What’s it like to take part inThe Technology Leadership Experience? Participants are immersed in an in-depth leadership development journey — comprised of workshops, one-on-one mentoring, peer problem-solving, networking, and self-awareness — where they build the skills and confidence to step up to tomorrow’s C-level roles.
Over the course of the program, these emerging IT leaders develop strong bonds with their colleagues and become part of a community of leaders that will continue to support and learn from each other as they prepare for the next stage in their careers. At the graduation ceremonies for a recent St. Louis TechLX cohort, participants Andrea Gazzoli (MiTek), Jennifer Walton (St. Louis Zoo), Lisa Spahr (Maritz), Ron Borror (Alberici Group), and Cid Cardoz (St. Louis University) presented a powerful video with highlights from their journey, which you can watch below.
As they share, “We know this journey may have ended; however, a new one is beginning as we take on new roles and responsibilities, mentor the next group of cohorts, and increase the ranks of the technology leadership community. Thank you for empowering us with the needed tools and bringing this awesome program to the St. Louis region.”
Awards Presentation, CIO Panel Among Highlights as 60 Emerging IT Leaders Graduate from The Technology Leadership Experience, St. Louis
At the graduation program for The Technology Leadership Experience (The TechLX) in St. Louis on December 9, 2019, four emerging IT leaders and three businesses were recognized for their commitment to the growth of technology leadership in the St. Louis area.
Ouellette & Associates, the company behind The TechLX, along with local partner Technology Partners, presented the following individual awards, as selected by the TechLX participants:
The Leader Amongst Leaders Awards are given to the TechLX participants who best personify the leadership qualities covered in program. The Mentoring Excellence Awards are presented to TechLX mentors who best exemplify the ideal image of a mentor.
Ouellette & Associates also presented Community Leadership Awards to MiTek, Panera Bread, and Technology Partners for going above and beyond to contribute the program’s success and demonstrate a passion and commitment to nurturing and developing the IT leadership community.
“The goal of The TechLX is to put high-potential IT professionals on the fast-track to leadership,” says Dan Roberts, CEO of Ouellette & Associates. “Thanks to the outstanding contributions of these individuals and organizations, it’s also helping to strengthen the technology leadership community in St. Louis and establish it as ‘the place to be in IT.’”
The graduation program was the culmination of a 22-week in-depth leadership development experience for 60 emerging technology leaders from organizations throughout the St. Louis area. These leaders participated in leadership development workshops to increase their strategic business acumen as well as networking, peer problem-solving, and one-on-one mentoring with local CIOs and senior IT leaders.
As part of the graduation event, a CIO panel of IT executives, including Jeff Schuchart, VP IT of Enterprise Fleet Management, David Hackanson, CIO of St. Louis University, and Mike Prusaczyk, VP Enterprise Architecture and IT Strategy for Panera, discussed how to fulfill the need for strategic IT representation in local C-suites.
“In the digital era, the spotlight is on IT leaders,” says Roberts. “They have to be more than just technical experts and solution providers. They need to be strategic business partners and ‘innovative anticipators’ who can drive the business forward. The organizations taking part in The TechLX are leading the way by prioritizing the core skills, networking, and mentorship opportunities that are vital for preparing today’s emerging leaders to step up to tomorrow’s C-level roles.”
The December 9th graduation, held at St. Louis University, honored participants from the first two TechLX cohorts to launch in St. Louis. Three additional cohorts are currently underway or coming soon to the area. TechLX cohorts are also being launched over the next six months in Kansas City, Mo.; Sydney, Australia; Raleigh, N.C.; Phoenix; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Southern California; Denver; and Pittsburgh.
About The Technology Leadership Experience
Presented by Ouellette & Associates, The Technology Leadership Experience (The TechLX) provides an in-depth learning journey for a cohort of mid-level technology leaders within a single city. Through a combination of classroom workshops, peer networking, problem-solving, and mentoring, the program does more than build the next generation of technology leaders; it creates a powerful technology leadership community. For more information, visit thetechlx.com.
About Ouellette & Associates
Over the past 35 years, more than 3,500 organizations worldwide in business, education, and government have relied on Ouellette & Associates (O&A) to fuel their transformation. O&A is the only professional development firm focusing exclusively on developing the human side of technology to unleash the power of IT. Through IT talent development workshops, The Technology Leadership Experience, and IT Skill Builder — a cloud-based assessment, personal development and workforce analytics platform — O&A equips IT organizations, leaders and teams for success in an ever-changing business environment. Learn more at ouellette-online.com.
