Jason Hiner: CIOs often have difficulty balancing their time and focus among their different constituencies, which include their IT staff, their peers, and the senior executives. It’s easy to become overly focused in one area — especially issues inside the IT organization — at the expense of the other two.
I’m Jason Hiner, and today on Sanity Savers for IT Executives, I’ll introduce one effective time management strategy: Forrester’s 30-30-30-10 model, which is designed to keep IT front-of-mind in the business and allow you to do what you do best — prove and deliver IT value to the enterprise.
Forrester s 30-30-30-10 model is based on the premise that there are four areas where you must direct your time: above, across, below, and with yourself. Sounds simple, right? But putting this into practice requires you to change how you think about and plan your calendar.
Note that this is not merely about the time spent with these constituents. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll spend three hours a day with the CEO. Instead, this is time invested on behalf of each constituent.
Let’s look at each of the four areas of focus.
Constituents who are above you direct your agenda.
This group should expect and receive 30 percent of your attention. This constituency can be the board of directors, audit committee, CEO, and/or the senior executive team.
Time invested with this group of stakeholders builds credibility, proves the enterprise value of IT, enables you to become an architect of corporate strategy, and develops your ability to deal from a position of strength.
Those across from you are the constituents of the IT department’s results.
Demanding another 30 percent of your time, this constituency is made up of peers, CxO executive colleagues, and key vendors. They are the customers of IT in the enterprise.
You may rely heavily on team members to work closely with these groups. But even though that may be necessary, it’s insufficient to ensure that you fully understand key business issues and concerns.
The people below you make up the team that collectively delivers IT value to the business, and never forgot that.
Requiring another 30 percent, this group is your own organization. The time you invest here provides the leadership for IT to perform effectively, deliver on expectations, and to run like a well-oiled machine.
Sometimes, CIOs are so busy working with other execs and above, the well-oiled machine becomes badly in need of management maintenance and this becomes all too apparent to those outside of IT.
And finally, CIOs need private time to restore and keep perspective.
You should reserve 10 percent of business time for strategizing, perspective setting, and reflection. This time should be used for consultation with mentors and coaches and dialogue with trusted colleagues and business role models.
This time should also include self-assessment to determine which behaviors and relationships are working well and which are not. This time contributes greatly to your effectiveness.
According to this strategy, you should deliberately structure and organize your calendar to maximize your effectiveness as CIO, to ensure that constituents are pleased with IT, and to keep your IT department looking ahead. None of the areas we discussed should ever exceed 40 percent, even allowing for alternative IT organizations, like federated or decentralized models. The risk of imbalance inevitably results in issues surfacing with one constituency or another.
When you’re in control of your day and balance your time across constituents, you become a trusted contributor to executive thinking, you’re positioned to propose new solutions to important business problems, you retain and grow a loyal staff, and you have time to learn and test new ideas.
I’m Jason Hiner, and this has been an episode of Sanity Savers for IT Executives. For more, go to sanity.techrepublic.com. And if you have questions or your own sanity savings tips, e-mail them to us at email@example.com. For those of you on Twitter, you can find me at twitter.com/jasonhiner. Thanks for watching. See you next time.