IT says it. Human Resources says it. All other internal business silos that provide services to the customer-facing business functions say it. \n\nThey want a seat at the table. \n\nThey want to be seen and treated as an equal business partner and be involved in helping define the organization\u2019s strategic vision, objectives, values, and decisions.\n\nThese are the four competencies IT leaders must to demonstrate to earn their seat at the business strategy table.\n\n1. Superior technical execution\n\nFor IT, consistent, quality daily operations is job #1. Everything else is secondary. As an IT leader, if you cannot meet this requirement, then at best you\u2019ll be disrespected and\/or ignored. At worst, you\u2019ll be replaced.\n\nQuality IT can be divided into three generic types of services: operational, on-demand, and project-based. \n\nIT\u2019s failure in any one of these three service areas, degrades the credibility of the IT leader responsible for that area as well as the CIO and the overall reputation of IT within the organization because those outside of IT don\u2019t generally differentiate the various IT silos. To them, IT is just IT. \n\nThis generalization in the minds of IT\u2019s business partners, allows any one of the three previously mentioned service areas to drag down or lift up the reputation of IT as a whole. The greater the generalized view of IT, the more likely that its leaders will have the opportunity to participate in business-related activities, such as strategic planning. \n\n2. Deep business understanding\n\nYou cannot meaningfully participate in defining the vision, strategy, or objectives of a business or industry you don\u2019t deeply understand. \n\nJust because you have a strong understanding of the systems and processes in your industry, that doesn\u2019t necessarily mean that you understand the business nuances of your company\u2019s customers, or have the knowledge needed to help properly position your company against its competition. As a generic example, understanding how to implement a CRM system doesn\u2019t mean you know how to sell.\n\nAs an IT executive looking to get a seat at the strategy table, you must extend your knowledge beyond the internal operations of your company to include the business side of your industry.\n\n3. Embracing what you know\n\nAs an IT leader, you\u2019ve spent many years honing hands-on and\/or technical leaderships skills. Likewise, your peers in sales, marketing, finance, human resources, etc. have spent years honing their profession\u2019s skills. It is unreasonable to expect you know their professions as well as you know your own. You can\u2019t and you shouldn\u2019t try \u2026 unless you want to leave IT.\n\nEach profession brings with it its own set of skills, knowledge, and perspective, as does IT. To get a seat at the strategy table, regardless of your core profession, you must look beyond it and understand its context as part of the overall organization and the external competitive landscape. This is easier for marketing and sales leaders than it is for IT leaders because their primary focus is customer facing, while the primary view for IT professionals is internal.\n\nAs an IT executive, getting a seat at the business strategy table requires not being intimidated by the external understanding of your business partners. Instead, you must embrace the importance of your company-wide internal knowledge and how it can be used for the company\u2019s competitive advantage and growth.\n\n4. Emotional intelligence\n\nThose trained as technical professionals in software development, law, medicine, science, engineering, finance, and others, all have one major thing in common: They are all taught to have the answers or know how to get them. It\u2019s all about acquiring knowledge, skills, and experience.\n\nWhen you move into a technical leadership role, it\u2019s no longer about you; it\u2019s about your team, your peers, business partners, customers, and the overall organization. Over time, as your organizational level and responsibilities increase, your success becomes less reliant on your ability to perform technically and more reliant on your organizational, political, and interpersonal savvy. That is to say, your emotional intelligence and your ability to use it effectively in the workplace determines your ability to succeed in IT executive roles.\n\nThe movement from individual contributor to IT leader is like going from being single to getting married. It\u2019s still a little about you, but now it\u2019s about the team. The more able you are to motivate your team, define IT\u2019s vision to maximize its value to the business, and have empathy for your business partners, customers, and senior management, the more likely you will be viewed as a business peer, and not just as the head techie. It\u2019s this personal growth, beyond your technical skills, that will assist you in gaining a seat at the business strategy table.