Blowing Up the IT Department.

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Aaron Peterson.
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It's not everyday you get the opportunity to blow up your organization.  Metaphorically anyway.

At an offsite strategy meeting recently, I was given such an opportunity.

The opportunity didn't come out of the blue.  It was a long time in the making.

But everyone in the room knew it had to happen.

We'd spent the better part of the year imagining great and wondrous things that we wanted to do.

We set some lofty objectives.

We knew the things that needed to happen in order for us to accomplish them.

But one thing was very clear.

IT needed to change.

And I wasn't upset in the least... in fact, I was thrilled.

It is one thing to be told you need to change (every married man out there knows what that feels like), but it is quite another to have support for a major change in service offering.

Now there's a difference in knowing you need to make major change in your skills mix, and getting support from the organization to do so.

In our case, our skill set in IT was matched to services and systems that had been appropriate a few years ago, but things had evolved.  Our systems became more complex and our user community needed a different level of support. They were both increasingly dependant on technology and had much higher expectations for the things they could do in the classroom.

The support model we built was having trouble delivering an exceptional level of service.

That's not a bad thing... unless we ignore it and don't change.

And it won't be comfortable.  Change never is.

Will it be challenging? Absolutely.

Do I have a crew of great people very suspicious as to what this change will look like?  You bet I do.

For me, this is the juncture of Leadership, future proofing, and compassion.

I will need every leadership skill I possess to lead my team through this.

I will need every bit of wisdom I possess to lead the organization through the changes in IT offerings.

And I will need to always remind myself to not let my excitement overtake the fact that these are decisions that affect people's lives for a very long time.

The new IT model means new skills, new objectives, new learning, new challenges.  It means THEIR WORLD is changing. If they wanted predictable, comfortable jobs, IT is not necessarily a good career choice.

As a leader, you do not make these decisions lightly.

But you do have to make them.

The outcome is far worse than if you don't.

If it helps, don't think of this as "blowing up" your IT Department, call it "re-imagining IT". It has a much kinder, gentler feel (but the outcome has to be the same).

I know the changes we implement will provide much fodder for future postings. Stay tuned.

How about you?  What do you need to change in your IT team?  What skills mix will you have when you are done?

Related Posts:
Resistant to Change? Or Saturated?
The two things that drive Organizational Change
10 Crucial Survival Skills for the 21st Century CIO
How to Avoid Becoming IT Road Kill


  1. Hi Kevin, great blog and topic. Those that are not willing to change at the pace of IT will find themselves left behind! I started a blog a few weeks ago that is similar in content and approach. Great to see another IT leader out there sharing their viewpoints! I plan on making your blog a regular stop for me. Feel free to take a look at mine as well at www.allgreektoyou.com


    1. Ben,

      Thanks for following and the kind comments.

      I'll certainly check out your blog.