Talk to any CIO or IT executive who’s ever mentored an up-and-coming leader and you’ll quickly discover that they’re getting as much out of the experience as their mentees are. Not only does IT mentoring gives the executive a satisfying way to pay it forward, it’s also a great way to engage star talent, learn about new tech, and relate to younger workers.
In a recent article for The Enterprisers Project, Dan Roberts explored how both mentor and mentee can make the relationship work best and deliver a win-win all around. As part of his research process for the article, Dan spoke with two people who know first hand what makes a mentoring relationship effective. Dollar Bank CIO Bill Fortwanger and Andy Bonelli, a senior IT manager at PPG, were paired up as mentor and mentee in a recent TechLX cohort in Pittsburgh. They’ve seen just how powerful the relationship can be for both sides of the equation.
Andy has also served as a mentor himself in PPG’s internal program, and many mentees go on to pay it forward as mentors themselves. In fact, research shows that 89% of those mentored go on to mentor others, contributing to a culture of learning and mentoring.
How Mentoring Makes an Impact
When CIOs and other IT executives volunteer to become mentors in the TechLX program, we ask them to share their thoughts on the value of mentoring as a professional development tool and what they hope to gain from the relationship. Here’s just a sampling of what these leaders have told us:
To learn more about getting the benefits of an IT mentoring relationship, be sure to check out Dan’s article, IT mentors: How to make the most of this win-win relationship.
Interested in being a mentor for one of our upcoming TechLX cohorts, or just want to learn more about this powerful technology leadership experience? Email us, give us a call at 603-782-7473, or visit the TechLX website for more details.
IT leaders are being asked to transform their organizations. And the answer to the question “But transform into what?” has everything to do with making soft skills the new core competencies.
In part two of Dan Roberts’ latest CIO Whisperers column, Claus Jensen, CTO of CVS Health, Sue Kozik, CIO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, and Steve LeMoine, CIO of Cree, discuss how they’re tackling IT transformation from a human perspective.
By sponsoring training in areas like consultative approaches, negotiating prowess, influence and diplomacy, marketing IT’s value, and providing strategic leadership, these leaders are putting the emphasis on core skills. Why? Because those are the skills that will fuel IT performance and elevate IT as a strategic partner and innovation driver in the business.
Read on to learn why re-engineering your culture requires developing new core skills.
Strengthen your talent brand, future-proof your business
Today’s high-performing IT organizations have a laser-like focus on building the core skills required to support the business and continually move up the IT Maturity Curve.
> Develop the IT skills that deliver game-changing value.
Get in touch with us for additional resources to help you move up the IT Maturity Curve and achieve your leadership and talent development goals.
Communication, influence, innovative thinking, customer focus: They used to be called “soft skills,” a term that makes many CIOs cringe. But today, these are by no means “soft.” They’re some of IT's most-needed core competencies.
For a new two-part CIO Whisperers column, Dan Roberts spoke with Claus Jensen, CTO of CVS Health, Sue Kozik, CIO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, and Steve LeMoine, CIO of Cree, about the need for today’s IT employees to be “leaders, collaborators, visionaries,” as Jensen puts it.
In part one, Dan explores why the technical skills that earned you a seat at the table won’t earn you a voice at the table.
Read on to learn why IT must master a new set of core skills for high-level success.
In a new column for the St. Louis Business Journal, Greg Nichols, President of Technology Partners Inc., makes a compelling case for cultivating a strong pipeline of visionary IT leaders. “The lack of IT professionals with real business leadership experience is a challenge our region must meet to stay competitive,” he observes.
In fact, it’s a hard reality that’s affecting cities, communities, and regions across the country and around the world. That’s why we’re partnering with organizations like Technology Partners to launch The TechLX, an innovative six-month IT leadership development experience, in cities this fall.
Scott Livingston, manager of membership platform production support at HM Health Solutions, explains that it’s about building the abstract qualities that make leaders, not just managers. He credits his participation in a TechLX cohort in Pittsburgh for contributing to his recent promotion. “I’ve learned that what you can do is only as good as the people you surround yourself with and how much you can motivate them,” he says. “It’s about creating opportunities.”
Building the IT Hubs of the Future
The TechLX is launching cohorts this fall in Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City, Raleigh, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Sydney Australia.
Get in touch with us today to learn about available sponsorship opportunities for emerging tech leaders in these communities.
“Technology is the engine. If we don’t have the leadership pipeline, it’s not going to happen.”
