Why cultivating curiosity in IT is more important than ever

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As we look to fill open positions or improve skills in our IT organization, I find myself looking for a core sense of curiosity and a desire to both learn and teach far more than I look for specific point solutions or technology capabilities. In my opinion, these innate qualities in an employee make them virtually unstoppable in IT.

If you’re curious by nature, you’re going to find creative ways to overcome obstacles. That feeds right into having a strong desire to help others solve their problems, as well. And, ultimately, it's these people who are going to be your strongest allies in finding solutions to help the business succeed.

It’s no longer really important just to be the smart person; it’s much more important to be the person who ultimately helps your business or helps your coworkers solve a problem.

Further, as IT moves more and more towards a service-based approach, these qualities are more important than ever. It used to be that the role of IT was just to be knowledgeable about technology and how to manipulate it. But that's no longer the case today. That knowledge is out there and free-flowing. Now the focus is on how IT can enable people to perform activities, boost productivity, or achieve better results through technology. It's this service-driven role that necessitates having people on your team who can communicate effectively and develop strong partnerships with others in the business.

We are not just bringing these qualities to our team through hiring; we are cultivating them in our existing team as well. We are scheduling more quarterly business reviews and monthly operations reviews with our various partners, all aimed at creating a strong sense of partnership, not only with the business but with external providers of service for the business. We ask questions like, “What can we do to make our partnership more successful?” We are also now giving a customer service excellence award where we recognize individuals who exhibit great customer service skills and capabilities.  

I think it's important for CIOs to recognize that technology is no longer the end, in and of itself; it’s just a means to an end. It’s no longer really important just to be the smart person; it’s much more important to be the person who ultimately helps your business or helps your coworkers solve a problem. That’s the real reward of IT today. And that's why it's important to find people for your team who have a helping attitude, a curious nature, and see themselves as part of a village of people and partners that enable the business to achieve its mission.
 

Randy Franklin is currently VP-CIO of Premier Healthcare Alliance, a Group Purchasing Organization and Healthcare Informatics company headquartered in Charlotte, NC.  Randy is responsible for infrastructure, service delivery, security operations and enterprise applications at premier and has been in IT for over 15 years, spending the majority of his career in the data center hosting and managed

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