3 leadership strategies for enterprise architects

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CIO 3 Blue Guys

As an enterprise architect, here are three of the key strategies that I use to lead.

1. Continuously communicate a purpose. Why are we doing what we’re doing at a high level? People need to have a reason to strive toward all of the different organizational goals because things change rapidly and it might feel that we’re shifting priorities. But the overarching single purpose needs to be clear so people will strive toward our goals, despite the change.

2. Stay flexible and be willing to adapt. Not everything we do can ever be set in stone. Traditionally, in enterprise architecture we would set certain guidelines and say, for example, “We will be a 'buy' versus a 'build' organization.” In today’s disruptive marketplace, building differentiating software can be key competitive advantage. Overarching edicts like this can make your organization very rigid and unable to evolve. Always maintain your flexibility to customize, change, and adapt to emerging business needs as they arise. If you are always looking to buy something off the shelf, it is not likely it’s going to really give you huge competitive advantage if everybody else can just do the same thing.

3. Empower your staff using “commander’s intent.” Commander’s intent means giving a core direction and strategy to your staff with the understanding that things change. This way they will be able to develop their own plans while maintaining the overall intent of their manager. In the military, they realized that they would spend lots of time planning, but once the actual battle took place those plans would often go out the window. In the end what was important to know was that, regardless of what happened, a specific goal still needed to be accomplished. We’re not in the military, but the same idea can apply. Let's call it the “architect’s intent.”

Peter Buonora is a change agent driving alignment of business IT functions while evolving IT organizations from operational cost centers to a catalyst for competitive advantage. Peter’s extensive experience includes global technology strategy, architecture, cloud computing, and information security.  Peter currently works as Enterprise Architect at BJ’s Wholesale Club, was formerly Senior Global Enterprise Architect at Ahold Corporation, and has held positions at Supervalu, John Hancock and other companies.

Peter is a change agent driving alignment of business IT functions while evolving IT organizations from operational cost centers to a catalyst for competitive advantage.

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