An IT leader's eternal top goal: Strong partnerships

A trusting partnership between IT and other colleagues and groups proves critical to the success of shared projects and strategic initiatives 
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[Editor's note: As part of our ongoing series in which IT leaders share the best advice they've ever been given, Brad Pollard, CIO of Tenable, explains how a peer helped him think differently about leadership.]

The best leadership advice I ever received was, "The most critical skill required to succeed is a willingness to partner."

I was given this bit of advice from a peer, Jennifer Leggio, when we were thrust into leadership roles when our company at the time, Sourcefire, was acquired by Cisco – which had an employee and contractor ecosystem of hundreds of thousands. We were discussing the new challenges that come with a much larger company, like Cisco, when Jennifer shared this thought with me, "The most critical skill required to succeed is a willingness to partner." Immediately, the light bulb went off in my head, and it's been an integral part of my organizational philosophy ever since.

It resonated with me for one simple reason: Every business unit in a modern company depends on IT resources.  And every IT implementation depends on active participation from the requesting business unit.

Without each group fully engaged, trusting one another and sharing accountability, wins and losses, these shared projects, programs, and strategic initiatives have little chance of success.  

Taking the advice to heart

Business partnership is the cornerstone of Tenable's IT vision every year. Our strategies and our execution of those strategies may change year-over-year, but a strong partnership with each and every business unit is always our top goal. Partnership and the willingness to partner with each other is foundational to the success of everything we do. 

[ Want to learn about leading truly collaborative teams? Get the free eBook, Organize for Innovation, by Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst. ]

With more than 23 years of information technology experience, including 15 in management, Brad has led organizational transformation through the strategic adoption and management of IT solutions, as well as navigated and resolved enterprise-level governance issues. Brad has over 15 years of security experience, previously holding management positions with both Cisco and Sourcefire.