Episode 30 - Negotiating IT in Uncertain Times with Ralph Loura

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By Dan Kelly. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

On our kick-off episode for season two we have a wonderful guest with us today, Ralph Loura. Ralph is the SVP and CIO at Lumentum. He has over 25 years of experience as an IT leader.

Ralph Loura is Lumentum’s Senior Vice President IT and Chief Information Officer. Loura joined Lumentum in October 2018 with a rich history of senior IT leadership where he directed IT organizations executing programs in business intelligence, operations, and customer relationship management. Before Lumentum, Loura has served over 25 years as an IT leader with premier companies in technology and consumer products including Rodan + Fields, Hewlett-Packard (HP) Enterprise Group, Clorox, Symbol Technologies, Cisco, and Lucent Technologies

We had a great conversation. Ralph shares a phrase he uses with his team about being a lens and what that means as an IT leader. He also shares some key things leaders should be doing and the current initiatives his company is trying to tackle.

Show Notes:

  • [00:50] Ralph has served for over 25 years as an IT leader.
  • [02:43] He really feels privileged to have spent time in multiple different roles, different scales, and different industries.
  • [03:29] Be a lens, not a mirror. By that I mean, don’t simply reflect back what the company wants, anyone can do that. You’re not adding a lot of value.
  • [04:44] Being a lens is taking different experiences, focusing on a problem, and bringing a unique perspective instead of simply just echoing back what the business is asking for directly.
  • [05:32] Many people in IT have great opinions, but they sit quietly because the business is supposed to be in charge.
  • [06:27] If you want a seat at the table pull up a chair and start contributing.
  • [08:37] All these dramatic changes have happened in IT in a very short amount of time.
  • [09:16] As leaders there are some key things we should be doing. First, stay really connected with the business.
  • [11:41] It is really important to understanding your spend management and be really close to the details so you can see opportunities.
  • [12:01] It is important to understand your people and their capabilities so you can put them in the best place.
  • [14:05] They work hard to ensure they have a culture in IT where they share their challenges early and they are not afraid to ask for help.
  • [16:01] They care a lot and invest a lot in the relationships in their community. When he connects with his team through one on ones they take time to connect on a personal level.
  • [18:17] Ralph goes through the IT dashboard at least once a month with the CEO so he understands the complexity, volume, and struggles IT is having.
  • [21:28] If you keep people up to date and bring them along on the way, it is a lot easier than trying to have a crash course in IT in the half-hour you have to try and get them to fund you.
  • [22:39] One of their big initiatives is a global manufacturing execution platform that builds a consistent set of processes, tools, and data.
  • [23:16] Most manufacturing companies have the perpetual problem of forecast and planning and trying to predict what is going to happen so they can be more efficient in the way they build and respond to it.
  • [24:37] They are also working on many infrastructure projects around modernizing the way their footprint sets.
  • [24:48] The infrastructure projects are probably technically more complex, but it is usually the easiest one to do. Anything involving changing peoples’ behavior is the hardest.
  • [26:27] One of the things he started doing 10-15 years ago that he didn’t do at the beginning of his career was to spend more time helping and engaging with others.
  • [28:15] Ralph shares his best worst boss story.
  • [30:41] It is often hard to break away from the pull of the past to do something different.
  • [31:20] Start by looking at the five things that are most important for the future of your company. Then take the best five people you can’t afford to lose and assign them to those five tasks.

Links and Resources:

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