About Arun Manansingh

A senior IT executive with over 12 years of experience in financial services and international banking. Now an avid gardener, golfer, blogger and Twitterer. Trying to communicate and network to the world via my blog.

The Rejected CIO

rejectedAs I look for a new role that is suitable to my experience and background, I often get rejection letters. At first I would delete them but I decided to keep them and periodically review them. Not that I am angry over being rejected. Contrary, rejection letters just make me have thicker skin.

Getting a rejection letter is better then the black hole of no response.

Here are a few of my rejection letters. (Names have been deleted.)

You were impressive but not impressive enough—

Dear Arun Manansingh,

Thank you for taking the time to send your resume and cover letter for consideration for our position for Manager, IT at xxx.  We received many applications and while your qualifications and experience are impressive, there were candidates who more closely matched our needs.

We appreciate your interest in the xxx.  We will maintain your resume on file and suggest that you check our career site and apply for job postings that you are passionate about and for which you qualify.

We would also like to invite you to remain informed about the work that xxx is doing.  The best ways to do that are on our website, or other social media detailed below for example, Facebook and Twitter.

Again, thank you for applying. We wish you all the best.


Again you were impressive but we want to continue looking —

Dear Arun,

Thank you for the interest you have expressed in employment with xxx IT for the position of Sr Director IT Service Management.  Although your experience is impressive, our hiring team has decided to continue the search. 

At this time, your resume will be retained for at least one year in our database.  You will be contacted in the event our employment needs should change. We also encourage you to visit our website as new positions become available.

We appreciate your interest in our company and wish you success in your search.


We thought you were a match but now you are not—

Dear Arun,

Thank you for submitting your resume for our Chief Information Officer position, and for your interest in our firm.

Your qualifications have been reviewed, and although they are impressive, we do not feel that they are a match for our current opportunity.

We are sure your credentials and abilities will lead to other excellent opportunities, and we wish you every success in your career.


Don’t call us we will call you—

Hi Arun,

Thank you for your interest in the VP, Technology & Operations role for xxx. We have received your information and if there is interest in moving forward with your candidacy we will be reaching out to you in the next few weeks.

Thank you for your patience in our reply, as we had many applications for this impactful opening on our team.


You didn’t get the job. Here is who did—

Hi ARUN,

Thank you for your application for the position of Chief Information Officer for the xxx.  Interviews for the position were held in early March.

Xxx officials have appointed Ms. xxx as their next Chief Information Officer.  Ms. xxx has most recently served as a Manager of IT Infrastructure and Operations.  Prior to that, she worked in the IT field as a Director for more than 12 years.  Ms. xxx has a Master’s degree in Communication System Strategy & Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. 

Although you were not selected for this position, the xxx and GovHR xxx want to thank you for your interest and effort in competing for this position.  We extend our best wishes for continued success in your professional endeavors.

Please feel free to stay in touch with our office regarding professional opportunities in the future.


You were not qualified—

Arun,

Thank you for your application for the CTO/SVP, Architecture, Engineering & Technology search we are doing at xxx.   After reviewing your background, we have concluded that there are other candidates better qualified for this role.  That said, thank you for your time in contacting us. 

With regards,


There were too many qualified CIOs —

Arun:

Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to speak with us about the CIO role at xxx.  We were impressed with your experience, but you were one of many qualified candidates whom we considered for this position.  Therefore, we will not be proceeding with your candidacy for this role at this time.

We wish you the best of luck in your future career, and thank you again for considering an opportunity with xxx.


Not holding my breadth —

Dear Arun,

We received your application for employment with xxx for the position below.

Job Title: Chief Information Officer

Department: Finance and Administration

 Thank you for your interest in our University.  The screening and selection

process is currently underway and will continue until a candidate is chosen. If

a decision is made to pursue your candidacy, you will be contacted by the hiring

manager.

 Sincerely,

Human Resources


The role has been frozen for now— 

Dear Arun,

Thank you for your application for the position as CIO, xxx Group.

 After careful consideration and with respect for current business priorities, we have decided to continue our interim IT Management solution throughout Q4 2013. Consequently the recruitment process for the CIO position has been postponed. We acknowledge and respect the energy you have put into your candidacy and apologize for any inconvenience in this regard. As the recruitment process may continue in a few months’ time, we kindly ask you to let us know, if you wish to sustain your candidacy for the CIO position. If so, please reply to this email no later than October 1, 2013.

Once again we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

 Best regards,

Human Resources, Zacco Group

Barbarians At The Datacenter

The Chief Executive OfficerAs I continue to look for my new CIO role. I am coming across some organizations that are looking outside their respect industry for talent. I recently interviewed with a publishing company who said flat out they want someone not from the publishing world. “Why?” I asked.  They felt that publishing expertise is lagging behind other industries in their use of technology.  I have seen other firms looking for these barbarians to manage their data. It is a refreshing thought.

