Kotter - UW

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ITLPviii Main Page > Group Kotter > Kotter - UW

Played by Jim

1. Planning and budgeting versus setting direction.

The Problem

[Following NYU] At the UW, we accomplished a similar merger [to NYU's] over 15 years ago, but we only recently started the alignment process Jane was talking about. We established technology advisory committees -- ETAC and OTAC -- that weigh proposals for IT projects and establish priorities and monitor results. Members of campus submit detailed proposals describing the solutions they want the UW to build, but the process somehow doesn't really work, because the committee members get the proposal overviews shortly before each meeting, they barely have time to read them let alone think about them and actually discuss them, then they vote. It's just a rubber-stamp and proposals with a regulatory compliance component to them end up getting approved because they have to be and no one knows how much funding there is for the overall portfolio so they don't want to short-change anything that could land us in legal hot water. We do so much planning and budgeting work on this committee but we can't seem to produce anything innovative and exciting. What can we do to improve our process?

Managerial Approach vs Leadership Approach

You're really talking about planning and budgeting; what you need to take a more leaderful approach is for those committee members to be involved in setting direction.

Setting direction is not same as planning (even long-term planning). It's a mistake to substitute long-term planning for vision. Long-term planning constantly needs to be readjusted to react to changes. Leaders gather broad data and look for patterns and relationships. Leadership does not produce plans; it creates visions and strategies.

Planning is a complement to direction setting and serves as a reality check, but should not be mistaken for direction setting.