With ever-changing leadership techniques, delivery methodologies, and technological innovations, it can be difficult for the modern CIO to keep up. Are you missing something that will make a difference in delivering value to your business partners and constituents? This is what many call the “FOMO” phenomenon or the fear of missing out. Dr. Andrew Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute defines FOMO as “the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out, that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you.”
Feeling some FOMO? You are not alone; most of your peers also experience this feeling, especially when it comes to deciding where to turn your attention next in a large, complex organization like a government agency.
With all of that weight on your shoulders how can you keep FOMO at bay? The best course to resolving that nagging feeling is to ensure your organization has a solid foundation to build upon; one that enables you to plan for the future, focus on the present, and adjust course as you learn―a foundation driven directly by the needs of your stakeholders and constituents.
Below are six important principles necessary to help build a strong foundation for your modern technology organization and ultimately, relieve your case of FOMO:
- User-centered approach. In government, as in business, constituents expect services to be tailored to meet their needs. They are accustomed to buying products from their smart phone and expect those products to be waiting on their doorstep when they get home. Being obsessively benefits driven and citizen-focused will provide a clear frame of reference against which you can evaluate the value of any new initiative. This is particularly important for professionals working in health and human services whose collective mission is the well-being of millions of citizens, each of whom has a name, a face, and a story.
Strategic planning. Developing a well thought out strategic plan is important to getting stakeholder buy-in and seeing a project through from start to success. Your employees need to know where you’re headed and your stakeholders need to know what they are investing in and why. A multi-year strategic roadmap helps to inform others of short and long term plans while giving your organization flexibility in determining the most appropriate path for execution.
- Prioritization. Complement your strategic plan with a frequently revisited set of goals and priorities. They should be small enough to attain in a 12 month cycle―ideally even more frequently; think quarterly or monthly. Organizations that make everything a priority often accomplish very little. Those that infrequently reconsider their priorities are likely to hear complaints from their citizens, “you gave us what we asked for years ago, but not what we need today.” Don’t be afraid to add or remove things on your list that aren’t already in-progress.
- Organizational agility. There are two key aspects to agility that may seem at odds with each other. Organizational agility is often thought of as dynamic capability. In large organizations and within government agencies, quick adaptation to change may seem impossible. However, the other required aspect is intense stability, a hidden advantage within large stable organizations. Agility is about quickly making lots of small changes, learning from them, and adjusting processes in a continuous feedback loop. Without a strong foundation and good change management techniques it becomes impossible to measure the value of incremental improvement in a sea of constant change. As your direction and priorities shift, don’t let guesswork drive your direction. Rely on your well-defined and rigorous processes to help guide your work and inform your organization of these necessary changes.
- Platform flexibility. There are many factors that help lead to success – employee and stakeholder buy-in and commitment to your mission, and well defined processes just to name a few. Moreover, a flexible technology platform that enables agility is a key component that helps drive progress. Your technology platform should be able to encompass business process management, business rules, case management, customer relationship management, application programming interface (API) management and integrations, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, reporting, and data analytics.
- Smart partnership. It is important to engage with trusted advisors who are technology agnostic and can be a resource to guide you on industry and market trends that could impact your business. You have made decisions to outsource some aspects of your organization and to invest heavily in others. No modern technology organization can be an expert in all things, so surround yourself with partners who will work with you as you embark on new projects and can help you along your journey.
Built upon a solid foundation, your organization’s core competencies will ensure that new ideas are vetted with your stakeholders’ needs, your priorities and your ongoing legacy modernization efforts in mind. A modern, flexible technology platform will reduce the risk that new technologies won’t fit or will require expensive major system overhauls. Finally, having partners who focus on your success above all else will ensure that you are armed with the talent and information needed to make quick adjustments on your path to success.
Thoughtful implementation of these elements can help cure you and your organization of the common case of FOMO.