Five Resources (and a bonus) to Inspire 2020

Five Resources (and a bonus) to Inspire 2020

Happy New Year!

After reflecting on last year’s endings, let us move on to build upon new beginnings. My favorite aspect of the New Year is that it allows us to start afresh. With that in mind, I’ve gathered five resources and a bonus report to inspire you in 2020.

1. Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020

Date: October 21, 2019
Source: Gartner
Hyper automation, blockchain, AI security, distributed cloud and autonomous things drive disruption and create opportunities in this year’s strategic technology trends.

2. Top edge computing trends to watch in 2020

Date: Dec 9, 2019
Source: TechTarget
Edge computing is still an evolving technology domain and enterprises should expect continued evolution in the year ahead. Here are the top trends CIOs and IT leaders should be looking out for.

3. Top 10 Tech Predictions For 2020 From IDC

Date: Oct 29, 2019
Source: Forbes
The focus for the 10 predictions for next year and beyond is the rise of the digital economy. By 2023, IDC predicts, over half (52%) of global GDP will be accounted for by digitally transformed enterprises. This digital tipping point heralds the emergence of a new enterprise species, the digital-first enterprise.

4. Spiceworks – The 2020 State of IT

Date: Fall 2019
Source: Spiceworks
IT budgets rise as businesses replace outdated technology: 44% of businesses plan to increase tech spend in 2020, up from 38% in 2019. Many businesses will have the ability to deploy more cutting-edge technologies in the workplace.

5. 11 Trends to Inform Your 2020 Cybersecurity Budget

Date: Oct 15, 2019
Source: Security Intelligence
The global average cost of a data breach is now $3.92 million — a 12 percent increase since 2014. Fortunately, the average cybersecurity budget is also increasing alongside breach cleanup costs. Cybersecurity services are on the rise!

As a Bonus:

And last, but far from least, the Info-Tech 2020 IT Talent Trend Report. The war of talent is very real with unemployment sitting at around 2.4%. With the ever-growing crisis for resources, IT leaders are benefiting from taking a much greater role in the talent acquisition process. My question to you all is – Are you ready? I am here for you if you want to discuss!

As a reminder from my December 24th article and a gift to my readers, I am hosting a complimentary 90-minute webinar on January 29 from 1-3 MST. During out time together, I will walk participants through my IT Strategy Planning Template. All participants will receive and editable copy of the template. Registration is limited. I hope to see you there!

To register: IT Strategy Planning Webinar

Until next week! Happy New Year!



Mary Patry
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach  
 480.393.0722 (AZ)

Let’s Talk sponsored by an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

A Gift to Kick Off 2020

A Gift to Kick Off 2020

It is hard to believe that 52 weeks have passed since I last expressed my love of the holiday season. My wish is that everyone will have a fantastic day in whatever way you chose to spend it. We are expecting to spend the holiday with five of our nine grandchildren. We very much wish they all could be here. There is nothing like experiencing the wonders of Christmas through the eyes of children. 

Once Santa has come and gone and the holiday decorations are all put away, we will turn our focus to the New Year! Last March, I gifted my IT Strategy Framework to my readers. I am offering a direct link to a refreshed version again here:  

Most of my consulting practice over the last five years has focused on mid-sized companies. Many times I found IT Strategy was the first gap to address.  I give my IT Strategy e-book as a starting point to CIO’s since I no longer offer strategy planning as a consulting offering.

The framework is relatively simple but thorough. It was built from over 30 years of corporate IT leadership experience. It is most applicable to mid to large-sized corporate enterprises and can be adapted to smaller firms as well. Substantial IT organizations will need to add a risk management framework.

Many readers reached out with feedback and questions as well as request for guidance in executing the strategy framework. As a gift for 2020, I am hosting a 90-minute complimentary webinar on January 29, from 1-2:30 MST, where I will walk registered participants through the IT Strategy Planning Workshop. At the end of the session, all participants will receive an editable copy of the template.

To register:  IT Strategy Planning Webinar 

Registration is limited. I hope to see you there!

While I have you, I want to invite you to check out my weekly ITeffectivity Articles and associated Resources Page on my website. New articles are posted each week on the Webpage and LinkedIn. If you prefer to receive them in an e-mail, you can subscribe here via

The articles are an accumulation of over 30 years of IT leadership experience. They are my opportunity to pay it forward for all that others have so generously given to me. At this giving time of year, I hope you feel inspired to do the same. We all benefit from uplifting our IT community leadership capabilities.

