It is true that we learn from our mistakes, but given the choice, wouldn’t we all prefer to learn from our mistakes? and achievements – others. Samantha Liscio, Canadian CIO of the Year 2020 (Public Sector), advocates for proxy learning as a guest of ITWC’s podcast series, Leadership in the digital enterprise.
Series host ITWC CIO Jim Love opens the 45-minute podcast with an introduction to Liscio, former Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario, and entering Director of Information and Technology for the Clinical Research Network (CRN) of the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). A digital transformation specialist with 20 years of experience in IT leadership roles, she comes to the table with a deep love of technology and a personal playbook for success.
Communication is everything
After sharing some of the milestones of his multi-faceted career and the lessons learned as a competitive athlete, Liscio talks about the importance of being able to translate technical terms into business language. “One of the things I tell people when they talk about what they should do for computer training is to pay attention to their technical skills, but learn to communicate,” Liscio explains. “In terms of being an IT leader, that’s really it. “
Something that didn’t work
When Love asked him to share an example of something that hasn’t gone well in his career, Liscio recounts a time when he was asked to present a business case for consolidating messaging services. “The way we explain value can be a very dangerous path for us when trying to quantify benefits that aren’t really quantifiable,” she says. “Over the course of my career, I have seen the opportunity to express the benefits differently on several occasions. And as you become more responsible, given your role in an organization, it becomes more and more incumbent on you to say something when things aren’t going the way they should.
Something that did
Moving on to a success story, Liscio comments on the exhilarating feeling that comes with achieving great things and introducing great systems. Looking back, she recognizes the impact of personal recognition from those who have contributed to success, whether that recognition comes in the form of a handwritten letter or card. “The relationship between individual contributions and the big delivery always catches people’s attention,” she says. “This is something that I have always tried to do and it has worked extremely well.”
And speaking of a pandemic …
From there, the conversation turns to issues related to the pandemic, including the current reliance on digital signals, with Liscio asserting the importance of automation for dashboards and key performance indicators. “But we also need to talk to people, look them in the eye and see how they interact with our services,” she adds, “because what people tell you through a survey or a automated bot is not exactly the same as real life experience.
Reflecting on another area of pandemic impact, Liscio worries that organizations might be motivated to revert to a 2019 or early 2020 release. His main concern is that public policies and business responses are taking us back to a sort of “9 to 5”. expectation of work as somewhere you are going in relation to something you are doing. “The pandemic has allowed us to think differently about the nature of work,” she says. “If we think more about functionality, what we need to do and how people need to work together to do it, we’ll be able to put logistics in place to allow that. “
Liscio doesn’t skip a beat when Love concludes the podcast by asking her to share the one piece of advice she would give new leaders. “Understand your genuine self,” she said. “Know what makes you tick and what makes you tick, and express it to others in a way that helps them be successful. “