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Developing the Strategy to be World-Class

In my previous blog, I talked about the CEB assessment that resulted in the magic quadrant shown below. Although, I don’t think all of the potentially over-allocated items are accurate, what it does display is the areas that my team and I have determined have the highest ROI to focus on. You can’t focus on all areas at the same time and expect to get good results. I drew a circle around the items on the top right and created a plan to increase capabilities in those areas for a reasonable goal for the coming year.

As you can see, I have targeted almost all of the circled items as a way to improve capabilities in the areas that have the most impact to the business. I then asked my management team, who are the core members of my World-Class IT Organization (WCITO) team, to create plans to address their areas of responsibility, inclusive of the tasks from the following list. Not only does this empower them to put their leadership skills to the test, but it also becomes the goals that they will be measured against in the coming year. I have met individually with each of them, as well as several times as a team, to continue to refine these plans.


  • IT Governance (Project & Portfolio Mgmt, Enterprise Architecture)
    • Portfolio & Project Management
      • Develop and implement business case & prioritization process
      • Develop and implement project methodology
      • Develop and implement application development methodology
    • Create a formal Enterprise Architecture program
  • Strategic Planning
    • Develop IT Strategic Plan
    • Develop Enterprise Architecture Plan
    • Develop Applications & PM Plan
    • Develop Infrastructure Plan
  • Talent Management (Skills Mgmt & High-Potential Staff/Leadership Development)
    • High Potential Staff Development
      • Identify high potential staff
      • Set goals and implement development plans
    • Leadership Development
      • Identify potential leaders
      • Empower leaders to create plans to increase capabilities in the following areas of Business Applications, Enterprise Architecture, Infrastructure, and Project Management
      • Develop a culture of trust and a strong focus on achieving results, e.g., ROWE – Results Only Work Environment
  • Business Enablement (Requirements Mgmt, End-User awareness and change management)
    • Standardize requirements gathering process
    • Establish Schuff Service Model that embraces concept of End-to-End IT Services
    • Utilize BAs as Service Delivery Managers to improve…
      • Service Management
      • Stakeholder Management
      • End-User Change Management


The next step is to present these to the entire IT organization in a formal All-Hands meeting in order to communicate and get buy-in from the people that are going to have to execute these plans. We will continue to measure progress throughout the year, as well as to refine the plans as needed, since nothing in IT is ever static. We are constantly changing to accommodate the dynamic needs of the overall organization.


About Michael Weaver

Mike is CIO at DBM Global and startup enthusiast. DBM's portfolio of companies include Schuff Steel, PDC, BDS VirCon and Aitken Manufacturing.


2 thoughts on “Developing the Strategy to be World-Class

  1. A very thorough and credible plan that I am sure many people will copy, and quite right too.

    One question that this approach raises is about “identifying leaders”, what is your approach and what do you mean by a leader? I ask as I have recently become a convert to the principle of world class followers, see below and whilst the two are basically two sides of the same coin, they may require a different perspective to enact.

    World Class Followers:

    Title: Leaders and Followers

    • In a world where we are all taught that being a leader is everything, I submit this alternative view for consideration.
    • We have a leader and that person is xxx. This is fine, every group, from a football team to an army, needs a leader.
    • However, imagine a world where the leader of a team has nothing but leaders underneath him/her. A football team with 11 captains, an orchestra made up purely of violinists, an army full of nothing but generals? This would be chaos and nothing would ever get done.
    • So a leader needs followers and the quality of those followers will more often than not determine the outcome of any scenario – a football match, a symphony or a war.
    • So everywhere we look and see, we hear about how to be a world-class leader but how about becoming a world-class follower?
    • Are you a world-class follower? Do you have what it takes to be a world-class follower?

    The characteristics of a world-class follower.

