I know we've all heard the saying: "think outside the box", or "change is the only constant". But what about "you need to be uncomfortable with being comfortable in order to grow and be successful?". I have found that when you have confidence in yourself and your team, the way in which you then solve true business problems and add value to your organization is to take on challenges that may seem uncomfortable at first, but later you realize that you and your team can overcome them.
Our natural tendency in IT is to stay within our 4 walls because it's more comfortable. Getting outside your 4 walls and working within your organization's departments is very important and everyone in IT (no matter what position you are in IT) needs to get out and understand how IT impacts the organization's end customer. (not just the CIO or their leadership team - EVERYONE!)
At the same time, it is critical that IT staff network with people outside their company. SIM provides so many opportunities for IT Leaders to learn from each other. I'd offer this additional thought. Go visit another SIM Chapter!! It is an excellent experience to meet your peers in other cities and to make new acquaintances. And the Chapter members really enjoy meeting other leaders from other SIM Chapters. I had the opportunity to visit events in Milwaukee and Detroit this past week. Each had events like our partnered events in Chicago. Milwaukee's attendance was over 200 people and Detroit's Midwest Technology Forum had 350 people registered. I found the events a great opportunity to expand my network, and meet people I had only communicated with through email or the phone.
It's great to see how other Chapters operate and the wonderful "give-back" and philanthropic work that they do in their cities. I was at each event to "spread the word" on the RLF Leadership Program and to thank those CIO's that sponsor participants. This is not always a comfortable thing for me to do, but I find that once I focus on making plans and the effort, I know that during and afterwards, it was the right thing for me to do to expand my learnings and to meet new people with similar and different experiences than my own. I even met a SIM Chicago prior member at the event that I hadn't seen in years.
So, remember, get uncomfortable with being comfortable. If you don't, you will not be as "relevant" to your organization as you need to be. Remember also, your business partners ask themselves every day: "What has IT done for me lately?" They easily forget the great things you believe you have done for them. They are short-lived! And that's reality! Help your teams understand that and move on to the next great thing you and your teams will do for the business and your customers.
Get active in your SIM Chapter! We need everyone's help in making our Chapter strong for all its members. If you'd like to do that, please contact any of our Board members. Here is the link to our Board for you to contact. SIM Chicago Board Members.
And lastly, if you are committed to growing and developing your high potential staff, please support SIM's RLF Leadership program by sponsoring a participant. I personally have seen the benefits. SIM RLF Leadership Program.