Leadership & People

Positive change starts from the top. Great leadership drives teams to succeed, defines a positive culture and inspires the leaders of tomorrow. 

Much is written about what makes a good leader, and no one recipe or formula exists. The challenges facing our current and upcoming leaders vary wildly.

How teams thrive while dealing with internal politics, external ideas and failure are complex challenges every leader must learn to manage. You don’t have to do it alone.

IBRS is comprised of many ex-CIOs with a wealth of knowledge that can provide mentoring and advice to current and aspiring leaders. Our career development, networking and thought leadership resources help leaders solve problems and create workplace cultures geared towards success and satisfaction.

Conclusion: In an age-diverse workforce, it is important that IT managers and professionals understand the different expectations and management styles of stakeholders and accommodate them to gain their support for IT-related initiatives being proposed.

Without understanding the management styles and expectations of age-diverse stakeholders, a level of disconnect may occur and business relationships could slip from being of mutual benefit to transactional and ineffective.

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Conclusion: The apocryphal ‘three envelopes’ story about the executive starting a new role is a cynical view of leadership transition. However, at its core, there are some uncomfortable truths about how people respond to crises early in their leadership. Digging deeper, there are lessons to be learned from these scenarios, suggesting more productive ways to deal with these issues as they arise.

It is critical for transitioning digital leaders to understand that people, culture and politics are the most powerful forces in an organisation. An ability to manage change and form collaborative relationships is a much stronger predictor of success in a digital transformation role than any digital or technical experience.

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Conclusion: Business ethics is not a new topic. It is as old as business itself and many of the issues and questions posed during ethical considerations are just as old. Digital ethics takes a fresh look at many of these issues from a new perspective, that of a technology-enabled society and the business community. Digital capabilities introduce new complexities and challenges to the business environment. Many ethical issues arising from technology advancements cannot be solved simply. However, without addressing these matters, the business community puts itself, its customers and the community at risk. Viewing ethical issues with a technology focus and adherence to ethical principles can mitigate some of these risks.

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Conclusion: Relationships at work between managers and employees are important and can influence the success and effectiveness of individual teams or whole organisations. Both managers and employees need to understand the bias that can occur between a view a manager may take about an employee they have invested in and ‘hired’ or selected, versus an employee that is thrust upon them or that they inherit from another manager; for example, employees that join an organisation as the result of an acquisition.

When managers are ‘invested’ in the selection of employees, a relationship exists that reflects on the managers’ judgement and decision-making skills, having believed that they have made good hiring decisions. No such relationship exists when the managers have no involvement in the selection of the employees but are assigned to managing the employees.

The more that managers understand this, the better they can focus on avoiding viewing employees differently. The more that employees understand this, the better they can recognise potential issues, and work to improve their career prospects by ensuring they work for a manager that has ‘chosen’ them, or at least learnt to understand their abilities and contributions.

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Conclusion: The IT skills shortage is likely to worsen. In addition to technical skills, technology leaders and workers overwhelmingly recognise the value of creativity in the workplace, yet they lament their inability to effectively cultivate creativity. Creativity can unlock innovation in the enterprise, generate high levels of employee satisfaction, and make a significant contribution to corporate profit margins as well as national economies.

Creativity can be taught and strengthened, in individuals and in teams. Studies in neuroplasticity are demystifying the biology behind training the brain, demonstrating that even ‘set in their ways’ workers can improve their creativity – and productivity – using relatively simple techniques. Neuroscience is showing that we can still teach an old dog new tricks.

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Conclusion: Successful businesses need their people to be productive and to perform well. Effective communication may assist i.e.suring they do. Effective communication is about thought leadership, defining a purpose, informing tasking and priorities and, most importantly, listening. Opportunities that impact productivity and the fiscal performance of organisations are often lost or not fully prosecuted due to poor communication. Poor communication will result in less than optimal planning or reduced time to react, causing the need to compromise. This, in turn, results in poor prioritisation, and i.e.erything is urgent, nothing gets the appropriate focus.