This is a great opportunity for an organization to bring onboard an innovative disruptor to shake things up. As I have said in the past, change to some extent is good for any organization. As technology marches forward can any CIO say they are an expert in all areas?  Will a CIO have the experience to try new things? To take chances in order to make progress? These are fundamental questions for any CEO or CIO to contemplate.

I strongly believe that a CIO’s developed skills in one industry can be transferred successfully to another industry. Who’s to say that a medical CIO’s experience cannot be used in publishing? Granted there will be a learning curve, but there will be a learning curve for anyone taking on a new leadership role.

It might be scary for some who find comfort in knowing their respective industry inside and out. Myself- I believe that I am that barbarian that looks for new challenges. Working in different industries allows me to increase my marketability and continue to add to my toolbox.

ReBoot – Golf and Big Data

A CIO's VoiceI am a horrible golfer. I am first to admit it. I struggle with having a complete game. There are days when my long game is on point and others when my short game and putting is phenomenal. It is rare that both are working together. I struggle with it because I want to improve. Like anything in life, if I was good at it from the start what fun will be that be? Maybe it is my weird sense of what fun is.

A new virtual golf business opened not too far from my home. Great little joint and the simulators help work on your game during the brutal winter months when that Polar Vertex is hovering over us.

I started to think about the simulator and the amount of data it was using to alow us to play a round of golf. Can Big Data be used to improve a golfer? Or allow a professional golfer to win more tournaments?

Here is a hypothetical – say you are able to capture the following data:

  • Day of the year
  • Time
  •  Weather information (wind, humidity, etc)
  • Course information (distance, markers, green info, etc, etc)

The above information is readily available on most golf GPSs. And clearly most golf simulators are able to capture a lot of data such as swing speed, club head angle, etc.

Now if we add the following information player specific dat

  • Handicap
  • Average # of shots played previously on that course
  • Distance made with specific clubs for that course
  • Ball type
  • How the player is playing the day of (soft data point)

Can this information be loaded into a database and be crunched and then sent to an iPad or other device to allow a player to know what club he should/or should not use and how to hit?

All this rests on if a player is able to duplicate his swing repeatedly. For most amateurs that is impossible. But I think a professional golfer can easily do that.

There is definitely a place for this type of information in this sport. 

Innovation Teamwork and Lego

Leadership and TeamworkI saw this commercial on TV and thought it was well done.  It speaks volumes about innovation and teamwork. I have been a Lego builder since I was 5. I felt that as toy it has the ability to be so much more and this commercial says that.

A CIO’s Christmas List

Dear Santa:     aciosvoice.jpg

In 2013 we have seen improvement in the economy. Things are looking better. Hopefully the momentum will carry into 2014.

I have tried to be really good by being the best CIO I can. So Santa, this year, I would like the following:

▪   Better analytics for our Big Data initiatives. There is so much information we don’t know where to begin..

▪   A migration plan to Windows 8. It is time we move away from Windows XP. Really – it is time.

▪   Enough bandwidth to support these BYOD. They are popping up everywhere.

▪   A Tesla Model S. This is one cool looking electric car.

▪   A Playstation 4. I know I am getting old but these games are getting so realistic.

▪   Help with my golf slice. Okay maybe you cannot help with that, so throw a few lessons in my stocking.

Thanks Santa and Merry Christmas.

P.S. I left cookies and milk for you in the cloud. Please help yourself but please don’t drop any crumbs.

ReBoot – Where Is My TV Guide?

A CIO's VoiceThe other day I was having a conversation with someone in there 20s and I mentioned a TV Guide. They gave me that look you get when you tell people you remember when TV sets had knobs.

As technology marches on, there are some items in print that have or are disappearing. I remember reading the TV Guide but I have not used on in over 10 years, since I got cable and use the online TV Guide.

Do you remember encyclopedias? I grew up using them in school. With the internet you can find virtually any fact you need.

What about a dictionary or thesaurus? When was the last time you looked up a definition for a word? MSOffice has made them obsolete as well or you can use the internet.

I still read a newspaper on occasion. But for the most part I now read it more often on online.

As for magazines, I do read those. Mostly on my commute home or on the plane. But now they are quickly getting thinner with more content online along with more online ads.

Maybe some day we will no longer have to print information on paper. In some ways that is great progress. But in others something nostalgic is lost.

The Disruptive CIO

Leadership and TeamworkThere are many types of CIOs-– operational, strategic, and transformational; each has their advantages.  A good CIO is one that has all these traits. There is another trait that has advantages to an organization. That trait is disruptive.

