“Hi, I am the Chief Listening Officer…”

There are few things in life that can get you ahead. One of the simplest things I have discovered is the simple act of listening. If you are an executive listening should be your strongest skill. If not, it should be a skill you improve on. To be successful, you need to be good at listening.

Listening is part skill and part art.  As strange as it may sound – there are listening skills. Google the word ‘listening’ and you will get a list of hundreds of site where you can read how to improve this skill. We learn to listen as part of our formal education. You must listen to eventually learn. The same holds true in our careers, “to be successful we have to listen.”

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We Need To Talk – How Business and IT Should Play

I have been privileged in my career to work with seasoned executives who understood technology and knew how to use it to grow their business. These were not techies but people that saw the power of the computer as a tool.

The fundamental problem that leads to a break down between business and IT is the lack of communication from both sides. The questions that should be asked and answered are the following:
· What are the expectations that need to be met?
· Are there clear goals that can be achieved?
· What information should IT be reporting on a regular basis and in what format?
· What metrics are helpfulful?
· Are the goals of IT aligned with those of the business?

I have seen in many organizations where IT has no clear direction. This is usually a failure of the CIO to articulate a vision. More so it is a lack of communication which leads to the breakdown of communications and the resulting disconnect and dysfunction between business and IT.

It is important to establish an effective relationship between your business leaders and your information technology group.