TrustAccording to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust and credibility are key in the world of human resources in business. This study analyses the status of global opinion on the trust placed in companies from the point of view of consumers and employees.

The conclusion from the results is that employees are more credible than CEOs, senior executives and consumer activists; and not regarding “minor quibbles” but rather in terms of employee and customer service, corporate conduct and the handling of crises, finances and operations. CEOs fall below 50% on the trust index and fail to make the grade, while steering committees achieve a measly 30%.

In light of this panorama, business management is no longer a matter of qualifications, conferences and curricula experience gained at various companies but is rather becoming akin to creating a couple- and/or friendship-building strategy.

Aristotle once said: A probable impossibility is preferable to an improbable possibility. 

In the business world, CEO opacity is the greatest reason for a lack of trust. We use the term ‘opacity’ to refer to the fortunate position of being able to act like a non-communicative director; engrossed in an action bubble.

In contrast, transparency and naked organization management will help bring executives closer to all the stakeholders with an influence on the company. As mentioned in a previous post... A Project Manager who always acts honestly and entirely transparently has great potential to be highly appreciated even when a project fails.

That said, knowing how to generate trust also requires identification of the organization’s culture and action protocols. Every organization has a culture but not all of them plan a culture. The culturally aware must let transparency flow naturally in conversations; without barriers or prejudices.

Furthermore, and bearing in mind the constant mobility that exists in global human resources and the multicultural nature of companies, it is also important to note that the management of different cultures and habits is now a priority for good leadership as a chief officer. Ties to the community or ethnic background and customs that characterize each employee must coexist with diplomacy and business protocol, both within and outside of the organization.

Hence, the first step should be to identify the cultural idiosyncrasies and attitudes shown within the project team and then manage people and their culture.

This is why you need to express your culture! It will not suffice to merely have a vision of each one but rather that vision must be implemented. And if the existing culture is insufficient, it will need to be changed. Remaining clear and coherent to that culture is a priority because the way of thinking adopted in the organization’s strategies will be conveyed externally on a day-to-day basis.

Planning how to create synergy between the culture and responsibility inherent to each employee is the most difficult task for managers.

Cultural management at this stage is where a good flow of information, confidence and participation is needed. Confidence from supervisors and employees in expressing their fears and having the power to participate in decision-making processes. For example: ASKING!

There should be open channels of communication with company management and correct feedback on the values and information provided in order to know whether the message and value have been understood and assimilated.

Combining the task of identifying the winning culture with the key measures that will achieve the desired results in the team will help create bonds between cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. And it will serve as a medium for promoting project cohesion and inclusion with those involved. When this is successfully conveyed, it will be possible to generate trust, emotional engagement and personal aspirations, which are related to their country of origin and, consequently, their local project team.

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A stakeholder is an individual, group or organization that is related to the project in some way. Stakeholders may affect, be affected or perceive themselves as
affected by a project decision, result or activity. It is not always easy to identify all the project stakeholders, especially if they are indirect stakeholders.

The stakeholder may participate in the project or try to influence the team so that the final result satisfies its interests or needs. Hence, stakeholders and expectations between different stakeholders in the project may sometimes be contradictory, meaning conflicts may arise during project development. The project leader must be capable of managing these expectations.

The stakeholder group consists of the project team members and all those individuals and entities with an interest in the project, whether internal or external. The project team normally divides these into internal and external, negative and positive, executors and advisers. Producing a stakeholder map for the project is good practice, as it allows a clear definition of relationships between the various stakeholders and the team.

One of the duties of the project manager is to maintain balanced expectations among all stakeholders so the project is not overwhelming and be capable of properly managing those expectations. Relations with the project may change during the life cycle. Therefore, they should be constantly identified and managed. Involvement by a stakeholder may be total, intermittent or occasional, meaning the project team should also identify stakeholders in time by cooperating with them professionally and managing their expectations and interests. Not doing so at the right time can lead to delays, budget increases, loss of quality, problems with acceptance of deliverables, etc.

Here are some example project stakeholders:

• Project team
• Sponsors
• Clients and users
• Vendors
• Business partners
• Departments within the organization
• Suppliers
• Customers
• Other stakeholders

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sistemas-de-informaciónIn implementing strategic alignment there are various positionings which can be established, providing a framework within which the organisation will manage the application of IT.
The positioning adopted by the company, ideally by means of an explicit senior management decision, is probably the most important step to be taken in executing any information systems strategy. However, what is, if anything, more important than the decision itself is how the key players actually adopt, understand, share and fulfil it.

