EDITOR'S DESK: Leadership Instincts

Wyatt Kash

For all that's been written about great leaders'and the principles by which they live'most of us consider ourselves lucky to have worked for someone at least once in our careers who actually embodied extraordinary leadership skills.

It's not that we aren't exposed to great leaders or to moments of great leadership. It's just that too rarely do all the composite attributes of great leadership show up in one individual'let alone those for whom we actually work.

That's why it was inspiring to read about the accomplishments of the more than 80 nominees for this year's GCN IT Leadership Awards. Just as inspiring were the stories told in nominators' letters of people who succeeded in sweeping colleagues along in pursuit of a challenging vision, or who forged teams in the midst of chaos'testaments to great leaders.

Stories like those of U.S. Army Nurse Corps Col. Jill Phillips: who pioneered a patient-centric electronic medical record system that became a national model for Army and Air Force health care facilities and who lives by the motto, 'Failure cannot cope with persistence.'

Or the stories ascribed to CIO Anthony Cicco Jr. of the Government Accountability Office. His personal transformation as a manager helped transform GAO's IT group from 'the agency's most significant support problem' in 1999 to one that earned high marks for 'working well' in 2003 and 2004.

There isn't space to highlight all the remarkable examples of IT leadership in government we learned of this year. Nor was it easy to select a group of finalists who stood tallest among all the nominations we reviewed to receive GCN IT Leadership Awards.

The profiles of the 10 we did select this year'and feature in this issue'epitomize, and at the same time, just scratch the surface of what great leadership can mean in accomplishing the IT needs of government.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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