thank Wayne for the Post!
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 10, 2020

Research into why Digital Transformations fail consistently points to people challenges, such as the C-suite not buying into the digital story and not walking the talk, and front-line staff fearing for their jobs so rejecting the new ‘digital’ ways of working.

So frustrating, but in many ways so predictable. We don't need to look further than the energy sector to recognize that the best tech isn't always the solution, but oftentimes its the human, behavioral considerations-- energy efficiency programs highlight this puzzle well!

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