To communicate effectively at the personal, work unit and organisational levels requires a level of discipline in adherence to the basic principles of effective communication, which will lay the foundation for success.

Effective communication will improve productivity, reduce risk, reduce costs and reduce time to market. Effective communication will deliver line of sight for your strategic outcomes and in doing so will be a combat multiplier for your business.

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Conclusion: With both the NSW and commonwealth parliaments passing respective Modern Slavery Acts in 20181, there are now real implications and consequences for business leaders and their suppliers who ignore the risks of slavery within their supply chains.

Unlike the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act 2010 which applies to tangible goods offered for sale, Australian firms will need to disclose their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chain of both goods and services. This means at least 2,100 public and private firms2 have until 1 July 2019 to ask explicitly of suppliers, whether local or foreign, off-premise Cloud or on-premise device manufacturer: What are you and your organisation doing with respect to modern slavery risks?

For many organisations in Australia this will mean more than just adding new evaluation criteria to be applied to current and potential suppliers. Rather it requires providing an accurate attestation on the issue of modern slavery which will require lifting the hood on all manner of “as-a-Service” offerings. Thereby exposing aspects of service delivery that the majority of firms previously thought they no longer needed to concern themselves with, having “transferred” risks, such as those found in supply chains, to their vendor partners.

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Conclusion: Organisations are structured into business units or divisions to undertake day-to-day business activities. Technology projects are often initiated and executed with a combination of specialist technology partners, contracted specialist staff to augment staff levels and contributions from permanent staff in either a full-time or-part time capacity. Project planning and delivery approaches may take a traditional waterfall or a modern agile method. However, resource management and the effective utilisation of resources continues to be a significant problem for many organisations with critical capacity management approaches severely lacking. The implications are poor performance in terms of meeting project timeframes, significant de-scoping of project, or sprint deliverables or constant friction with business units to access resources to complete project activities. Effective resource capacity management provides an opportunity to understand the true available capacity, how to calculate the utilisation and how to plan and accommodate changes to the capacity requirements.

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Conclusion: Finding superior talent has always been a challenge, even more so now. Traditional attraction and retention strategies still have value in most situations. However, there are novel ways to think about attracting talent in a digital world, including rethinking the need to attract talent at all by rethinking the business problem.

In many cases, technical skills can be taught on the job. What is harder to teach – and is therefore highly sought after – is the triple-crown of critical thinking, creativity in problem solving and curiosity. Consider putting those three characteristics at the top of the talent wish list and adapt existing recruitment practices to identify, attract and retain the right talent.

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Conclusion: The current Business Relationship Managers mostly act as a service desk to manage the implementation of business stakeholders’ service requests. While this is an important business relationship function, the current incumbents are not engaging with business stakeholders’ strategic discussions that require the selection and implementation of new technology that can improve the business presence and performance in the market. As a result, Business Relationship Managers are not earning a “trusted advisor” status. The Business Relationship Manager’s job focus and skills should expand to promote the value of IT services that contribute to business value creation, measurement and communication. This should allow the IT organisation to become the service provider of choice.

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IBRSiQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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IBRSiQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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Conclusion: Cognitive bias has the potential to reduce decision-making effectiveness. Although bias can often streamline the process of coming to a decision, the quality of such decisions may suffer. In emerging technology areas such as process and decision automation, as well as in mainstream activities such as procurement and recruiting, unconscious biases can have a significant negative impact on individuals and on business outcomes.

Recognising the most common biases and the tendency for people to exercise these biases will increase the likelihood that sound, defensible decisions will be made. Critical thinking, empathy and actively seeking diversity are all strategies that can be used to manage these risks.

