7 Signs You've Lost Your IT Mojo


By Samuel Greengard

These days, it's difficult to go anywhere without hearing the words "innovation" and "agility" tossed around. Every organization aims to embrace these lofty qualities, but few succeed.

IT innovation is an even dicier proposition in today's fast-changing environment. Here are seven signs of "innovation deficit disorder."

All Systems Slow. If the words "legacy system" come up on a daily basis, there's trouble. It's usually not wise to be on the bleeding edge, but it's equally risky to be on the wheezing edge. Technology is changing rapidly, and many legacy systems no longer cut it.

The Gatekeepers Rule! If your CIO or other leaders are uttering, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," than there's probably a strong need to fix it. And if they are desperately holding the line against social media and the bring-your-own-device movement, issue a red alert.

Strategy Soup. Alas, many organizations lack a cohesive and overarching IT strategy. A hodge-podge of projects and systems eventually creates a tangle of confusion. As a result, high-level strategic planning is critical. Equally problematic: organizations that stick to the same tired strategy for way too long.

Too Many Experts. There's certainly a place in the enterprise for seasoned IT executives. Years of experience and knowledge can help shape a strategy and guard against impulsive and ill-fated decisions. However, a great way to apply the tourniquet to innovation is to exclude younger managers from IT planning. They understand today's technology in ways that older executives cannot.

Fear of Failure. When the entire organization has its collective tail between its legs and risk-takers are punished rather than rewarded, mediocrity and failure are inevitable. The goal should be to take calculated risks and learn from the mistakes. That's how success flourishes.

Shelter in Silos. It's never been more important for departments and divisions to work together, particularly to design and manage IT solutions. There's no way to build the right systems and unleash the right tools without a crystal-clear idea of how work flows through the entire organization.

Resting on Laurels. Unfortunately, managers at many organizations too often wind up drinking their own Kool-Aid. They have no idea how things actually work in the outside world. They spend little or no time checking out the competition or best-practice leaders in other industries.