Many CIOs stay within a particular industry. A pharma CIO will normally stay in pharma or a financial CIO will generally stay in financial services. Very few jump industries and very few organizations look beyond their particular industry for a different type of CIO.

However, bringing in a CIO from anther industry has the potential to be a disruptive influence in an organization. Disruptive in a positive way. A disruptive leader is one that fights the status quo; bringing in new ideas and processes – a fresh set of eyes looking at how to improve existing processes.

A disruptive CIO is one willing to step out of the rank and file and acts boldly against the norm that lulls an organization into complacency. He/she acts as a catalyst to move a company from lethargy into positive-changing actions. Being a disruptive CIO is a tough and messy role. Most organizations have a culture of fear and risk aversion that makes it difficult for a disruptive leader to step forward. However, for those that do step out, they have the ability to move a company beyond irrelevance and into a mindset that the status quo is not acceptable and change is good.

The Questions That Get Interesting Looks

2136954235_35424aa0bcI have been actively interviewing.  While it has been an interesting time to look for a senior level role I have been cautious about the organizations I have been interviewing with. I have come to realize that some organizations still do not see IT has a strategic tool but purely at a utility with no real long-term value. It is these organizations that I try to stay away from and recently have passed on further interviewing.

I use the initial interview to really get a sense of the organization. And if there are any red flags politely decline further interviews. Here are some of the questions I have asked during the interview:

  • Is technology a component of the business plan?
  • How do executives obtain information?
  • What goals and values define the current technology organization?
  • Are technology best practices and standards followed?
  • How does the enterprise select and acquire technology?
  • How effectively does the current portfolio of application support members?
  • How does the enterprise implement technology?
  • How does the enterprise manage and maintain technology assets?
  • How does the enterprise manage security, privacy, integrity, and compliance?
  • How does the enterprise measure performance?
  • Is there a willingness of staff to embrace openness and change?
  • Is there a willingness of senior executives to serve as stewards of IT and ensure IT supports the mission?
  • Is there a willingness to keep things that work and get rid of those that don’t ‐ whether it is a legacy software application, broken business process or failing project ‐ reallocating resources to better investments?
  • Is there sufficient resources to support initiatives with skilled personnel, funding, and time?
  • Is there active and visible senior management support?
  • Is there a well‐defined and disciplined processes for information capture, stewardship, and quality and accuracy assurance of information?

I have been amazed about some of the responses I have received. But it is better to find out now then 6 months into your tenure where you might be struggling.

30 Must Read CIO Bloggers

cropped-aciosvoice.jpg

I am glad “A CIO’s Voice” made the list. Thanks Evolven

“These executives have a tremendous influence on the IT industry, developments and leadership. With their insights, they help to shape IT, identify trends, and make decisions that have far-reaching impact.”

http://www.evolven.com/blog/must-read-cio-bloggers.html

 

 

 

Bad Bad Bosses

Cowardly LionI read this recently on LinkedIn. It’s sad but I know a lot of “managers” that fall into these categories. The comments following the article are especially good.

The Tell-Tale Signs Of A Bad Boss by Bernard Marr

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130821063221-64875646-top-10-tell-tale-signs-of-a-bad-boss

Core Qualifications to Being Chief

meetingsIn my search for a new leadership role, I came across this in a job description for CIO. This can be applied to any CxO roles.

CIO/CTO EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS:

1 – LEADING CHANGE:  This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this qualification is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

(Competencies:  creativity and innovation, external awareness, flexibility, resilience, strategic thinking, vision)

2 – LEADING PEOPLE:  This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization’s vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this qualification is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.

(Competencies:  conflict management, leveraging diversity, developing others, team building)

3 – RESULTS DRIVEN:  This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this qualification is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.

(Competencies:  accountability, customer service, decisiveness, entrepreneurship, problem solving, technical credibility)

4 – BUSINESS ACUMEN:  This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

(Competencies:  financial management, human capital management, and technology management)

5 – BUILDING COALITIONS:  This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.

(Competencies:  partnering, political savvy, and influencing/negotiating)

8 hours vs 8 hours Plus – When Is Enough Enough?

How much is enough? Are you productive during your 8 hours? Some organizations expect you to put in more than 8 hours. Not really for anything else but to show your dedication to working 12 plus hours each day.

While there are times when one might put in such long days (i.e. after hours maintenance or systems upgrades), I subscribe to the philosophy that if you cannot complete your task or make progress to complete your task then you are doing something wrong. If you are just putting in hours to show your face and not really accomplishing much then you are not efficient and fully maximizing your day.

Why not be efficient and accomplish your tasks in 8 hours or under? It leads to prioritizing work efficiently and the end result is a better quality of life.