Building Great Talent and Effective Teams

Building Great Talent and Effective Teams

Marianne Broadbent (EWK International, Australia and Arbiter Leadership Technologies, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-535-3.ch015


A successful IT organization demands having the right talent that works effectively and efficiently together. IT managers must focus on identifying the right people and then continuously build and develop the respective talent, while ensuring the cohesiveness of the team dynamics. The valuable vignettes illustrate the “know and grow” focus of this important chapter.
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What If You Want To Take On A Line Of Business Role In Your Organization?

In conversation with a CIO recently (let’s call her Debra) we were discussing her future career options. Debra had terrific experience as an IT professional and manager, including three years working for a respected consulting firm (largely in the IT area), and was now concluding her third year as CIO. While her performance was well regarded in the company, we agreed that if she really wanted to be considered as a potential CEO she needed to have relevant and recent experience managing a line of business and delivering on a P/L. She became very interested in the option of taking on the position of General Manager of one of the company’s business lines, a position which was becoming available due to an impending retirement.

My immediate question to Debra was what was the strength of her IT Leadership team? How many potential internal candidates would there be for her CIO position? The question was really about the potential risk she was proposing to her CEO in departing her current position. To what extent could she honestly indicate that the risk was low because she had a very good team with one or more individuals whom the CEO and his executive peers would be comfortable about seeing ‘step up’ into the CIO position?

Debra blanched somewhat indicating that she was always going to get around to some serious focus on the whole matter of succession planning, but there were always more urgent priorities. While she had a good team, perhaps she hadn’t put the time and effort into careful talent development and management. Two on the team could potentially ‘step up’, but not just yet. And then there was the problem of the next layer down – the pipeline into the IT Leadership team, which was a bit thin.

The immediate outcome was that Debra did not indicate an interest in the forthcoming business division GM role to her CEO. Instead she indicated that she would be keen to take on such a role in about two years, when her team had the ‘bench strength’ it needed so that several of her team could be in the candidate pool for a search for a new CIO if she transferred to another position in the company.


Good Talent And Team Management Maximizes Organizational Performance And Minimizes Risk

Debra’s experience is not uncommon. If you are a well regarded executive, your CEO and peers want to know that you have managed the company’s risk if you want an internal transfer, or if you are unfortunate enough to be in an accident, suffer serious illness or just decide it’s time for a ‘seachange’. The best compliment any executive can receive is that they have built a sustainable team that is not dependent for its success on one person – you as the leader.

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