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IBRSiQ is a database of client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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IBRSiQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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Conclusion: “C-suite” leaders including CIOs and IT managers must continually adapt and change their mindset to be digitally savvy in order to keep pace and influence the digital revolution at the workplace12. Failure to do so will increase risks to implement initiatives whilst harming their own careers and those under their care.

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 IBRSiQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

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Conclusion: Keeping the executive informed on how the ICT function is performing while advising it how to take advantage of changes in business technology is an ongoing challenge for every CIO or ICT manager.

Astute CIOs know that to get traction with the executive (or equivalent) they must deliver services required by stakeholders while contributing to strategy debates on how to use new technologies to meet the challenges of the future. Getting traction starts with presenting the right ICT-related information to the executive at the right time.

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Conclusion: The 2018 CIO survey1 revealed that the CIO’s influence is stalling, with fewer CIOs on executive boards. However, improving business processing is still the #1 operational priority. To address this priority, CIOs and IT managers should use everyday tools such as calendars to better collaborate with their staff by exploiting and promoting the features of the tools at their fingertips.

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Conclusion: Just as one size car does not suit everyone, so one IT management reporting structure will not meet the needs of all firms or agencies. While there is no blueprint for developing an IT management structure, there are guiding principles and workplace change management practices to help get the restructure right the first time.

Due to fluctuating IT investment cycles and business transaction volumes changes, IT management reporting structures are rarely static. Consequently, management must be prepared to change IT management reporting structures quickly in response to business changes or when they are not meeting the purpose for which they were designed.

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Conclusion: Whilst many organisations in Australia cite the lack of available IT skills to be a threat to their future growth or ability to complete digital transformation initiatives, Australia has a large often untapped pool of potential employees in candidates on the autism spectrum.

It is estimated that around 60 to 80 per cent of employable adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) struggle to find full time or steady employment, and those that do find employment are often underemployed, that is, employed in roles below their educational or professional level1. Recently tech companies have recognised this opportunity, and programs underway in Australia are successfully identifying, recruiting and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum with the potential to excel particularly in testing, data science and cyber security roles. All are high growth areas for employment.

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Conclusion: The differences in roles and responsibilities between an IT professional and line manager are many and need to be understood quickly by the new managers and their peers. Not only will the understanding help both parties make the appointment work but it will also reinforce the selection panel’s appointment decision.

A new line manager must remember that the behaviour and strategies adopted in the IT professional role are unlikely to guarantee success in the new role. This is because the new role is typically a multi-dimensional one in which there are more stakeholders, outcomes are elusive and feedback is minimal.

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Conclusion: The role of being a supportive follower is overlooked as compared against the literature of being a leader. Everyone is a follower, yet by a factor of over 1,000 to 11, information is overwhelmingly written about how to be a better leader rather than about being a follower. As a leader, there are many benefits in identifying traits of what is required in a follower. There is also a strong overlap in the behaviours of being an effective leader as there is in being an effective follower. Both roles are just as important as each other and yield significant benefits to the organisation and individuals when realised.

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Conclusion: Organisations planning to transform their business operations using IT must develop a shared vision of how to use IT to enable the transformation. Failure to provide a vision will frustrate attempts to implement the transform agenda, demotivate employees and, if false starts occur, could adversely impact business relationships with suppliers and clients.

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Conclusion: Being able to deal with workplace conflict quickly and effectively reaps many rewards. There are different strategies that can be used to deal with the differing types of conflict in the workplace. Being mindful that personality classifications are fluid states of being, i. e. there is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert1, in a recent survey2, slightly over 50 % of IT professionals classified themselves as introverts, another 20 % as extroverts and a quarter as “ambiverts” (neither one nor the other). So there is also a requirement to be mindful of what strategies work well (or not) with the differing personality traits of all involved at the time.

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

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Conclusion: Strategic thinking, planning and problem solving often involve bringing together a team of knowledgeable contributors who need to analyse, debate, discuss and decide on key issues around the topic they are trying to address. Mind mapping can be a powerful technique for helping to stimulate the ideas, plan actions, and even communicate the output of the thinking.

