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: One of the least understood contributors in implementing IT projects successfully is the leadership provided by competent TTLs (Technical Team Leads). Their ability to steer projects in the right direction, maximise the contribution of team members and cement the relationship with sponsors, is pivotal.

IT professionals, with potential to act as TTLs, must manage their careers by seizing leadership training and mentoring opportunities so they have a head-start when assigned to a TTL role.

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Conclusion: Business and IT professionals struggle with how to frame their message so it engages the reader and has immediate impact. To get the reader’s attention, it is important to pose a business problem, or an unacceptable situation that is pre-occupying the reader, and provide a solution on the same page.

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Conclusion: Most change management processes focus on the traditional approach of identifying problems then analysing the causes of the problems, followed by the identification of possible solutions then arriving at the solution and implementing the same. APIQ focuses on what the organisation does well, then explores and identifies how those strengths and values can be further improved. The results can be dramatic in terms of improving quality of services and products produced, employee satisfaction/engagement and it is also sustainable.

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Conclusion: Organisations are under pressure – pressure to keep limited budgets in check and pressure to deliver more in short time frames. Full time headcount is down and a significant amount of the work undertaken by organisations is project based. This has driven many recruitment practices including the engagement of skilled professionals to deliver on those projects. Induction processes are limited as this is seen as an overhead when it is critical to focus on the desired outcomes. As a result, organisations are limiting their resource pool and the benefit that experience in other sectors can bring. In addition, there is limited focus on what longer-term contribution or skills transfer can be provided for the broader workforce as they transform towards a digital workforce. Unless recruitment and resource management practices change, staff and skills shortages will continue to dominate the CIO risk list.

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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: The initial gathering of momentum for change is difficult enough to generate, but letting that momentum lapse will make it even more challenging next time to generate the passion and endeavour to improve the modus operandi for the long haul.

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Conclusion: It is difficult to plan when innovation will occur. It is particularly difficult for established organisations to be innovative – they have been successful through sound business practices and an ability to execute, not innovate. Nearly all organisations, both public and private, understand and accept that innovation and the ability to change is critical to success and ongoing viability. However, the very structure of organisations could be killing ideas and management processes can slow change down to a glacial pace. Budget cuts and efficiency measures have largely been focused at the operational level which means that there are less resources to do the same or more work, and then there is the added pressure of being innovative. Real change is effected when the change is applied throughout the organisation, starting at the executive level.

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Conclusion: Mind mapping is a popular technique to assist with the thinking ability of an individual or team, and to help generate ideas and thoughts. Mind maps literally involve “mapping” out thoughts, using associations, connections and triggers to stimulate further ideas.

Whilst traditional mind maps have been drawn on paper, the availability of mind mapping software provides platforms that can be used within organisations to improve the productivity and creativity of individuals and teams. Additionally, it is possible to do things with digital mind maps that are not possible with a hand-drawn diagram, especially in the area of team collaboration, dynamic links and exporting to other formats such as presentations, websites or project plans.

Standardising on a particular mind mapping application can provide a powerful collaboration tool for all employees in the organisation1. With so many choices available, organisations should define their needs and select an application that best integrates with how they expect to deploy mind mapping.

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Conclusion: The ability to inspire as a leader is becoming more recognised as a core management and leadership skill. What does not change overnight are the most innermost core values of how an inspirational leader behaves. Through their leadership they inspire others to perform and succeed, making a positive difference not just internally within the organisation, but also with every employee who has been touched by their inspirational abilities.

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Conclusion: One of the objectives of an IT workforce plan is to maximise the use of the skilled IT professionals and project managers and minimise their idle time. Managing the IT workforce plan is a complex task in most organisations as skill levels required may vary by project and by operational support roles.

To be successful, the manager of the plan must maintain a current and accurate skills inventory to assign the right IT professional(s) to the role. The manager also needs to ensure the role is correctly specified so an inexperienced IT professional is not assigned when an experienced one is needed.

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Conclusion: IT professionals who operate in a structured and predictable environment could find the role change to that of an IT manager more challenging than they had anticipated, as it typically requires a mind-set change from completing one or two tasks to managing people. To avoid disappointment, senior management must help new IT managers make the transition and cope with the nuances of the role.

To help them succeed, assign other IT managers, who have made the transition, to coach them. In this way they can learn how to act out the new role and come to grips with the politics of the organisation, or spheres of influence, and know how to interpret business priorities.