That’s O&A’s Dan Roberts, talking with Technology Partners Founder Lisa Nichols recently about what we need to do to prepare our communities, leaders, and entire workforces for an increasingly disruptive world. Lisa caught up with Dan recently for an episode of her Something Extra podcast.
In a wide-ranging conversation about technology and what great leaders are doing to become trusted advisors in their organization, Dan and Lisa discussed how IT can deliver more strategic value, the importance of building a culture of learning agility, and why a “net-giver” mindset makes all the difference.
Listen to full episode here.
Find out more about the innovative Leadership Development Program mentioned in the podcast, and get in touch if you’d like more information about how to bring it to your community.
From talent magnet to business partner to official face of IT, today’s CIOs need to be communicating more than ever before. Great leaders rise to the occasion, armed with a learning mindset and the support of their IT communications partners.
That’s one of the big takeaways from the interviews O&A’s CEO Dan Roberts conducted with more than a dozen IT communications professionals at forward-thinking companies like Asurion, Boeing, and Dignity Health.
In part two of the two-part article for his CIO Whisperers column, Dan shares more lessons from these leaders and reveals how Claus Jensen, CTO of CVS Health, communicates his vision with authenticity and clarity.
Having studied CIO-led transformations over the past three decades, we’ve found that there’s a key differentiator that sets the best apart from all the rest: a strong Communications partner.
Along with the complexities and challenges of IT transformation, the overall business environment is escalating the need for future-focused Communications leadership that understands the strategic IT agenda.
There are a number of reasons why a strong IT Communications partner is particularly important today, including:
O&A’s CEO Dan Roberts recently interviewed IT Communications leaders at a number of successful companies to get an insider view of the role, from both a strategic and day-to-day level. Read part one of the takeaways in his CIO Whisperers column on how CIOs communicate success—and elevate their game.
Customer-centricity has become a hot buzzword across industries today, both in B2C and B2B companies. And there’s a good reason for that. Customer-obsessed organizations are winning.
But when we start to apply the concepts of customer-centricity and service excellence to IT organizations, we often find that CIOs and IT leaders don’t really understand what the terms mean in practice. So before we talk about what good service looks like for IT, we need to understand what good service doesn’t look like.
First, service is not subservience. It’s not about becoming submissive order-takers who deliver anything the client desires. IT cannot be all things to all people. You end up serving whoever screams the loudest — and satisfying no one.
But even though IT can’t do everything the client asks for, it can convey a willingness to serve, and it does this by addressing the client’s needs with respect and concern. If you’ve succeeded, the client walks away from the transaction interaction thinking, ‘‘I really like working with these people.’’
Second, service can’t spring from a negative atmosphere. Many IT organizations weave IT service into IT governance, and the result becomes an attempt by IT to impose what’s “best” onto the entire organization. While IT absolutely has to keep its eye on regulatory requirements, security best practices and infrastructure needs, if all the business sees is you being an obstacle to meeting bottom-line objectives, you’re only undercutting your own effectiveness.
The result of this negativity is that IT is seen as “the Department of No,” and IT sees the business as inconsiderate, unappreciative and “unable to survive a day without us.” That’s no way to build trust, credibility and respect. Unfortunately, many IT departments are hotbeds of negativity, where the staff feels undervalued, angry and victimized.
It’s no wonder, then, that when some IT leaders ask their staff to improve their service, the staff might glumly play a role that they think looks like good service but isn’t. Think of the store checkout clerk who asks without expression or eye contact whether you’ve found everything okay, or the false smile of the ﬂight attendant who tells you to have a good day. All of us can spot insincerity or indifference under a thin veneer of professionalism a mile away. And none of us likes it.
Good Service Looks Like This
From an IT point of view, the characteristics of good service include:
When IT views its mission not as maintaining an infrastructure and getting through a backlog of service tickets, but as partnering with line of business workers to make the entire enterprise successful, a change happens. Their problem is our problem. Their goals — to be more productive, to succeed in the market, to capture a new business opportunity — become our goals.
An IT Service Mindset at Work
What this reflects is a change in mindset that’s required to achieve service excellence. And it’s easiest to describe that change with examples. Here are a few that might resonate with you:
By contrast, the Promiser just says, ‘‘Yes,’’ ‘‘We can do that,’’ ‘‘We can do that, too,’’ and ‘‘Is there anything else you want us to do?’’
Both roles are played with the best of intentions — the Rule Master wants to manage expectations and protect the company, while the Promiser is trying to build good relationships. But you can get better results and better serve your customers by taking those best intentions and pointing them in the right direction. A shift in mindset makes it possible.
> Learn more about Achieving IT Service Excellence.
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