IT Agility: Tell Us Why

Andrew Froehlich, Network Engineer & IT Consultant | 6/28/2012 | 36 comments

Andrew Froehlich
Technology is becoming increasingly agile as it allows companies to pivot to meet market demands faster than ever before. Unfortunately, you may not be able to say the same for your IT staff. Despite working with constantly changing technology, you'd be surprised about just how inflexible some IT staff are. And that's becoming a major problem for CIOs.

Forbes recently ran an article titled "Agility: The Ingredient That Will Define Next Generation Leadership." In it, the article discusses "accelerating rates of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity." And the ideal leader would be someone that can efficiently change and evolve the organization. So much of being successful in today's business environment is being able to get to the market before competitors to gain that first-mover advantage. When you build up a company that has momentum in one direction, it takes a great deal of effort and motivation to steer it in another. Especially when changes directly impact the skill sets of current employees. When IT staff are asked to get outside of their technical comfort zone, management starts to feel the push back. That push back can cause significant problems when trying to move to emerging markets.

But CIOs aren't even close to being off the hook. The very day after the agility in leadership article was published, Forbes posted another article titled "Trust In Business Falls Off A Cliff." This article discussed the results of a survey that measured the level of trust employees have in their employers. According to the study, trust in leadership is at an all-time low. Some specific questions from the survey included questions regarding leadership effectiveness and constantly changing goals and timelines with little explanation.

So in a sense, a war is going on between employees and management regarding business agility. And the blame can only be placed at the foot of our business leaders. Clearly there is a communications gap that needs to be bridged before true agility can take place. Keep in mind that for many organizations, becoming agile is a brand new concept in many areas of the company. So where is the best place to look in an organization to get people on the road to becoming more agile? Believe it or not, it's probably your IT department.

Because IT staff is increasingly involved in technology that is built on flexible platforms, IT staff will by far be the easiest to bring on board to the new agile workplace. What's missing is the communications flow regarding the business vision being pushed down from the top. If CIOs were to become better evangelists regarding the benefits of an agile environment and how it would benefit everyone, they'd probably be surprised about just how easily people would buy in to the concept. We in IT don't mind being flexible, we just want a logical reason why we should be.

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tjgkg   IT Agility: Tell Us Why   8/2/2012 9:54:40 AM
re: IT Agility: Tell Us Why
I think workers are afraid everywhere, but they will have to overcome that if they want change. I am surprised that so many workers are getting temp jobs in Canada. There was a report here in the US recently about how well Canadian workers and businesses were doing. They even said there were more millionaires in Canada than in the US.
batye   IT Agility: Tell Us Why   8/2/2012 9:47:53 AM
re: IT Agility: Tell Us Why
yes, but a lot of the times workers afraid, and in Canada at least 50% getting temporary IT jobs via employment agency's...- workers have no voice...
tjgkg   IT Agility: Tell Us Why   8/2/2012 9:44:47 AM
re: IT Agility: Tell Us Why
It will change. There are backlashes against outsourcing and with Linkedin and other networking sites, companies that treat people poorly are being named and shamed.
batye   IT Agility: Tell Us Why   8/1/2012 5:08:38 PM
re: IT Agility: Tell Us Why
me too, but  I hope one day thing will change... :)
tjgkg   IT Agility: Tell Us Why   8/1/2012 4:42:52 PM
re: IT Agility: Tell Us Why
Sad it is. Sorry to hear that.
batye   IT Agility: Tell Us Why   8/1/2012 7:45:08 AM
re: IT Agility: Tell Us Why
in Canada it normal way, and no one really cares - sad, sad, sad....
tjgkg   IT Agility: Tell Us Why   8/1/2012 6:03:16 AM
re: IT Agility: Tell Us Why
Companies today are really in the driver's seat because of the horrible economy. They make people go through hoops. It is almost sadistic.
batye   IT Agility: Tell Us Why   7/3/2012 10:30:55 AM
re: IT Agility: Tell Us Why
yes, but the problems for the youth Co. requires exp. for the new technology on the market let say 6 months - but Co. ask for 2 years of hands on knowledge - from the new(younge) employee...
tjgkg   IT Agility: Tell Us Why   7/3/2012 10:20:11 AM
re: IT Agility: Tell Us Why

batye - the problem I think is our human nature to be in comfort zone... this days it more like sink or swim... New generation coping better with it...

Change, will never easy for a lot of people, is better handled by the young-regardless of the generation. When I was entering IT, I was introducing technology to folks who had none and they were scared that these "boxes" would replace their jobs. Young people take to new ideas better, but that does change as the generations grow older!

batye   IT Agility: Tell Us Why   7/3/2012 9:59:31 AM
re: IT Agility: Tell Us Why
the problem I think is our human nature to be in comfort zone... this days it more like sink or swim... New generation coping better with it...
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