This video explains the course text that I used in my Maximizing IT/IS Team Effectiveness studies. For those who wish, the transcript is available below.

This is the book that I use for the Maximizing IT/IS Team Effectiveness course at Villanova University. It’s called IT Leadership Alchemy and was written by Lou Russell, Jeff Feldman, and Jeff Feldman.
They use alchemy to convert base metals into precious metals in order to illustrate leadership principles throughout the book. They have done a wonderful job of illustrating this concept. However, in other places, I feel they have gone a bit too far with the metaphor. If you read me a bit, you might be able see my point.
This is Chapter 3, which focuses on resilience.
Alchemy is the process of combining base ingredients to create something new. The sum of its parts is greater than the whole. Resiliency is a combination of skills that increase each other’s potential. Each skill is valuable, but when they are combined, they make something truly special.
They tried to force it in some places, I believe. Although the book is valuable, it doesn’t negate its value. It contains a section about coaching that is very helpful. This is my favorite section of the book.
The discussion also discusses the nature of trust and how leaders can foster trust. Chapter 4 also includes a section on interpersonal skills and team skills that I found interesting. What I found most interesting was this: “Trust is based upon our opinion about a person within a given context. It can be shaped or influenced in many ways.
Credibility refers to the level of skill, knowledge and experience we believe an individual has within the context in which they are willing to trust us.
Consistency: The extent to which we believe we can predict an individual’s performance based on past experiences.
Communication: The amount of information we receive on a regular basis gives us the confidence and reassurance we need to feel that our trust has been earned.

This section and the entire thing about managing conflicts, I found very fascinating. It’s also very useful because it covers other areas that I didn’t find as helpful. Communication, the section about communications is actually very poor. The communication chapter did not address us as project leaders or IT managers, according to me. It does not tell you about active listening which is something you should know as project manager. This was my opinion.
It’s still a fascinating read. I’m still not done with the book. I have not yet read all of the parts. The authors emphasize the importance journaling, which is the act or writing down your thoughts and feelings. If you kept a leadership journal, you will get more from the book. It’s not something that I find easy, but I have been taking notes all through the book. This is my interpretation of journaling exercises. I look forward reading the last chapters and seeing what Villanova has in store.