Until Next Year – have a safe and happy week. Happy Holidays!


Mary Patry
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach  
 480.393.0722 (AZ)

Let’s Talk sponsored by an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

Self-Review: A Gift to Oneself

Self-Review: A Gift to Oneself

As I wrap up our annual performance review discussion, I would be remiss if I did not explore the importance of a self-review. Let’s face it, accountability to oneself does not always come naturally. It is too easy to forget to celebrate or ignore your shortcomings. We do ourselves an excellent service if we take the time and effort to reflect on our year. At the risk of sharing my vulnerabilities, I will openly share my 2019 vision and roadmap review as an example in the form of a case study.

If we start with the end in mind, we assume full ownership of our goals for the year. We all have goals of some nature that we hope to accomplish. For me, putting them on paper turned them from deep thoughts to tangible steps that required action.

For the past two years, under the encouragement and guidance of my advisors, I created a vision with a roadmap for achieving my goals. As a consultant versed in helping my clients with their strategy, you would have thought that I had the wherewithal without encouragement. The reality is there are times we all need a coach. I benefited from the guidance of a coach who helped me to see the trees beyond the thick forest.


Along with the vision, I went as far as defining milestone goals and success factors. I call this my “Strategy on a Page.” This is not rocket science, it is merely applying project and strategy disciplines to personal goals.

My Strategy on a Page was printed and posted on my wall beside my monitors. Each day I could not help but see the journey and the commitments I had made. You can trust that I was filled with self-doubt in the first few months of the year. My secret self had a lot to say and it was not all very pretty. As each milestone was checked, my self-talk moved from the negative to positive, and my confidence soared.

The world is imperfect and so am I. As you can see, a couple of key milestones were not met. Assessing the root cause enabled me to determine that the benchmarks were still relevant. Once I confirmed they were still important, I built a plan to address the capabilities and skills needed. What better reason to reflect on the past than to learn from it?

Throughout this process, I was forced to reconsider success factors. For example, my scheduled weekly Let’s Talk articles and posts were fun, but very time-consuming. I believe they played a pinnacle role in building my brand as an IT Leadership and Management thought leader and have resulted in significant growth in social media readers. As my IT leadership coaching​ calendar is filling up fast, I am reconsidering continuing them at the same frequency in 2020. Might there be a better way of contributing value to my peers?

Also, I cannot ignore my continued limitations in asking for help or asking for the sale. As a woman growing up in the early days of IT, I developed a pretty solid habit of having to prove myself. The realization that many other women hold this same habit, drives my passion for helping and advocating for women in IT. With the insights I have gained, I will continue the journey by building my 2020 vision and roadmap with excitement for the new year to begin. It is a small investment in myself that I have confidence will return dividends.

Most importantly, reflecting on my year also helped me to celebrate the beautiful relationships built, the enlightening conversations held, and the fantastic successes of my clients. After all, the people in our lives make it all worth it.

Until next week! I am very excited for next week as I have a gift for you!


Mary Patry
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach  
 480.393.0722 (AZ)

Let’s Talk sponsored by an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

5 Steps to an Effective Performance Review

5 Steps to an Effective Performance Review

The power of an annual performance review is underrated.  

 In some circles, they are said to do more harm than good, especially if that is the only time you are meeting with an employee to review their performance. Too many times the annual performance review is used to:  

  • Provide advice on areas needing improvement 
  • Justify a raise or bonus 
  • Decide if the employee is ready for a promotion 
  • Justify a future termination  

 That is a whole lot of purpose squeezed into one conversation.   

 As indicated in last weeks article, the annual review is a critical phase of the traditional performance management life cycle. The performance management lifecycle definition encompasses four main stages:  

  •  Goals  
  • Feedback  
  • Review  
  • Reward 

Today we will explore Feedback and Review as they are tightly connected. I contend that without regular feedback conversations, the annual review is ineffective. The challenge is that many IT managers have never been taught how to have a feedback conversation with their employeesTo add to the problem, most IT managers are elevated into manager roles without much, if any, management and IT leadership training at all. This only further propagates the problem.   

