Culture not only defines who you are and how you relate to each other, but also affects team performance and productivity. “Poor culture affects team performance—having a really good culture means delivering what the business needs,” says Dundas.
Prudential Global Investment Management
Prepare a culture stick
One of the most important rules for strengthening culture is breaking down silos and creating a more cohesive IT community. First Citizens Bank, which has grown from $17 billion to $210 billion in assets over the past decade through multiple mergers and acquisitions, has made a concerted effort over the years to create a “team DNA” instead of individual fiefdoms.
“If the network team, the DBA team, or the application team drops the ball, it should reflect all of us in IT, not just individual team delivery,” explains Dede Ramoneda, the bank’s executive vice president and CIO. “We’ve broken down silos and redefined our identity as delivering a whole IT solution rather than delivering a specific piece. Sometimes you have to suboptimize individual parts to optimize the whole, and that changes how you work with your peers and how you challenge each other.
First Citizens Bank
It’s also important to be intentional and clear about reinforcing core values to keep everyone on board. Ramoneda’s leadership team is committed to constantly communicating the impact of IT services on the lives of its customers, especially when problems arise. For example, IT leaders shared stories of a failed ATM network preventing a customer from getting cash to finance the purchase of an engagement ring or missing a cruise departure time because they were sidetracked by a malfunctioning ATM. “We use these types of stories to emphasize that we’re not just supporting systems, we’re supporting technology that impacts people’s lives,” says Ramoneda.
At Brown & Brown Insurance, the IT culture is about building close alignment with the business to drive positive results—a partnership that is continually strengthened by listening, engaging IT leaders with the business, and zeroing in on the interview and hiring process. People who are not just technically literate, but partnership and business oriented, says Gray Nestor, executive vice president and CIO of BBNI.
Patience and grace must be part of the process, as people may not understand what you are asking them to do at first and why they need to change their behavior.
Brown and Brown Insurance
“You have to be willing to give people feedback and examples regularly to get a different result,” says Nestor. “The real hard part starts with moving the needle—you have to be willing to spend time with the business, spend time with leadership, and thrive on excellence.”
What is the key measure for good IT culture formation and results? For Deepa Soni, CIO of The Hartford, this is a validation of the IT organization’s visibility as a strategic partner to the business – driven home when organizational leaders, including the CEO, point to technology transformation as a key lever for insurance. the giant’s competitive advantage.
“That’s what success looks like to us when business leaders talk about how improved capabilities and digital tools have helped them gain market share or feel good about how they’re competing in the market,” says Soni.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice from Soni and other CIOs is aimed at IT culture: Don’t take your foot off the gas.
“You realize very quickly that without the constant reinforcement of principles, culture can erode very quickly,” says PNNI’s Abrahamson. “Staying strong on patience and strategy is really key.”