Previously, I posted about how good data leadership is foundational to the “Internet of Things”. This was about enabling machines and computers by increasing their ability to share information with each other. We recognized the benefit in their ability to leverage information from systems external to themselves but related by common business environments. To me, this organic growth is not unlike what the most effective leaders do on a regular basis. It is the skill of integrating personal experience with contextual intelligence… Kind of a predictive analytics engine in the brain.
This talent is one of the earmarks of successful leaders. It is not just awareness of how to do something, but enhancing that with knowing why it should be done and therefore what action will give the best result. One phrase that I have seen used for this is “tacit knowledge”. Way back in 1966 a man named Michael Polyani wrote a book on this subject that he called “The Tacit Dimension”. Without getting too heady, tacit knowledge is the integration of the data warehouse in your brain…a combination of experience, observation, emotion, intuition and insight to yield wisdom in a particular area.
Most likely 80% of the people reading this are ready move on to something else. We are all quite busy and probably not looking for a Bob Sacca lecture. (He has been known to pontificate!) However, for the remaining 20% I will try to describe what I notice in highly talented IT leaders. I will put more in one of those “Part 2” things that I love to do. But, to start, here is some stuff to set the stage.
Power vs. Potential
A car by itself has power, but the skill and knowledge of the driver give a car potential. Think about this when filling positions in your organization. A candidate may have a lot of knowledge about business process, but a better candidate would be someone who has a strong level of understanding of business process and experience in the subject matter that they are leading. The ability to combine the power of their business process knowledge with a level of expertise that subject area experience gives is their potential. I would look for the candidate with the maximum potential. It is the more complete solution that will best serve the purpose.
A strong IT leader can add business acumen to their technological expertise. When added to an awareness of any current influencing factors (Contextual intelligence), they attain the instinct and intuition that can maximize success. “Tacit” IT Leadership is much more than understanding how to work a P&L statement. It is also knowing what is the most appropriate course of action from a technical perspective should be taken.