Politico-CIO

Corporate politics is the bane of many executives. It is everywhere in a company. There is no escaping from it. Because of the level the CIO reaches in an organization it is a fact that he/she will be dealing with political issues daily. So if you cannot run from it, it is best to play with in it and win.

Most executives are horrible at politics. Most think they are good at but in truth they are not. It is not their fault. There really is no school to go and learn how to deal with politics. You learn how to deal with politics from the street.

Politics in general has a bad reputation, however, there is also a good side. The good of politics is figuring out how to shape your agenda so it fits in a way that is positive for everyone affected.

A CIO that regurgitates tech jargon and buzz words will not get ahead in the game of politics. Politics is about selling. People make decisions emotionally and use their intellect to rationalize these emotional decisions. If you want to accomplish anything you will need to sell to the decision-makers. That means understanding the decision-makers background and thought process. Like governmental politics it means figuring out who will be on your side, who will fight for you, and who can be persuaded and how.

Now the dark side of politics can be more vicious. Let’s face reality; it is also the most interesting. Backstabbing happens to all of us at some time in our careers. It is the nature of the beast. All you can do is figure who the person is and how they are trying to do it, and plan your moves to counter them. It is a game of chess.

To win, you must always remember that corporate politics is a game with high stakes. Never forget that being a CIO means being a politician first and foremost.

Further reading about corporate politics:

Corporate Politics-The Elephant in the Room by Mark Beckford

Winning At Organizational Politics Without Losing Your Soul by Dan King

Coping

I am starting to hear better news about the job market loosing up a bit for executives. In fact, in recent days I have been getting calls from recruiters. So there seems to be movement forward.

One of the discussions that I have not written about is related to coping with being out-of-work. I started a recent dialogue with another CIO on the west coast who is also out-of-work. The topic of depression came up. I wondered for a period if I were depressed. My wife asked me constantly and I started to doubt myself. Was I really depressed? I did some inner reflection and I discovered that I really was not.

I was just bored. I spent over 11 years in the corporate world. Politics, stress, pressure, long hours gave me purpose. Without it, I now felt empty and wanted to get back into the corporate goo. I am a workaholic by nature and I needed that constant drive towards something to keep me going. You might say, why not take up a hobby to occupy yourself? Well I have. Golf, gardening, blogging, and home improvement projects, have filled my time and kept me busy. However, being busy is no substitute for steady work. The days become tedious and you are constantly trying to fill your schedule with tasks. Besides there is only so much golf you can play or roses you can prune before even that becomes boring.

There is nothing I can do about the job situation except keep doing what I am doing. I hope that will change soon. In the meantime, I am using this time to enjoy my family, do some volunteer work, exercise and enjoy myself. At least by keeping busy I am keeping my mind active and thinking. I know that when I do go back to work I will be putting in long hours. Therefore, I am treating this time preciously.