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FCW : May 30, 2014
Your career 20 December 2013 FCW.COM 18 May 30, 2014 FCW.COM standards, and the government s need and timeliness concerns. In gathering input from affected parties, you must go beyond the factual content they share to consider the biases or incen- tives that might color their view. "It s important to do your best to understand the context in which a point of view is given so you can know whether it s relevant," Scholl said. In addition, you often have to sus- pend your own biases to truly hear and understand what people are telling you. "I ve been in an extraordinarily large number of meetings where people talk past each other," Holgate said. "They bring baggage of what they think the other person s position is or what they think the person is trying to accomplish." Beyond technical expertise and communication, it is important to hone your critical thinking and problem- solving skills, said Ernest McDuf e, leader of NIST s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education. "You really have to be dedicated to being a life- long learner," he added. "The eld is so dynamic and evolving so rapidly," which encourages the development of "your ability to question everything and look for empirical answers. You even have to question your own beliefs." It all boils down to judgment, one of three key areas where future IT super- stars will excel, according to CEB. (The other two are collaboration and change agility.) "In this era of big data, there are a tremendous number of knowledge workers who are awash in data but aren t necessarily awash in insights," van Riper said. "Those who can nd that needle in the haystack and use context and judgment to make better decisions from data will succeed." And the nal important skill is con- trolling your emotional responses. Be aware of your body language, and refrain from eye rolling or sending unspoken signals that block communi- cation or escalate a passionate discus- sion to an unproductive place, which Holgate said happens far too often. "Be careful of making simple declar- ative statements because those tend to miss subtleties and foreclose the opportunity to achieve some level of consensus and compromise," he said. "The reality is often a lot more nuanced and subtle and shaded." Furthermore, pick your battles so you don t spend political capital in an area that is doomed to fail. Scholl described a system over which he sweated for 18 months, only to have the project eliminated. He struggled to accept the decision and was nally able to understand it and not take it personally. "Emotional maturity always comes out as one of the top leadership quali- ties that is both needed and looked up to," he said. "It s about understanding yourself, understanding how you com- municate and more importantly how that communication is received, and then your ability to not personalize but professionalize the engagements." Experiences Victor Hernandez was a finance analyst while he served in the Army. So when he applied to officer training school, it would have been logical for him to pursue finance because all his expertise and networking contacts were in that area. Instead, he decided to become a signal officer. "I knew that if I understood the sig- nal aspect, satellite communications, with my resource management back- ground, it was going to make me a bet- ter asset for whatever organization I was assigned to," said Hernandez, who is now director of program manage- ment at the Army s Program Execu- tive Of ce for Enterprise Information Systems. "That was totally out of my comfort zone." Indeed, the opportunities that scare "Collaboration has become a de facto way of working today. That's an essential skill for any- one to get anything done, both within your organization and across organizations." --- RICK HOLGATE
May 15, 2014
June 30, 2014