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Conclusion: Mind mapping is used broadly throughout the world as a technique for improving creativity, problem solving, organising, planning, learning and collaborating. It can be used effectively to help an individual with their personal productivity, and importantly it can help teams and whole organisations.

If organisations are going to embrace mind mapping and encourage employees to utilise this proven technique, then it should manage the rollout like it would for any other major new initiative. A specific training program needs to be utilised, and if software is to be used to enable collaboration via Mind Maps, the organisation will need to determine an approach and evaluate potential applications from the growing list of mind mapping applications becoming available.

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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: Effective ICT project managers are essential to the successful running of any ICT-led change initiative. They provide a necessary level of trust and confidence to the CIO and are a key resource for any effective CIO running a large mix of ongoing and change initiatives.

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Conclusion: In organisations across Australia, there is a push for digital and business transformation. Many of these same organisations utilise business analysis in a traditional way which results in the standard capture of requirements and the conversion of requirements into system specifications without really challenging business processes. In addition, there is often a trend of allocating too many responsibilities to a single role and not providing appropriate authority to the role of rigorously analysing processes, systems and requirements, which will impact on many digital transformation activities.

Business Transformation needs comprehensive analysis and a complete reassessment of the process or analysis with a capital “A”. Failure to objectively and fearlessly review and remove outdated processes and system functions will result in a failure to appropriately transform the business for the future.

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As technology executives in councils drive to innovate services in their communities they face specific challenges. 

Over 2016-2017, IBRS surveyed CIOs in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria in order to understand how the winds of change are affecting local government’s frontline professionals.

The results are in this 22-page report, together with IBRS’s recommendations. Additionally, this report reveals the potential for ICT vendors in the local government sector.

This is a must read report for IT stakeholders involved in local government

 What you will discover in the report:

  • IT Management Priorities of other CIOs and skills needed to transform client services
  • Innovation and digital transformation initiatives being pursued by Councils
  • Why focusing on reducing IT costs is a low priority and potentially counter-productive
  • Why it is important to identify and grow the capabilities of business analysts and their line managers
  • And for vendors: how to establish mutually beneficial relationships with Councils

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Conclusion: CTOs need to balance natural technical strengths with traditional leadership skills such as strategic thinking and empathy with others to be initially recruited and then remain as successful CTOs.

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Conclusion: User Centred Design (UCD) and Design Thinking are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, each approach is better suited to different scenarios and understanding the strengths and focus of each approach enables organisations to build capability and processes that leverage the opportunities presented by each to maximise service innovation and new product service design. While often used as approaches to identify and design products and services with a technology focus, they are in no way limited to technology elements. Not only is it important to leverage the most appropriate approach but organisations also need to build and apply skills and knowledgeable internal resources in the most effective manner to yield the expected results from these experiential methods.

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Conclusion: It is not enough to just work hard and deliver results, although these are essential qualities to get noticed. To obtain that elusive CIO job and then keep it requires more ongoing effort and vigilance negotiating, monitoring and engaging at executive levels.

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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: Leaders play an integral role in setting the team or office culture which, if positive, improves the effectiveness and performance of that team. Be patient as it takes time to turn around a suffering team, even if they are recruited to transform and instil positive cultural change.

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Conclusion: Public policy over the past decade has been considered by many as reactive with resulting implementations ineffective. In 2012, the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) published a report that reviewed the policy development approach of the Australian Government and determined that approaches could at best be considered ‘Policy on the Run’. It was the opinion of IPAA that this approach was ineffective and that a business case approach would be more effective. UCD provides evidence to support the business case approach and put the community at the centre of policy development.

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Conclusion: Learning Management Solutions, Talent Management Solutions and Performance Management Solutions are increasingly offered as Cloud-based SaaS services and are merging into a single product category: Human Capital Management. For Australian organisations, this is both a blessing and a curse. In the long term, it will lessen the need to integrate previously disparate solutions. In the short term, it means that selecting a solution to meet a specific need – say creating and delivering eLearning resources to the workforce – must factor potential future needs of the workforce and the broader issues of Human Capital Management. ICT groups need to proactively provide guidance and governance to HR around the selection of solutions for all areas of Human Capital Management.

