In our previous blog post, Mark writes about how Business CIOs are urgently needed, but that most IT leaders still don't get it.
A lot of you agreed with us, but many still do not understand just how true this is, so I decided to back it up with some data to show just how regularly IT leaders put growth on the back burner.
My job is to contact IT leaders in mid-market businesses and introduce them to the wonderful concept of the BTM Mastermind Group.
Since I have been doing this for quite some time, I have by now been in contact with most of the IT leaders in these businesses throughout South Africa.
With this comes a unique, data-driven perspective on the attitude towards growth I would like to share with you today.
But first, let's take a step back and cover some basic information.
What Is a BTM Mastermind Group?
He defines it as:
A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.
Mathias explains it very well in his blog What Is A Mastermind?
A BTM Mastermind is a Xuviate offering that has been specifically designed for IT leaders in mid-sized businesses who want to grow as managers and leaders and deliver business value in the process.
Since it is somewhat difficult to explain the concept of a Mastermind for IT leaders to somebody who has not yet been part of a peer-coaching group, we offer completely free trials once every month.
Why Is Peer-Coaching So Important?
With my Industrial Psychology background, I know how important things like work-life balance, learning new skills and a sense of achievement are.
So naturally, I immediately was sold on the idea of a peer coaching group.
Not because it was my job to, but because I knew of the amazing benefits any individual or company could gain from participating in such a group.
Life coaches also talk about the benefits of working in a group and learning from others, with Donald Latumahina from Life Optimizer saying:
It’s essential that you learn from the experience of others.
Not only does belonging to a peer-coaching group help to get advice and prevent wrong choices, but it also satisfies one of Maslow's basic human needs, the need to belong or be loved.
Now, Maslow's hierarchy of needs states that one step can not be reached without first completing a previous one.
So without the basics like belonging, one cannot have self-esteem and ultimately also not self-actualization.
It's been proven again and again that motivated employees work harder and better than those who are not motivated.
In other words, if employees are not motivated and supported to grow themselves, there is very little they will do to help their organization grow.
And this is why joining a Mastermind Group is so effective for supporting personal, professional and business growth.
If one of the most well-known motivational theories is not enough proof for you, then I suggest you read Mathias's blog on the life-changing benefits of joining a Mastermind group, where he explains how putting many minds together to fix a problem often results in a way better solution than any person may have come up with on their own.
Mastermind Participants Love The Concept
Since joining Xuviate I have also seen first-hand, what amazing results these groups bring to the IT leaders and in turn the companies who take part.
In our Mastermind video, some of our long-time participants tell just how positive the experience has been for them.
My favorite part of the video is where Branden Patience from Mazars talks about the value he gets from peer-coaching:
It is direct, it is now, it is current, it is your issues, and you are getting advice on your issues and by doing that, and implementing the changes, you actually grow.
And also as Ralph Hendricks from WWF-SA says:
I was not only receiving ideas to resolve my immediate challenges but to actually work on a methodical approach to prevent and overcome a lot of the stumbling blocks we face as IT professionals.
In fact, the value proposition is so powerful that we have a 100% renewal rate after the first 6 months!
BTM Masterminds Are the Best Option For Growth
Apart from the BTM Mastermind, there are also other options for IT leaders to grow in their management career.
Here are the 6 best alternatives to the BTM Mastermind as well as some reason for why they may not be that popular:
1. Doing an MBA
Doing an MBA is an option that you should definitely consider if you have the chance, but unfortunately, it is very expensive to complete and usually takes one away from the work environment.
2. Articles, Podcasts, Video's and Books
When starting out, the Internet can give you a wealth of (free) options, but it takes up a lot of time as you need to sift trough a bunch of info to find what is applicable to you.
And then you are not even sure whether the advice applies to a mid-sized business.
Training is a good option for businesses who want to help their employees develop, but only if this training is really applicable to their specific challenges.
Unfortunately, most training options concerning Digital Transformation (DX) are still very expensive and are not really focused on the needs of small and medium businesses.
Most successful people say that they have or had at least one mentor throughout their career, but it is extremely hard to find a mentor that suits you and your work situation.
5. CIO Groups
CIO groups are like forums, where you get to communicate with like-minded IT leaders.
The challenge with this is that they are usually not focused on the needs of the mid-market and rather cater for CIO's and senior IT leaders from large businesses.
As these groups often get run in the form of an open forum, they can be very impersonal, leaving you without the answers you truly need.
6. Change of Job
Sometimes you reach a dead-end, where growth is not an option in your current position and you are forced to look for another job.
Unfortunately, this option can also be highly disruptive in your professional and personal life and there are no guarantees that the grass is indeed greener on the other side.
When you have a closer look, you will see that our BTM Mastermind service provides some compelling benefits over all the other options.
As Branden and Ralph said, it focuses on you and your specific problems.
Having said all of this, we can now finally turn to our own numbers.
Only 1.6% of IT Leaders Join A Mastermind
And here is the shocking truth!
Out of every 100 IT leaders who I have worked with, only 1.6 have formally signed up to join a Mastermind group.
Yes, you have read correctly.
Less than 2 out of every 100 IT leaders sign up for a service that is arguably the best, and most easily available option to grow as an IT leader available in South Africa.
After attending the trial, virtually everybody thanks us because they see the value and how important it is to belong to a group like this!
The sad part is, after the hype and excitement of being part of such a group wears off, the real world kicks in and joining a Mastermind group tends to be put on the back burner, which leads to getting the all too familiar answer of:
I am definitely interested, but unfortunately I am currently just too busy.
And in way more than 90 out of 100 cases, being "too busy" is the only reason we hear and only rarely do we hear about other, alternative avenues for career development that leaders are pursueing.
This leaves me with only one conclusion.
IT leaders put their professional growth in the "important but not urgent box" of Stephen Covey's time-management matrix and, quite literally, most do not know how to deal with the inflow of all the urgent stuff that goes on all around them.
If left unaddressed, this will unfortunately and inevitably lead to the scenario Mark wrote about in "Business CIOs Urgently Needed - Unfortunately Most IT Leaders Still Don't Get It!"
Virtually everybody agrees about the business value of joining a BTM Mastermind Group.
And yet, in my experience (which pretty much covers South Africa), 90% of IT Managers and CIOs do not consider joining a Mastermind Group or using one of the other career development alternatives as important to their career.
We already know that it is risky to delay Digital Transformation, so why is it that IT leaders still decide that it is ok to just keep the lights on?
I really do not know and would love to hear what you think. What am I missing?