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From workloads to workplace lessons: leadership and IT evolution

By Len Rosenthal, CMO of Virtual Instruments

I can still remember the first time I saw an original Apple computer. Awkward and clunky as it may seem today, at the time, it was pure brilliance.

At Virtual Instruments, we see first hand how rapidly technology changes. We specialize in helping IT organizations transform their infrastructures with the latest and greatest technologies and products. Recently, we launched WorkloadCentral, a free cloud-based storage workload analysis service and community that helps storage professionals understand how applications are interacting with their storage infrastructure – a capability I would have never thought possible a few years ago. And while some of the individuals I work with remember seeing an original Apple computer, most of my co-workers will only ever see images of one from their iPhones.

 The changing technology space doesn’t just impact the gadgets we have: it changes the types of communication and managerial skills needed. Here are three lessons I learned during my leadership path that helped me keep up with the rapidly changing technology – and employee base – in the IT space.  

Be flexible with how you use technology to communicate.

I’m a firm believer in MBWA – “management by walking around.” But as the industry demographic changes and technology becomes more flexible, the need for alternative remote work environments grows as well. As a manager, I find it crucial to be flexible in my communication style depending on the preferences of my team. As long as the work is getting done, it shouldn’t matter if we are communicating by phone, e-mail, Skype, text or in-person conversation.

Be the bridge, not the divide, between departments.

Marketing and Sales departments tend to function like married couples; if they share the same values, goals and passions, they are more likely to live out their days in the honeymoon phase. If the teams aren’t aligned, it will turn into a rocky marriage or even divorce. As the CMO here at Virtual Instruments, I make sure our sales and marketing teams are aligned in their understanding of the overall business vision and work hard to ensure that the marketing team is doing all that it can to help them meet their personal and corporate goals.

Be open to building teams that balance different skill sets.

It took me two or three jobs to understand the best way to organize and create a great team. As a leader, it is important to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of both yourself and your team, and find the best way to match those qualities up in order to build the strongest team and company. For example, our recent merger has allowed me to work with many new and talented IT professionals, all of whom bring something different to the table. It is important to recognize your team members’ individual strengths and use them to build a passionate, knowledgeable and synergistic staff.  Cultural fit, attitude and competence are my top three criteria in hiring.

When I started my career in the server space, I never imagined I would later end up riding the Internet wave or eventually land in the storage market. Technology is ever changing, as is leadership. As long as you are willing to evolve with both, you’ll be able to enjoy the ride.

What lessons have you learned in your professional journey? Drop us a line.