The Difficulty of Being CIO

The Dirty Dozen was a movie from 1967 starring Lee Marvin as a US Army Major assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them on a special mission in World War II. Lee takes a rag tag bunch of misfits and transforms them into a cohesive fighting unit.

Being a CIO is similar to being the Lee Marvin role. As a CIO, it is our responsibility to take a group of people each with their own strengths, weaknesses, experiences, egos, geekyness, and attitudes and transform them into a cohesive team able to manage all aspects of information technology and to ultimately support the business.

Accomplishing such a task is no easy feat for any manager. I am constantly evaluating and reevaluating my staff to utilize their strengths in the best possible manner and compensate for their weaknesses.

While it is easy to replace staff and hire the best and brightest. That is not always the answer. Why? Well, at some point even the “best and brightest” will eventually show their weaknesses. No one can be a superstar all the time. Eventually all stars begin to dim.

To be successful as a CIO, one has to know their staff and understand what they can and cannot do and leverage this knowledge to build a team that can handle anything that is thrown at them.

And like Lee Marvin, not  only do you have to train them; but you have to get them to start acting like a unit.


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