Monday, April 15, 2013

Collaborate'13 Summary. Part 1. IOUG Strategic Leadership Program

I really hope that it was the last time I've seen SNOW this spring :-) But other than that - it was a great conference! A lot of interesting conversations, a lot of interesting events - and a lot of thoughts afterwards (part two, part three, part four). Since in addition to purely technical part of the conference I've been participating in IOUG Strategic Leadership Program, it's also fair to cover it separately

1. Leadership issues

It is now pretty official - IOUG experts have grown up and crossed boundaries of being "just-a-good-DBA". There are now significantly higher numbers of experts eventually moved into C-level roles. As a result, an addition of the whole separate program covering that crossing of the line expert/leader was a great success. I felt for both speakers and the audience the whole conversation process became really interesting and challenging. Considering that majority of talks in the program were more discussion panels than pure presentations - it was a lot of strain on speakers to be able to frankly and openly answer questions that were raised by listeners. And majority of the answers were based on the real-life cases and learned lessons.

Personally, one of the most important discussed issues was a difference in the thinking patterns between "a techie" and "a leader". For example, it became clear that "a techie" can allow him/herself to be more cautious,  while being a leader always means taking higher risks and making decisions in the classical "fog-of-war" environment. I had to re-think a lot of my decision-making patters from that angle... Let's be fair, for DBAs a mild level of paranoia is more-or-less a job requirement - otherwise you just cannot protect your data and your people using this data. But if you are not a pure DBA - let's say you are involved in the development/strategy as a Senior DBA should be, the whole game is different: if you always play "safe" the whole team will eventually just ignore you, because even your approach will be "correct" it will constantly stop  the floating of ideas around the table. Yes, DBAs need to learn how to take risks. 

The same idea is about working with the high uncertainty - a leader is always "sure" about something, there is no room for if's and "when's. Decisions have to be made now - and more than that, your team should be confident that the leader knows what's going on. That projection of certainty is a very important skill to work on. Otherwise even the best expert could shake a team by questioning every fact and logical link.

Summary: great event! Thanks a lot to IOUG committee for setting up this kind of completely new (at least for me) area of learning.

1 comment:

Ileana Balcu said...

I agree managers/leaders need to make decisions even without having all the data. But they need to be transparent about how the decision was made. Also open to change decisions (not all the time), sometimes it's obvious that a decision was not right.

Another take of the topic by Seth Godin