A wellintegrated feedback and review process supports holding ongoing performance conversations using goals and development progress to help the discussionI portray it as a cycle because it is compelling to look at performance management as a system.    

An effective performance system requires a coaching approach. A good manager, like a good coach, can see their employees from all sides, subjective and objective. They ask themselves questions regularlyWhat is this person good at?” “What do they care about?” “What do they need to be successful?” “Where do they want to take their career? What is happening outside of the workplace that is impacting their happiness and performance at work? The answers cannot be determined in a vacuum. It requires caring about the individual beyond their performance metrics. The answers to these questions need a conversation.   

When done well, the performance system is quite effective in providing answers to questions all employees seek: “What do I need to do to be successful?, What are my chances of advancement? “Am I doing my job well? Are my efforts appreciated? “ 


An Effective Performance System


  • Periodic Feedback Conversations 

     There is nothing more potent than performance feedback during regularly scheduled conversationsThe cadence will depend on the level and situation of the employee activities. The key is to mutually define the rhythm and then stay true to it. Yes, things happen, but if you are always canceling 1:1’s, what message is that sending the employee? You are sending a message that says – You are not important enough to me.    

The construct of the feedback conversations will benefit from a defined agenda to guide the conversation and help the employee come prepared.  Create an agenda that works for you.  I like a simple agenda:   

  • Accomplishments since we last met 
  • Challenges you are focusing on 
  • Progress against goals
  • What is next on your pipeline of work 
  • What do you need help from me with  

ask that the employee documents the answers to these questions and leaves a copy with me as a foundation for our conversationDuring our feedback conversation, the role of the manager is to provide feedback in the form of affirming or outlining corrective actions. Since these are regular conversations, there should be tweaks 

I recommend using the Start-Stop-Continue retrospective feedback model. A startstopcontinue retrospective is a simple and effective way for individuals (or teams) to reflect on their recent experiences and decide on what things they should change as they move forward. I like to reverse the order as it supports ending the conversation on a positive note.   

Continue: Identifies things that worked in the previous cycle and needs to be part of the individualcore activities 

Stop: Looks back at the last period to identify which things that are not working work and should cease or change 

Start: Activities are those things the employee will begin doing in the next period

This model was initially developed for team performance, but I find it works as effectively with individuals. If you are not familiar with the model, click on the link above or search for it. There are a vast number of articles written about it.

  • Mid-Year Formal Review 
    Mid-year reviews have been introduced into many organizations formal review process. I question their value if you are holding regular periodic feedback conversations but understand if they are a requirement they must be done. At the same time, I can see value in summarizing an employee’s progress towards performance and development goals.  
  • Year-End Formal Review
    Year-end reviews will be much less daunting and more straightforward with periodic conversations. At the same time, there is a need to formalize progress to plan. My recommendations for you are:      

 1. Take the time to prepare

 Performance reviews directly impact your employeecareer prospects, morale, and often their identity.  Best practice indicates spending at least three (ideally five) hours per employee preparing for performance review conversations every six months.

2. Seek Peer feedback while keeping it in perspective

 Peer feedback is essential, for sure. The reality is that there will be times when your employees will not be able to give someone what they wanted. Seek input while keeping it in perspective against the overall performance.   

 3. Provide substantive and constructive feedback

 Every employee is hungry for substantive and constructive feedback. Substantive in that, the feedback is meaningful. Constructive meaning, the actions can be executed against the input given. Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than to receive feedback that does not tie back to prior actions or that they cannot perform going forward. For great constructive feedback examples please refer to the following link

4. Hold a conversation, don’t just talk at them

 A conversation is twoway dialogue. Too often, managers rush through the review meeting by telling the employee what they think or what they should do without leaving space for the conversation. Yes, managers want to appear in control, but they sometimes lack confidence about showing that they may not have all the answers. A useful performance conversation is a mutual commitment to growth and learning which requires two-way communication.

5. Include a follow-up plan
The follow-up plan is an excellent opportunity to wrap the annual review into periodic feedback discussions. A follow-up plan will ensure that development topics stay top of mind and that progress will be made.

Bottom Line 

The bottom line is, if you cannot find the time to focus on all your direct reports career development throughout the year, you either have too many direct reports, or you are not making your reports a priority.  

 Find the time; it will pay off 

 Until next week!  


Mary Patry
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach  
 480.393.0722 (AZ)

Let’s Talk sponsored by an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry. 