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Conclusion: Too often the CIO or program/project executive will focus on the more tangible aspects of developing a new ICT system, bunch of processes, environments and the like only to have the new initiative fail as a result of risk averse and increasingly change weary and cynical employees1. Successful leaders need to spend increasing time and effort on getting all stakeholders on-side at all levels to implement and make sustainable positive change.

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Conclusion: Technologies which improve the efficiency of the marketing value chain will grow in importance because they can enhance productivity. The technologies are more developed and easier to access. In the mixed conditions of the current business environment squeezing more value is a basic imperative.

The constant themes of marketing, resource allocations and targeting also apply, and with better data tools and analytics it should be easier to gain insights which can be used commercially.

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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: Virtual Teams have become common in most organisations, and technology and globalisation have been the major enablers. Leaders and team participants have found themselves as participants by default and without choice.

For many, little training or education has been provided to help individuals recognise that their future work environment is going to change, and what new skills or competencies need to be developed.

To effectively utilise Virtual Teams, organisations need to develop a culture that recognises how teams will be used, what tools will be used for communication and collaboration, and education for both leaders and team members.

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Conclusion: It is easier to assess the applicant against technical skills and experience than assessing against soft skills. The time to assess soft skills is at the interview. Ask behavioural questions and recruit the more Emotionally Intelligent candidate. This applies to every recruitment position no matter how technically important the skills are.

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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: Australian governments at all levels are in the process of rethinking, reimagining and redesigning systems, process and services to improve government service delivery to an ever more demanding community. A number of government jurisdictions have or are adopting a user-centric approach to the design and delivery of a new generation of government services.

User-centric approaches such as User Centred Design puts the user at the heart of design and implementation and focuses on building products and services that are usable and useful through an approach that is inclusive and iterative.

However, simply adopting a fashionable approach under the guise of best practice alone will not provide optimal benefits and often places undue focus on the process at the expense of critical cultural and capability elements. Agencies looking to design and deliver improved government services need to also anticipate and provide for critical success factors such as: what is the most appropriate user approach, what skills and personalities should design teams include and leverage, and what behaviours should user-centric change programs support, encourage and reward to facilitate a successful user-centric program?

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Digital transformation of a business is defined as making fundamental and revolutionary changes to achieve new business goals using ICT.

Although digital disruption is now a given in every industry vertical, each business is impacted in its own distinctive ways. 

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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: Staff remember how leaders behave and react during a crisis, rather than when the business is operating successfully. Astute leaders do not just deal with restoration and getting the business back on deck; they also support their staff during and after the crisis and can even create the potential for the organisation to be in a better state than before the crisis occurred.

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Conclusion: Too often in organisations, executives focus on the more mechanical elements of Project and Business Management but ignore the need to develop the skills of their staff and encourage them to succeed.

Team members’ salary is rarely in itself a motivator to get things done.1 Many motivational positive factors, when combined, get the results needed to get the most out of each team with minimal staff losses along the way.

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Conclusion: Technical debt is intangible and its extent hard to measure. Organisations that compromise quality for expediency to meet schedules or defer software release upgrades accumulate technical debt unwittingly.

Managers who let the debt increase and fail to reduce it could be digging an ever deeper and dry well that could cost them their jobs, leaving their successor to find the wherewithal to fill it and create valuable system assets.

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Conclusion: IT management teams that spend little time planning to grow and retain talented people will find it hard and expensive to keep pace with technology advances and business model changes. Conversely, IT management that makes every effort to retain staff are likely to be employers that attract the best people. They will do this by helping them enhance their skills and recognise their achievements.

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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: It is widely recognised that public sector organisations do not have the same market drivers as private enterprise to be able to innovate in the same way. Drivers such as competitive forces and profit incentives stimulate and support breakthrough innovation. However, by understanding the elements that are active when breakthrough innovation occurs and reframing it within the context of the government sector, significant benefits and progress can be achieved.

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Conclusion: The use of the term ‘Digital’ as an adjective plays a particular role in both public and private sector initiatives. Like similar terms of the past, it creates a space for agreement among multiple stakeholders, even when there is a lack of universal understanding. This is useful when an initiative includes an interplay of technology and culture. It allows advocates to collapse a multitude of complex issues into a simple catch-all phrase to which everyone already agrees. However, understanding the benefit of using ‘Digital’ to gain agreement for an initiative needs to be weighed up against the potential of seeing well-intentioned initiatives implemented in unexpected ways.

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