CIO Blogs from August 2010

Becoming a CIO – Current Thinking for IT Leaders by Scott Booher   CIO Blogs

Countering a disturbing bandwagon: rich vs. poor IT organizations by Peter Kretzman

The diminishing role of IT and the CIO(?) by Eric D. Brown

Strategic or Operational, the choice is yours! by Oh I See (CIO Inverted)

Tactical Plan – As CIO Do You Have One?

Having a game plan when entering any organization will help you quickly improve productivity and show strategic value. You will be able to focus more on core business issues, rather than operational disruptions.

Here are 6 items that should be include in any CIO tactical plan:

  1. Assess – Assess your company’s current IT architecture to determine its state as-is. Familiarize yourself with the existing environment to understand the current issues and architecture.
  2. Locate – Locate where the problems are, understand the issues, and if something is broken identify solutions.
  3. Determine – Determine current and future business requirements for the IT organization. Understand expectations. Expectations will be driven by your company’s corporate goals and visions. Know what the priorities are.
  4. Evaluate – Evaluate the possibilities for the target environment, based on your company’s business objectives and needs. The initial analysis should be broad and unconstrained; the goal is to define a long-range plan that will be constrained.
  5. Analyze – Conduct an analysis of the gap between the current state and future state to determine the optimal future environment.
  6. Present – Present your management team with alternative approaches for transforming the IT environment. These alternatives must be stated in business terms and specify the ways in which they will enable the company to accomplish its goals, such as increasing revenue, improving productivity, or improving customer satisfaction.

ReBoot – “Please no shoes…”

A CIO's VoiceMy wife and I do not have a strict “no shoe” policy in our home when it comes to our guests. Growing up it was just common courtesy to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home. It was especially important when entering Asian homes. It was a sign of respect.

Besides, have you ever noticed where you step and how at times you cannot help what you step in? Think about it some time. Maybe I am a germaphobe but I don’t want that stuff tracked through my home. No matter how hard you wipe your shoes before entering there will always be residual crud at the bottom of your shoes. My hardwood floors were expensive and I don’t want them scratch or scuffed by your Jimmy Choos or Aldos.

So please remove your shoes when entering my home and for that matter anyone else’s home as well.

What’s your policy? Let’s us know?

7 Things Leaders Can Learn From Super Bowl XLIV

I am not a big Colts or Saints fan. I am a New Yorker after all. However, I secretly rooted for the Saints to win since they were clearly the underdog and the city of New Orleans needed a win. Drew Brees worked his magic and the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV.

I always found the Super Bowl to be a slight let down when it comes to the game-two great teams on the field, but only playing conservatively. There are no chances, no risks being taken. What fun is that? I would think that in the last (and most important game) there is “no-holds-barred” attitude and the playbook is thrown out the window.

This was the game big chances were taken.  Drew Brees said, “That’s the type of team we are. We play with a very aggressive mentality. We play with a lot of confidence. We came to this game knowing we had to play loose and take a chance in order to win.”

As leaders, what can we learn for XLIV?

  • Calculated risks can pay off huge dividends.
  • If you have the attitude you are going to win, then chances are you are going to win.
  • Confidence is the key success.
  • Your team needs to share your vision.
  • There is a time and place to being aggressive.
  • There are no prizes for second place.
  • Victory is given to those that hunger for it.

Where Is The Loyalty?

Leadership is a two-way street, loyalty up and loyalty down. Respect for one’s superiors; care for one’s crew. -Grace Murray Hopper

Loyalty, allegiance, fidelity are words that all imply a sense of duty or devoted attachment to one’s country, creed, family, friends, etc. Are people still loyal today – especially in the workplace?

I have been speaking to several managers recently, and they all mentioned that there seems to be a sense of a lack of loyalty in today’s workplace. Why should there be one? Corporate America has changed and has really changed over the last year – massive layoffs, cutbacks, unemployment, etc., etc. The camaraderie of co-workers and the belief one’s work was making a difference in the organization has gone by the wayside.  People are working just to survive and are constantly worried about loosing their jobs. It becomes a stressful environment.

The question, “How do you build loyalty in today’s workplace?” The answer comes down to simple communication—both what you communicate and how you do it. Communicate in both directions, both up and down the chain of command — though it takes slightly different forms depending on which direction it’s focused. Communicate in real time, in person, and above all else be truthful.

In fact, the more you communicate with people, the more trusting and loyal they will be to you. Remember, your job as a manager is to ignite the passion of your staff. You cannot do that without communication.

Do You Have a High-Performing IT Leadership Team?

Do you surround yourself with “Yes Men”?  Is your staff afraid to ask questions or debate decisions?

If you answered yes to the above, chances are you do not have a high-performing IT leadership team.

It is a known fact that what happens in the CIO’s office ripples through the IT department. Behaviors that originate with the CIO and his/her lieutenants filter down and are repeated by the staff. The failure of IT in an organization can be traced back to the conduct of the CIO and the leadership team. The opposite is also true.  A high-performing IT leadership team breeds a high-performance IT department, which leads to a company’s success in business.

One of the reasons I credit my success as a CIO was the fact that I had an open door policy for my staff (all my staff) to be able to walk in and talk to me. No problem was too small and no topic too mundane. Being able to talk to your superiors makes a company more functional.

In addition, I would schedule a lunch every month with various staff to discuss and take the pulse of the department. It was a learning session where we discussed initiatives and made sure we agreed on the direction the department was going. As head of a department you take full responsibility for your department’s course. But in order for a department to be successful, your team needs to have a say in the direction it is going.

So how do you develop a high-performing IT team?

  1. Develop unity and cohesion with all your staff. Break down silos that are so common within IT departments.
  2. Develop interpersonal relationships. Everyone must have a chance to contribute, learn from and work with other members.
  3. Develop common goals and visions. Individuals must have the ability to work together toward a common goal.
  4. Ensure an environment where ideas and solutions can be freely contributed and information shared.
  5. Have everyone recognize and respect differences in others.
  6. Have everyone value the ideas and contributions of others.
  7. Have your staff participate fully and keep to their commitments.
  8. Create and environment where there is fun and everyone cares about the results. Strive for the “win-win”.
  9. Create accountability through a working process. What tasks are prioritized and what are everyone’s responsibilities? How do individuals report back on progress and what metrics do you track?

Blogs for November 2009

Here are some blog postings that I found interesting this month:

Managing against the tide by Lui Sieh

Support your CIO! by Ade McCormack

Rules of IT are Changing by Mark Brewer

Fits and starts: staying “tech savvy” as a CIO by Peter Kretzman

Healthcare Reform and the Reliance on IT by Don Lewis

Consultants and the CIO by Eric Brown