    1. Great Followers are brilliant and humble:
    a. The ability to lead your own team but to genuinely become a world-class follower when required is critical.
    b. A follower has no ego when the good of the team is at stake, a follower displays all of the characteristics articulated below without hesitation.
    2. Great Followers Seize the Initiative:
    a. The days of leaders saying “Jump!” and subordinates asking “How high?” are over.
    b. Today’s leader desperately needs followers that bring fresh ideas not passive worker bees waiting to be told what to do. Great followers say:
    i. “This is what I think we should do.” not “What do you want me to do?” and then they do it.
    3. Great Followers Anticipate:
    a. Anyone familiar with the stories of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster will know that Wooster is the leader (admittedly without many leadership skills), but he is nonetheless the leader.
    b. Jeeves, his butler, is the follower, and there is no better example of a world-class follower than Jeeves.
    c. Jeeves knows what his leader needs and when he needs it. Jeeves provides this more often than not before Wooster himself realises the need.
    d. Jeeves rarely needs to be asked to do something, he knows it needs to be done and gets on with it.
    e. Jeeves never seeks praise, nor thanks. Jeeves is quite simply a brilliant follower.
    4. Great Followers are Great Communicators:
    a. If your boss ever has to ask for a status report, you are failing as a follower.
    b. Great leaders are great worriers. Great followers pre-empt worry by proactively communicating in writing.
    c. If you do not communicate your boss will naturally worry that you are hiding bad news. Besides, unbidden information is treated far more credibly than information demanded.
    d. Poor communicators consistently find themselves on the defensive and perpetually wondering why.
    5. Great Followers are Goal Driven:
    a. Leaders are busy. The last thing they want to do is “supervise.”
    b. Great followers reason backwards: they use future goals to prioritize today’s “activity.”
    c. Poor followers reason forward: They react to their in-box and email in the forlorn hope that just staying busy will magically produce results somewhere “down the road.”
    d. Your boss is not paying you to “stay busy” or even to “work hard.” S/he is paying you to strategically deliver on clearly defined goals that materially impact the mission.
    6. Great Followers Earn Trust:
    a. My number one goal upon taking a new job was getting my boss to relax.
    b. The sooner I earned his/her trust, the quicker s/he would spend his/her most valuable asset, time, worrying about something other than me.
    c. Louis Mobley said trust relies on promise and fulfillment.
    d. People who keep promises can be trusted. Those who don’t cannot.
    e. Great followers keep promises. It is critical, especially early in your relationship with your boss that you deliver on every commitment no matter how trivial and continue to do so.
    f. It is also right that when you switch from follower to leader, you expect the same from your own band of world-class followers.
    7. Great Followers Offer Solutions:
    a. Anyone can turn his/her problems into problems for his/her boss. That is simply being a messenger.
    b. Great followers solve problems. If they cannot they always offer their boss solutions along with the problem.
    8. Great Followers are Loyal:
    a. If I could not, in clear conscience, back my boss to the hilt then it was time to change jobs or take an unpaid sabbatical.
    b. Great followers take pride in making their boss “look good.”
    c. Even when I disagreed in private, it was still my job to present a united front once the decision had been made.
    d. I never undermined my boss to curry favour with my own people or played politics at his expense.
    9. Great Followers are great leaders:
    a. Imagine two scenarios, a football match and a business. In one the captain leads the team and another the CEO leads the team.
    b. In the football team, there is a defence and that defence will have a leader. The leader of the defence is brilliant at his job – running the defence, and so perfectly well knows what he needs from the others in defence but also what he must contribute to the overall performance of the team.
    c. In the business team, the CEO as five direct reports. She is the leader but the CIO reporting to her has the responsibility of being the best leader to IT people imaginable. At the boardroom table, the CIO is a world-class follower, in the IT meeting room the same person is a world-class leader.
    d. A world-class follower knows how to follow and to lead in equal measure and most importantly when to follow and when to lead.

    Posted by Peter Martin | June 16, 2014, 11:18 AM
    • Great post Peter and thank you for taking the time to comment. I agree that good leaders are good followers and I would assume that almost all great leaders rose to their position by becoming great followers first. Although I didn’t consciously connect the two, all the leaders that have been chosen in my organization have demonstrated excellent follower-ship first, and have taken advantage of the leadership opportunities that were before them.

      Posted by Michael Weaver | June 16, 2014, 3:55 PM

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