Worker Support, Integration, Culture

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-12-22 Print this article Print

Worker Support Workplaces that feed into the naturally self-motivated qualities of IT professionals have been the favorites of Karl Herleman, CIO and vice-president of information technology at Miami Dade College.
"IT is all about learning, and Ive been able to continue to learn and grow with every job Ive been in… The great majority of workers in IT are self-motivated, and Ive always been able to have co-workers who get excited about technology," said Herleman.
Herleman speaks about not losing track of time only focusing on cool, new technologies but to pay attention to the dimensions that count. "My current job has one dimension that is priceless--a commitment to a higher purpose--education. But in general, delighting customers with technology is just about the most satisfying thing in the world," said Herleman. Integrated, Not Segregated, IT Currently back in school as a Ph.D. student and research associate at Emory Universitys business school, David Bray said he has always been happiest at jobs where CIOs embraced a more "holistic" approach to information systems, one in which the emphasis is less on technology as separate from business and more as something interlaced with the fabric of an institutions vision. "Ive been lucky enough to have several IT roles where it was more about information intelligence, where knowledge of technology was but one piece of a large puzzle requiring institutional knowledge, business knowledge, and an eye on the horizon for new opportunities [as well as possible pitfalls]," said Bray. Brays favorite IT-related jobs have always allowed him to "connect the dots"--to tackle problems which could be made solvable by IT, and been in places that understood that technology didnt exist in a vacuum. "More CIOs and CEOs are adopting more bottom-up fostering of ideas and grass-roots cultivation approaches to knowledge activities in their organizations, versus the older method of top-down command-and-control management… The latter is an outdated approach," said Bray. Copasetic Culture Greg Smith, vice-president and CIO at the Washington, D.C.-headquartered WWF (World Wildlife Fund) not only understands the role of happy IT professionals in getting big jobs done, he wrote a book about it: "Straight to the Top: Becoming a World-Class CIO" (Wiley, 2006). In this career roadmap for IT pros, he encourages workers who are in jobs that are no longer working for them in that they are not challenging or fun, to change it. "There are a variety of reasons why folks leave a job, but from my perspective--staying in one that isnt working out well for too long is actually worse," said Smith. He also encourages workers to seek out organizations where the corporate culture and environment will mesh with theirs. "People usually do well and have fun with work that they like. I really think the formula is just that simple. If youre not loving your job anymore, theres only one person to blame for not fixing it." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from


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