Creating the IT culture you need

Re-engineering your culture requires developing new core skills. Learn how three CIOs are tackling IT transformation from a human perspective.

man pitching idea confident leader speaking talking presenting soft skills
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In four years as CTO at CVS, Claus Jensen sponsored no technical training for his 500-person team. None.

“That’s not to say technical training wasn’t available,” he’s quick to note. “But I didn’t sponsor any of it.”

Instead, he sponsored 45 soft skill initiatives — a dedicated, intentional program of building what we often undersell as soft skills from the ground up: consultative approaches, negotiating prowess, influence and diplomacy. Everything from marketing IT’s value within the business to providing strategic leadership.

The reason for this intense focus? As I explained in "The new core competencies IT must master," only one of the core competencies of organizations moving up the IT maturity curve had to do with technical skills. The rest were soft skills. Those were the real differentiators.

Jensen did more than just post a curriculum for soft skills training. He participated in all the workshops himself. He created thought-provoking videos that communicated why these skills are critical to IT and the business’s overall success. And he created a badge program that recognized everyone’s achievements. If you check out his LinkedIn profile, you’ll see that he notes many of his own certifications through that program. Now imagine anyone on his team trying to say, “Ahh, this touchy-feely stuff doesn’t really matter.”

It matters. IT leaders are being asked to transform their organizations. And the answer to “But transform into what?” has everything to do with making soft skills the new core competencies. Jensen has transformed his organization by focusing on these skills.

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