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Conclusion: Organisations are complex and diverse and do not change direction or a business process just because a manager or the Executive think it is a good idea. To sell the idea, managers and staff need insights into the politics, or influence patterns, in the organisation and can align it with a corporate direction, such as the digital (transformation) strategy.

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Conclusion: Innovation is top of mind for many CEOs across Australia. In fact, more than 86% recognise that they need to invest more in R&D and innovation as part of the company strategy. However, there is a significant gap between the aspirations of organisations and the reality of innovation within these companies and entities. Knowing what behaviours should be demonstrating and having a plan will improve the alignment betwee.g.als and achievements. Most CIOs are being asked to drive innovation for the business, yet innovation is still more rhetoric than substance.

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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Conclusion: Mind mapping is a tool that facilitates “whole-brain” thinking. It is a technique that can be applied to all forms of the thought process, particularly to memory, creativity and learning. Within an organisation, the use of mind mapping as a visual and graphic thinking tool can help improve business processes and practices, solve problems, improve decision making, rethink strategies, set goals or simply improve the day-to-day efficiency of working within the organisation.

By encouraging and training individuals and teams within organisations to utilise mind mapping, organisations can benefit by improving thinking processes and developing daily habits that improve productivity and outcomes.

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Conclusion: The program to upskill IT professionals and managers must be intentional and the results measurable. Unless the program is actively supported by participating line managers and affected staff, it may not meet the vision set in the IT strategic or business operational plan. The IT upskilling program’s initiatives should be presented by the CIO, to the executive or its talent management committee so the results can be applied elsewhere in the organisation.

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Conclusion: Maintaining a good relationship with the CIO provides many benefits to their direct reports. It is more than just being given the opportunity to shine and leading exciting and new innovative initiatives, it is also essential to the well-being of the direct report and keeping them motivated. According to Gallup1, the number one reason why people leave jobs is to escape their manager, so strive to keep the relationship as positive as possible and maintain that trusted engagement with the CIO.

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Conclusion: IT teams across government and industry are facing resource challenges including hiring the right resources with the right skills to add value to the team and support the organisation’s future needs.

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Conclusion: Successful business analysts adapt their working practices to ensure they aid in delivering the best solutions to fit business needs in their pivotal role working with IT teams. This is crucial in small delivery teams and in working with the newer Agile methods of delivery.

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Conclusion: Selecting the most suitable candidate is a critical responsibility. Take the time upfront to prepare for hiring the person required. Choosing the right person will reap rewards in many ways, such as improving the workplace, increasing revenue and a host of other goals.

Conversely, the pain and effort in employing the wrong person can have disastrous consequences in terms of loss of productivity and loss of reputation to the business, and it creates many issues for the team or individual who made that recruitment error.

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Conclusion: Driving cultural change and managing the impact of change across an organisation when implementing a new business application is a key challenge for the leadership, including the CIO. By adopting change management practices, a business can increase its projects’ rate of success and user adoption of the new technology and business processes from 16 % up to 96 %1.

With the implementation of business applications or tools such as a new ERP finance system, HCM/HRIS payroll system or a new CRM system, the business users’ roles and day-to-day business processes can be significantly changed. Assessing and addressing the change impact with the employees during the planning phase and during the project implementation will increase the user adoption rates.

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Many organisations are wanting to drive innovation, encourage creative thinking skills and boost productivity. Mind
Mapping is a proven technique that helps individuals and teams improve their creative thinking skills.
 
This course will help you understand Mind Mapping Skills and how to apply them for work purposes. 

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Conclusion: Growth in ICT remains strong in the foreseeable future in a very competitive market. Successful CIOs and ICT leaders responsible for staffing and sourcing need to adopt multiple strategies to successfully recruit, retain and plan for the resource challenges of tomorrow.

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