Thursday, August 31, 2006


Enterprise Architecture and Hiring Top Talent

Stephanie Overby of CIO Magazine in the latest issue covered the topic of recruiting top talent but of course left out some important considerations...

The biggest gripe with the article is that she of course never talked about the characteristics of strong technical leadership. Would top talent want to work for traditional IT management that is busy aligning itself with the business or those truly doing something special?

If I had to choose my next IT executive I would want to work for it would be a toss up between Roger Carter of Fedex or Phil Venebales of Goldman Sachs. Do you think that I would choose them for their business savvy or that they are technical and represent qualities I aspire to?

Another dimension that never seems to be discussed is not just the CIO and their background but those who report to them. If the background of all of their direct reports doesn't reflect the characteristics that I desire, then why should I pursue? If there were an enterprise where all the IT management were from project management and business backgrounds while another had those characteristics but one of the IT leaders came up through the architecture ranks, which organization do you think would be more attractive to talent?

The phone has rang four times this week with recruiters from others within my own vertical pitching their value proposition. The funny thing is that none of them had any real reason why I should consider a change? Competitive salary equates to I will be making about the same as I do today. None provided me with a chance to leverage my strengths when it comes to thought leadership, open source or other things I am interested in pursuing while most wanted to cripple me with their competency models.

Another characteristic not discussed has to do with industry verticals. If my employer told me to study for my Series 7 to get a promotion, I would be all over it. CIOs haven't yet acknowledged that while business acumen is important, some businesses are simply about as interesting as watching paint dry.

Stephanie did however note that contribution back to the community is vital and encouraged IT management to start getting involved with local high school and college students not for just recruiting but to spark an interest in IT. Guess I will have to highlight this and put it on a lot of folks desks in the AM.

She also hinted at training but didn't indicate any metrics around what the most mature enterprises are doing. My informal research indicates that top enterprises ensure that their staff gets a solid two weeks of training each and every year while laggards get the bare minimal if anything.

Suprisingly, she didn't get a quote from an industry analyst. I wish she had talked with Brenda Michelson of Elemental Links before publication...

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