18 Nov 2009View Comments
For the past few months, I have been focusing on running Computing’s high-profile campaign, Tomorrow’s IT Leaders, which aims to discuss the future of technology leadership and offer a roadmap to IT professionals to reach the top of their careers.
Having the support of those who really matter is key to the success of any campaign and we gained the backing of many of the most influential IT leaders in the UK to join this discussion, which is crucial to anyone working in IT and to the future of the UK’s economy.
Sadly, some senior IT managers, guarded by ferocious and overzealous PR departments, could not express their views even if they wanted to, because of concerns ranging from the possible effect on the company share price to “what would staff think”. Surprisingly, for some people the future of IT skills was considered a more sensitive topic of discussion than their technology strategy.
Time is always an issue when trying to get busy people on board an initiative such as this, so it takes a lot of perseverance to get things moving. Ironically, the majority of IT leaders said they should spend more of their time in issues related to staff management.
This would in theory include shouting about their strategies, so perhaps it gives a good indication of who is really doing what.
Since the campaign launched in September we have produced a series of articles, videos, podcasts, social networking initiatives and opinion pieces, all of which can be read on our special web site at www.computing.co.uk/til.
The campaign videos involve IT leaders and industry experts and have proved a fascinating forum for learning about the ideas of the most successful managers in the industry. This was a great opportunity to watch and listen to some interesting, passionate leaders talking about what makes them tick.
Those leaders have also said that the video interviews helped them to reflect on their own skills strategy, and they have learned from talking to the experts involved about the actions needed to avert a potential leadership crisis.
This is not something that many had thought about, especially at a time when the pressure to “keep the lights on” is stronger than ever.
The campaign has demonstrated what it takes to be a leader. It was an eye-opener visiting people such as the retail IT chief who took me on a tour of his company and explained every detail of the operations, from designing to sewing, and knew every corner of his business. There was also the airline IT boss, who candidly talked about what it is really like to do a lot more with a lot less in troubled economic times.
The campaign will have proved a success if those inspiring IT leaders – and also our readers – begin to communicate and work towards the same vision of a strong, vibrant and diverse IT sector of which future generations aspire to be a part.
Over the next few weeks, we will ask the UK’s most prominent IT managers what aspiring leaders will need to climb through the ranks. Keep an eye out for the articles, and let us know what you think about the future of IT leadership.
More comment at http://newsdesk.computing.co.uk
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