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12/20/2012
04:20 PM
Jim Ditmore
Jim Ditmore
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10 Year-End To-Do Items For IT Leaders

It's time to reflect, give thanks, recharge and come out of the gate swinging in 2013.

8 CEOs Speak: IT Projects That Matter Most
8 CEOs Speak: IT Projects That Matter Most
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It's that time of year when everyone is scurrying to wrap up the last steps of projects. For senior IT managers, here's a quick list of things to do before the new year.

1. Vacation Overlaps.

Recheck that you and your senior team members aren't all heading out on vacation and you have no one left to mind the shop. If there's a gap, you need to be the one to fill it. (And while you're handling this last set of work during the relatively quiet days ahead, you'll be able to multitask and take on the items below.)

2. Batch Cycles.

With the surge in retail sales and other peaks this time of year, ask the production batch team to quickly forecast and recalibrate the peak processing time for batch runs in December, month end, and year end. It's better to find out now that you need to address capacity than at 3 a.m. Sunday morning of the new year as your company can't close its books on time.

3a. Feedback For Your Team.

Write a thoughtful and generous note to your team pointing out their progress and accomplishments for the year. Everyone needs to be thanked and appreciated; you've probably done enough coaching this year.

3b. More Feedback For Your Team.

Spend some of this quiet time writing well-considered performance reviews for your team. Start with your best and worst performers -- they will get the biggest positive impact from a strong write-up. For outstanding insight on competencies and how to coach, check out FYI: For Your Improvement by Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger.

4. Gain New Insights.

Spend another part of your vacation time reading a good management or IT book to gain some fresh perspectives. I recommend Magical Mathematics, The Rare Find or Great By Choice.

5. Start Out Proactively.

Book time in January with your planning team to ensure you have the IT goals for 2013 clearly defined, and map out the steps you'll take to communicate them broadly. Otherwise, you will get caught up with the first assignments that come in the door in the new year and will remain reactive the entire year.

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6. Allocate Time For Your Customers.

Ask your admin to ensure you have regular meetings scheduled every month with all of your business partners. Such regular sessions are key to keeping in touch and providing great service.

7. Thank Your Admin.

Most people interact with you through your admin. Thank him or her with a nice gift and note. Make sure you don't get a gift in return.

8. Thank Your Sponsors.

Spend some quality time with your boss. Whatever the challenges for the year have been, thank your boss for the support and opportunities he or she has given you. Make it clear you'll be refreshed and ready to go in the new year.

9. Get Ready To Recruit And Retain.

If you don't have a robust recruiting and retention plan, gear up for 2013! The IT unemployment rate averages 2% and any improvement in the economy will make the talent hunt harder. Invest more in recruiting and hiring college graduates. Look to bring in and train bright junior people rather than go after only mid- or senior-level people. Consider alternate locations with strong engineering talent pools.

10. Take Time For Yourself And Your Family.

Decompress and reflect, relax and recharge. Focus on your family. Identify the key things about you that you want to change for 2013. Save the "how" for another reflection session. Walk into January with renewed vigor and a focused game plan for the new you.

If you aim to do fewer than five of the things above, make sure you do No. 10 so that you personally are ready for next year.

What changes or additions would you make to this list? Please weigh in with a comment below. I hope your year has been successful and rewarding. All the best, and have a great holiday season and prosperous 2013.

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Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/28/2012 | 2:07:12 AM
re: 10 Year-End To-Do Items For IT Leaders
AMEN on point 5 - working as part of an IT team that is reactive from the word go is grueling. You never know where the next fire to be put out is going to crop up. Fires will always have to be fought, just a nature of the beast - but when you have on-going projects and programs that are stretching your team already, those fires can cause major productivity losses.

Also a big fan of point 10 - but something to keep in mind is that those further on down the ranks, the guys in the trenches, as it were, really could use some time for themselves and their families as well.

Andrew Hornback
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