Performance Management Starts in the Beginning

Performance Management Starts in the Beginning

We are coming to the end of the calendar year, which typically focuses on the annual performance review. It is no secret that employees dread their yearly evaluation. Whether they admit it or not, most managers dread it just as much. Few managers and even fewer employees are trained in the fine art of a productive annual review. This results in outcomes that range from mediocre to destructive to overall employee and organization performance.    

The annual review is a critical phase of the traditional performance management life cycle. The performance management lifecycle definition encompasses four main stages:   

  1. Goals  
  2. Feedback  
  3. Reviewing 
  4. Rewarding 

Over the next couple of weeks, I will explore these phases with you and would love for you to join the conversation. Before we head there, however, I am offering my contrarian view that Performance Management starts long before goal planning – it begins at Org Design and continues through Separation. 

Org Design 

Do you know what skills are needed to ensure your support model is well supported? Performance management starts with ensuring you have the right organization with the right skills defined and aligned to meet the goals of the organization. The “Right” organization assumes you’ve identified the skills and that you’ve mapped these skills to the talent acquisition plan. There is nothing more crucial to the success of the organization than, in the words of Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, getting the right people on the bus. It is impossible to get the right people if you don’t know what the bus needs.   

 Talent Acquisition 

Once you have determined the right skills and hired the right peopleare you empowering them to be as successful as possible before they even start? Try engaging them with the use of technology as soon as they sign their offer letter. Send them an email with information about their new workplace and what to expect the first day. Copy them on the internal announcement message, send them LinkedIn connections, and encourage their new colleagues to do the same. This will set them up to feel welcomed before they set foot in the door. At a minimum, send them the names of their teammates.  


Do your onboarding plans include setting the new team member up for successOnboarding is all too often confused with orientation, whereas it should go well beyond the regular halfday howto seminar. Very few organizations look to the onboarding process as a tool to engage the employee effectively. I contend that you have one shot to welcome and engage a new employee. Too many times, it is left to chance. We will talk more about onboarding in a future article.  

 There are pillars of great onboarding that every IT organization should ensure they are incorporating into their talent acquisition plan:    

  1. Rules and Regulations:  Have you explained all the rules and regulations to the new employee so that they understand what is and what is not allowed from the beginning? Or, did you throw days of policies to read and absorb at them without giving them the time needed or the right resources to guide them?   
  2. Responsibilities:  Are the responsibilities of the new hire well articulated with measurable results along with a clear understanding of how their role fits into the workings of the overall organization? Or, do you expect them to hit the ground running without a mentor or buddy by their side?
  3. Reasoning:  Have you explained the organization’s values, mission, personality, overall culture, and allowed for examples of how it will show up? Or, do you expect that they will figure it out along the way?   
  4. Relationships:  Are you helping the new employee to build relationships with peers, managers, mentors, and other relevant colleagues and customers? Or, are you leaving them to sit in their cubicle to figure out who is who?  

 Many studies have shown that employees say having a friend at work is the essential element of being happy at work. A happy employee is an engaged employee. An engaged employee is a productive employee.  

Mentoring can increase employee productivity by up to 88 percent. Establish a mentor for every new employee right from the first day, regardless of their years of experience. The manager and mentor should check in with the new employee multiple times per week to ensure they are comfortable and succeed in the company. Do you regularly take a new employee out to lunch with their new co-workers? Doing so helps the new and existing employees to get to know their teammates on a more informal basis and leaves them with a positive perspective of the company.    

The Society of Human Resources Management has a myriad of great resources supporting onboarding best practices. 


Are you exploring lessons learned from employees’ experiences at separation from the company? Or, are you allowing this knowledge to walk out the door?   

Seriously, there are great lessons to be gatheredWhether the employee resigns or is terminated specific to overall performance management is irrelevantWork with HR to ensure they discover during the exit interview the reasons for the employee leaving the company in a form that enables the departing employee to feel safeIf you want to learn from it and course correct, you need to hear the employee’s candid views on their work, department, leadership, the company in general, and any “de-motivating” factors that might have caused the employee to resign. The reputation of your organization depends on it.   

 Now that we got that out of the way – I look forward to discussing performance review best practices with you next week.  

 Until next week!  


Mary Patry
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach  
 480.393.0722 (AZ)

Let’s Talk sponsored by an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry.