Transforming IT Culture:

How to Use Social Intelligence, Human Factors and Collaboration to Create an IT Department That Outperforms

'Frank Wander knows what many CIOs have only sensed—the human factors of an IT culture matter far more than processes, hardware, or applications. His wisdom is at once simple and revolutionary, and he provides a 21st-century blueprint for high-performing IT organizations.'

Lon Zanetta, Retired CIO, Federal Reserve System

Frank Wander
Transforming IT Culture Book

People count – more than ever. The perennial best places to work, like Google, SAS, W.L. Gore, and so forth, have enviable bottom lines and relentless earnings momentum. These companies understand that people count; they embrace their professionals, nurture them, and reap the rewards. Even though employee engagement is pinned at terrifyingly low levels across traditional corporate America, the glimmers of a new paradigm where companies embrace talent is broadly visible – even if you don’t see it yet.

Transforming IT Culture is a must read for any serious leader or high potential, who knows people are not interchangeable parts, but rather the most important, least understood tool in organizations today. This book uses IT, our largest knowledge worker profession, as a lens through which one can clearly see and understand how informed talent management practices are the only enduring source of competitive advantage. Consider this your first operator’s manual for human infrastructure, with an overview that explains why talent is so important, and why ignorance of how to operate the “human infrastructure” remains the root cause of 60 years of IT mega failures.

This book combines the author’s experience driving successful turnaround transformations across companies and industries, with the psychology and neuroscience that explains how the isolated, detached stares of disengaged and fearful workers were replaced with collaborative social environments where the employees flourished and produced.

This book will give you an awareness of the human factors of productivity, enabling you to unlock hidden pockets of personal and group effectiveness, thereby ensuring you are positioned for long term success. Your outcome does not have to be in doubt. This is a meaningful read, and the first steps in your journey towards a higher level of performance. Enjoy it.

Chapter outline


Chapter 1 A Shining Light 
The Blind Spot Revealed
From Failure, Understanding
Human Understanding Enters the Workplace
We Have Been Taught Not to See or Feel
Unlocking Human Potential
Dawn of a New Productivity Model
Working Social

Chapter 2 Corporate America’s IT Organization 
Failure Is All Too Common
Still Broken After All These Years
Unfortunately, the Truth Is Worse
If We Would Only Just Embrace and Trust Our People
Offshore Outsourcing: A Deeper Look

Chapter 3 Man as Machine 
A Social Pathology
He’s a Good Hand
The Machine Age: Still Felt Today
Birth of Corporate Easter Islands
Our Human Resource Practices Remain Primitive
Selectively Continue the Past; Fully Embrace the Future

Chapter 4 The Unseen Art and Emotion of IT 
The Acme Inc. Philharmonic Orchestra: Knowledge as Notes, Leaders as Conductors, Programmers as Composers
A Product of Mind and Emotion
Limitations of Language and Our Resultant Inability to Communicate
Social Cohesion and Conceptual Unity
And the Instruments Keep Changing
The Encore. A Call Back. Bravo!!

Chapter 5 Case Study: An Unproductive State of Mind 
Toxic Leadership and Its Aftermath

Chapter 6 What Are We Waiting For? 
Applied Science at Work
Hawthorne Studies
Pygmalion in the Classroom
Empathy, Caring, and Compassion
Organizational Citizenship Behavior
Mood Is Contagious
Limbic System
Maslow: Humanism in the Workplace
Working Memory
Mirror Neurons
Other Thoughts

Chapter 7 Empathy and Compassion 
The Socially Cohesive and Resilient Organization
The Toxic Handler: Empathy and Compassion in Action
Dysfunctional Organizations Have Less Time for Compassion
Empathy and Compassion: A Research Perspective

Chapter 8 Designing a Collaborative Social System 
Working Social: How the Right Culture Unlocks Productivity
Designing Collaborative Social System
Why a Collaborative Social System Matters

Chapter 9 The Social Compact 
Organizational Citizenship Behavior
Living the Values
Shaping IT: One Interaction at a Time
Courtesy Is Contagious
Giving versus Getting
Citizenship Performance

Chapter 10 The Servant Leader 
Prosocial and Authentic
Opening Night
Using Social Intelligence and Caring to Lead from Below
Conducting Styles
Servant Leadership in IT: Giving Credit While Silently Helping Drive Group Success
Academic Views
Moving the Group from “I Get It” to “I See It”

Chapter 11 Social and Emotional Intelligence 
The Organizational Canvas Meets the Social Paintprush
Personal and Social Competence
Sogence in Action
Understanding Expression: A Social Skill from Our Past
Good Vibrations: The Right Social Sentiment Energizes a Performance

Chapter 12 Designing an Innovative Culture 
Talent and Mood
The Human Factors
Build a Culture of Creativity

Chapter 13 Workforce Planning 
Maximizing the Productivity of Your Talent—Today and Tomorrow
Workforce Planning Gap
Goals and Process
Context Diagram
Outsourcing and Offshoring

Chapter 14 How to Successfully Transform Your Organization 
Putting It All Together
High-Level Recipe
Best Practices in Detail