Deliver on the Promise of IT

Cutter Fellow Professor Rob Austin and Cutter Senior Consultant Sheila Cox have developed two frameworks for leadership training of IT management, which Cutter Consortium has been successfully applying at both large and small organizations worldwide:

Cutter Fellow Rob Austin


1. IT Leadership for Advanced Organizational Capabilities

This framework, created by Cutter Fellow Professor Rob Austin, begins with the question of how IT creates value, looks at the reality of value creation in the context of scarce resources, and then examines how teams need to execute to achieve results. At the end of this management training course, you will:

  • Understand How IT Creates Value. Any sound IT leadership strategy must begin with a deep understanding of how IT creates value. This is a surprisingly complex matter, which many experienced managers in the IT field have not thought about in enough detail. Only if we really understand how IT creates value and additional capabilities for an organization can we hope to deploy IT most effectively.

  • Understand How to Maximize Benefit from IT Investments. Almost all IT organizations operate in an environment of resource scarcity. Demand for IT services often outstrips its availability by a factor of 3X or more. The best IT leaders make choices about what to do and what not to do using a rigorous process of prioritization that links deliberately and directly to an organization’s strategy and objectives.

  • Understand How to Deliver on the Promise of IT – Execution. Understanding context and value, investing wisely — none of this results in benefits to an organization unless managers can follow through and deliver on investments, unless they can execute successfully. This session focuses on state-of-the-art understanding of how to deliver on the promise of IT though sound program management and execution.

IT Leadership for Advanced Organizational Capabilities training applies the case method, a very effective teaching approach utilized by Harvard Business School and other leading institutions, leveraging decision-forcing cases to cast participants in the role of managers faced with difficult decisions. Harnessing the highly interactive “case” style of teaching, the sessions explicitly build core competencies and promote effective behaviors, facilitating not just team development, but individual development, too. 

Adventures of an IT Leader

Adventures of an IT Leader

The primary text employed in this training is the highly acclaimed novel Adventures of an IT Leader, by Robert D. Austin, Richard L. Nolan, and Shannon O’Donnell (Harvard Business Press). Readers universally find it entertaining as well as thought provoking. Topics the text covers, which Professor Austin can address via the cases he developed as an accompaniment to Adventures of an IT Leader, include:

•    IT in a Management Context     
•    How IT Creates Value
•    Maximizing Benefit from IT Investments 
•    Realizing Value – Execution
•    IT Leadership in a Crisis
•    Managing Talent
•    Facilitating Global Partnerships and Management
•    IT and Innovation
•    IT Risk Management & Governance in a Rapidly Changing World 

2. Personal Competencies: Enhancing Individual Performance

In the complex world of IT, even when things are managed well, leaders and staff can find themselves confronting challenges that involve managing people and teams, and managing themselves, when the organization is under stress or, worse, in crisis. This framework, developed by Sheila Cox addresses these personal core competencies. You will learn how to:

  • Understand the Truth About Yourself. Personal competency begins with self-knowledge. The foundation of each person’s leadership style, and style when working as part of a team, is his/her core behavioral style. Understanding one’s own strengths and weaknesses is the first step toward growth, skill building, and enhancing individual and team performance.

  • Understand How to Leverage Your Strengths. Everyone possesses innate strengths that can be leveraged to improve an organization in relation to the organization’s goals and strategies. Identifying these strengths and exploring how they can deliver value is vital to becoming a more effective leader.

  • Understand How to Improve and Bypass Weaknesses. Improving performance in areas that are comparative weaknesses and finding ways to compensate – personally, through teaming with someone who displays exceptional competency in this area, or by hiring staff who can fill the gap, is another strategy employed by successful leaders.

Cutter Senior Consultant Sheila Cox

Cutter Senior Consultant Sheila Cox, who has been teaching and coaching IT teams, managers, and top executives for decades, takes a very interactive approach, which not only engages participants, but ensures the lessons take hold. She combines a strong focus on business objectives with a light hand in facilitating executive teams. Clients appreciate her tenacity and humor, and often comment that her coaching has helped them achieve exceptional results.

The following workshops are offered as part of the Personal Competencies course:

  • Leading Highly Effective Teams
  • Constructive Workplace Conflict
  • Balanced Business Scorecard
  • Leader as Coach
  • Building a Culture of Accountability
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Critical Thinking
  • Management Communication


What's Next?

Taught together, the IT Leadership for Advanced Organizational Capabilities course with Rob Austin and the Personal Competencies: Enhancing Individual Performance with Sheila Cox complement each other perfectly. But they are also powerful when delivered independently. For more information on how you can deliver on the promise of IT through strong leadership, complete the form below, call +1 781 648 8700, or send email to