Possible positionings would include:

Information systems strategy execution positioning

Implementation of the information systems strategy is used as an operational cornerstone, derived from a well described and expressed business strategy, creating stronger links between executive management and information systems management. In essence, the CIO becomes an additional functional manager, focusing his efforts on aligning technology with the business model.

Members of the organisation can be provided with a platform on which to develop their own initiatives, supported by a framework of consistency and management, based on the underlying principle of the match between initiatives and strategic planning.

The information systems strategy becomes the bedrock of sound project management, with executive and information systems management ensuring that this pathway is maintained.

Costs are given particular importance in that they represent a vital factor in implementing strategic plans, by performing comparative analysis with the benefits potentially generated from the business perspective by a specific technological application.

Technological positioning

In certain business scenarios, typically with emerging businesses, technology may be the fulcrum on which the information systems strategy turns.

In this case, the efforts of Information Systems management will focus on seeking out innovative technological options, and how they can be implemented and supported at the organisation with a view to the future. IT managers will have an IT architect profile.

With this positioning, senior management defines the company's possibilities in economic terms, delegating decision-making to the IT division.

Service positioning

The role of Information Systems management is that of a service manager centred on user satisfaction

Under this positioning, the focus is on establishing the most efficient way to deliver the products and services demanded by users. IT management is based on the technological infrastructure.

This positioning does not include a vision of the business strategy, with the main role of Information Systems management becoming that of prioritising projects and the administration of internal resources. Executive management therefore plays a more passive role.

This model typically involves establishing IT as a service or business unit within a business which must prove profitable.

Objectives are typically short-term and handled by committees made up of representatives from the management teams at different areas of the organisation, debating the priorities of IT projects.

The role of Information Systems management is that of a service manager centred on user satisfaction, with the users being viewed as members of the organisation. The only strategy to be devised is how to respond to the demands of internal clients.

Measurement of the level of operational effectiveness is typically performed by means of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which provide the measurement dimensions for services and the model for comparison between standards and actual data.

This focus is similar to the use of electric current. Devices are switched on and off and their power settings regulated as required, with no need to understand the complexity which lies behind the power socket, simply its cost.

All these positionings may be perfectly valid, depending on how well aligned they are with the business strategy, or how they suit the company's management style.

What really matters is that one of them, or a novel combination of them, should establish the pathway for execution of the Plan, with this decision being shared and understood by the members of the organisation, at differing intensities. Otherwise, management, the Information Systems department and user areas will have different concerns, and some expectations will therefore not be satisfied.

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estrategia-de-sistemas-de-informaciónIt is vital for the information systems strategy to specifically adapt to the nature of the business it is intended to support. There are no universal formulae for success, as each organisation has its own unique aims and resources.

As a result, the first step will be to identify the key aspects of the business, the set of operations, decision-making processes and planning activities which are of vital importance. These and only these should attract the greatest efforts in IT applications, both from the perspective of tools and management resources, investment and even innovation, as they lie at the core of the company's competitive edge.

"This initial stage in defining the information systems strategy is particularly sensitive to honesty"

This initial stage in defining the Information Systems strategy is particularly sensitive to honesty; not all operations and departments are vital. They are undoubtedly all necessary, but they do not all represent the key to success, and it will therefore inevitably often be the case that those business processes which require the greatest reinforcement are precisely those which correspond to the core business. Or even the business plan for a given period, since the key elements will vary between periods of growth and consolidation.

An appropriate information systems strategy must allow for intelligent distribution of the resources to be assigned to each of these activities in the value chain.

There are differing intensities in the use of economic resources dedicated to IT depending on the nature of the company's dealings. In Spain, the average information systems budget is around 2.1% of overall turnover, although banks and financial institutions may spend as much as 8.4%. And so there will be companies whose operations require support from expensive and powerful IT, while others should be dedicating greater resources to other functions, such as research or the recruitment of more effective human capital. An information systems strategy must apply IT with an emphasis on those aspects where the company excels, and where its deployment constitutes a corporate tool which adds value.

In short, it is vital to perform an accurate situational analysis in order to answer the relevant questions. How significant is the use of information systems in running the business? Which activities require a greater investment of resources in order to stand out from the competition? Which IT characteristics should be better supporting those USPs?

Keep reading this series:

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