by Owen Powell

The CIO Questionnaire, Owen Powell of the Arts Council

Jan 14, 2010
CareersGovernmentIT Leadership

Owen Powell puts the digital into the national arts world, he’s a very people motivated leader and enjoys discussing issues around motivation and leadership, as he did in this CIO UK podcast.

To learn more about Owen, read his own words below:

Q: Where were you born? A: York

Q: How many people work in your IT department? A: 25

Q: What is the size of your annual IT budget? A:About £3M per annum Q: What is the basic structure of your IT department? A: Three teams – infrastructure, service desk and business systems. We also provide project support to the business.

Q: Do you believe in mentoring? A: Very much so. IT management is a complex area and is often misunderstood. Mentoring provides a safe and effective way of working through issues.

Coaching is an area that I’m looking to develop as part of my skill set. I’ve done a short course, but one of my objectives this year to become qualified. I think many IT staff would benefit from coaching to help with day-to-day issues (especially those that are people-related) and also with longer term career development.

Q: Which tools or tactics have given you most success in communicating up/down/across? A: I try to be approachable. You can learn more at the water cooler in five minutes than in a two hour meeting.

Q: What profession would you most/least like to attempt? A: I really wouldn’t fancy being a driving instructor – I think that would be an awful job.

What I’d like to try, and I’ve undertaken some training to support this, is a move into business psychology, particularly in an IT context.

Q: Which word or phrase do you most use/overuse? A: Let’s go back to the business and try to clarify that.

Q Which business (or other) books have been influential in your career? A: Scott Adams’ “Dilbert” books have probably captured corporate IT better than anything else, and remain a key resource (on how not to do things!). Other than that, Belbin’s work on team roles has been useful.

Q Do you have a sport you practice or sportsperson/team that you follow? A: I play a bit of rugby, which is good for letting off a bit of steam and getting away from a computer.

Q: What else do you do outside of work? A: I’m studying (psychology) at the moment, but I also write an IT Careers blog in the Guardian, and respond to questions posted in their forums.