Job Titles Change but Behaviours Remain King

Job Titles Change but Behaviours Remain King Author: Matt Cockbill Published: 8 August 2017

The confluence of rapid evolving digital data and technology innovation is really exciting.  It is a great time to be an IT leader. And never more important that these folk truly act and operate as Board stakeholders driving IT & digital enabled transformation. All this change & progress has given rise to an interesting array of job titles. Adding to the staples of; ITD, CIO, CTO, are CDO (data or digital!) CDIO, CIDO and CiTO. Frankly none are wrong, and context & ‘mission’ will dictate what best fits the role and title. After all, get the right person and ‘a rose by any other name’ rapidly takes over. 

For arguments sake let’s assume we are talking about the common all garden IT& Digital leader. For these folk ‘day job’ IT delivery is consistently transformational. The broad brush themes of; legacy simplification & standardisation, transition to the cloud,  cyber security , digital led customer channel shift & enhanced UX, core enterprise application rationalisation core ERP and refining the use and understanding of data, are reasonably ubiquitous. So assuming the tasks are homogenous, it is leadership skills that differentiate you from the pack. 

The elements that make great IT & Digital leaders are not so different to the rest of the board. Impact, presence, interpersonal effectiveness and the ability to bring people on the journey are some of the oft quoted traits of great leaders.  Underpin this with a relentless drive and ability to deliver and you have the base elements of a great hire whether they are in IT or not. 

So what is the market asking for right now? Many of our recent briefings have a similar request within them – someone who can be ‘hands on’.  At lower levels these are being dressed up as hybrid roles – which in my mind don’t serve any one given need particularly well. At the leadership level, where we operate, this is really asking people to be conscious, present, involved, active leaders and managers. The ‘hands on’ request is making sure that each leadership hire is engaged and involved in shaping and delivering on the plan. Best contribution, from the best leaders, attuned to the absolute business priorities. In unsettled social, political and economic times there can be no passengers or conductors; the driving is shared. Simple and refreshing!

Do you want to be the person who gets hung up on the title, or the one that lets their outputs do the talking? Of course the right title can be supportive of internal collaboration, but it won’t open the doors closed by poor behaviours and non-delivery.  Grab the wheel!

Matt Cockbill is a Partner and leads the IT & Digital, Technology and Change & Transformation practices at Berwick Partners

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