Last quarter I spoke with an IT team leader wanting to encourage the executive team to make decisions on a pending security and connectivity project. The expectation was that the leadership team would respond with questions and a tentative direction after reading the requisition summary. That was three months ago, and no response was discouraging.
When he pressed for feedback, the email reply was short, “We will discuss this later.” He talked about the team’s challenges, who were constantly under pressure to quickly put out fires over resolving the problems. The flow of interruptions varied in frequency and significance as morale within the IT department was taking a hit.
The security analyst recently left the company, further stretching the team. His boss stated that IT must proactively address issues as department-level complaints increase. He submitted a project plan to address several problems but lacked timely leadership feedback or direction.
He didn’t see an end in sight and cited the definition of insanity, doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. I’m guessing that many of you can relate to his situation. I felt his pain and offered a different perspective to the conversation.
The dialogue started with the three questions listed below to evaluate the problem he was trying to solve. He emailed a series of data points and the requisition summary the following week. Now we are digging into the details.
- How are the security and connectivity issues impacting the departments?
- What is the monthly cost of disruption and support of the recurring issues?
- How is this disruption and expense impacting business performance?
Upon review of the supplied information, the details in response to the questions were largely absent from the requisition summary. The executives appeared to have a basic understanding of the problems but did not see how funding the project would fix the problems. The outline was also unattractive because they are trying to reduce the IT budget rather than increase it.
We worked with the IT lead to verify and adjust the data points with feedback from the departments. Some executives saw the IT department as an obstacle and pointed to them as the cause of ongoing problems. The idea of “why waste the money” was some of the harsher feedback received.
On one side, we have IT wanting to fix the connectivity and security problems and the other wanting the issues to disappear. The executives and managers were frustrated, and so was everyone in IT. Why the disconnect?
The leadership team and IT viewed the fixes differently, and both impacted cash flow. After the project outline revision, the consensus is that the plan is now understandable, useful, and practical.
- This is how investing in this project will impact productivity by department.
- This is the projected cash flow offsets in the coming months by department.
- This is the budget and timeframe for completion with ROI.
The executive team could see a path forward and the return on investment from funding the revised security and connectivity project. Management also agreed to a few incremental upgrades to further isolate and protect privileged information.
Will you make it happen?
This breakthrough was a big win for IT and the leadership team. They turned frustration into action. Mutual understanding, confidence, and forward momentum replaced confusion and inaction.
- What are your takeaways from this article?
- Can you begin to see the benefits of a new perspective, regardless of your circumstances?
- How much more would you accomplish if we collaborated?
You are not alone in your struggles. If you see the problem and take ownership as the IT lead did, we can collaborate to find solutions to resolve your security and connectivity issues.
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