In some professions, the nature of the job means you get used to positioning yourself to take credit for things you’ve done well.
If you’re a marketer, it’s a case of marketing yourself, as you’re used to doing for your business or clients. If you’re a public speaker or salesperson, you won’t be retiring when it comes to explaining things verbally.
For many CTOs, CIOs and other technology leaders, the story is often different. If you’ve come from a technical background, you’ll probably be used to letting your code speak for itself. Or if you’re a non-technical leader of a technical department, you may not feel associated with the success – the credit should go to the people who wrote the code, surely? But as we’ve just alluded to, your techies are unlikely to be standing up and shouting about what they’re doing. That’s why you as the technology leader need to do it for them.
Why you need to shout about your team’s successes
The success of virtually every modern organisation depends to a huge extent on the tech team. Making sure everyone knows about the great things your team is doing is important on so many levels. It will boost team morale, and therefore positively impact retention rates. And it can also play an important role when it comes to budget-setting too: if people see what you’re doing with your budget and the value it’s providing, it’s going to be easier to argue for more next year.
So how do you go about publicising the great things your team is doing?
Give credit where credit’s due
The first step is to make sure you recognise the people who are working for you, and spread recognition of them further afield. If you have great technical people, without whom success would not have been forthcoming, make sure people know about it. If everyone has been working their socks off to deliver, credit should be given for this.
Recognise your own role
The next step is to realise that these successes are your successes. The fact that your team members were the ones who made it happen does not diminish the part that you had to play – it is the part you had to play! If you’ve recruited the best people and have a culture that means that they stay with you and perform to the best of their abilities, you’re running a successful department! At your level, you’re judged on results, and your team is the means by which you achieve them.
Seven ways to promote your successes
Self-promotion and publicity often don’t come easily to CIOs and CTOs, so here are some simple tips.
- Make sure your successes are included in publications that circulate around the company. Make friends with the marketing and communications department; remember they may not realise how challenging or critical your work is – you might need to do some work to explain this, and this is part of your job!
- Write your own newsletter regularly, or contribute to your own section in the company’s newsletter. This communications channel will enable you to explain exactly what the most important technical developments are.
- Make a point of going to talk to heads of other departments; ensure they know what you’re doing, and find out how you can (better) help them.
- Seek to gain recognition for your department outside of your organisation. Do you have a great delivery methodology? Are you adopting cutting-edge technologies in unique ways? Spread the word via online and in-person interest groups and conferences. This can be a powerful way of building your reputation as a thought leader in front of large and engaged audiences of peers and prospective customers. Longer-term, this will help you recruit more great people.
- Share your ideas and achievements more widely by writing a blog (you can see the Softwire blog at https://www.softwire.com/insights/), and sharing the content with your professional network on LinkedIn.
- Build partnerships with other tech organisations; teach and learn. Connecting externally with your partner organisations or forming new ones to exchange knowledge and share news is a good way to get your key messages shared with a wider audience and can lead to opportunities to learn from one another.
- Enter your projects and their successful outcomes into industry award competitions. This allows your team’s great work to be showcased to the whole industry and raises the profile of your company and yourself.
Some of these may feel quite alien to you in the first instance – they certainly did to me. I found the key was to keep in mind the importance of what my teams were doing and, crucially, the value it was bringing the business and our customers. This emboldened me to go and spread the word, both within the organisation and outside. I also found that, as with everything, the more I practised, the easier it became…