Sweeping transformations aren't the only area where organizations need change agents. Here's how to find and nurture people who are eager to make incremental changes every day.
Making the Offer
An Interview with Lee Congdon, CIO, Red Hat
Lee is the CIO at Red Hat, and is responsible for the company’s global information systems, including the technology strategy, enterprise architecture, information technology governance, solutions delivery, and systems operations supporting the company. He oversees 250 associates, 100 contractors, and a number of vendor partners who work with the company.
THE ENTERPRISERS PROJECT: You have a prize candidate at your desk who fills a huge need for your IT department, but the candidate has three other offers. How would you make a case for your company?
Congdon: Every company is different, of course, but I would highlight a couple of things for Red Hat.
First, we’re a mission-driven company. We’re here to be the world’s leading open source and cloud infrastructure company. So if you want to have a mission and be part of a team that has a mission, Red Hat is the place to be. And you should ask yourself whether those other employers are equivalently mission driven and whether you’re aligned with that vision.
The second thing is passion. We’ve got folks who are really all about collaboration and community. It’s part of our DNA. People come to work and are passionate about working at Red Hat. They don’t come to work and see it as a job. Not to say that never happens, but generally people get up in the morning feeling excitement and engagement and being part of a passionate team here.
Third is culture. We’ve got a unique culture, if you’re a fit for it. At Red Hat we’re open, we’re engaged and collaborative. The best ideas win. This is really steeped throughout the company culture and gives you an opportunity to be part of that team. Again, if that is aligned with the sort of things you’re interested in, you’ll thrive here.
Next is opportunity to learn. If you’re in IT, you need to continually revamp your skills. Things change, and if you think you’re going to ride today’s technology over a 20- or 30-year IT career, that’s probably not the best strategy. With us you get the opportunity to learn in a fast-paced, rapidly growing environment, with expanding responsibilities, with different business problems, and with a lot of new things to learn on a continuous basis. So you can develop that capability to learn new things in addition to developing different technology skills.
Fifth, at Red Hat IT we pride ourselves on being a talent factory. We’ve moved probably 20 percent of our folks into other parts of Red Hat over the last two or three years. Especially in the product divisions, our technical people in IT are in high demand. So if you’re passionate for technology, Red Hat IT can be a stepping stone to develop skills about how products are actually used in real-world applications, often open source products, but then go on to build them yourself if that’s the sort of thing you like to do.
And then last but certainly not least there’s career growth. Whether it’s moving on to the product division, preparing for a career elsewhere in IT or continuing to grow within Red Hat IT, we promote from within, we ensure our people have the tools to continue to compete, and we are increasingly trying to get farther out in front of the middle of the pack in terms of the capabilities we provide to the organization in IT. So this is a great place to develop cloud, open source and other skills that will be valuable here but valuable elsewhere should you decide to move to a different enterprise.