Networks and Teamwork

By Tom Pettibone  |  Posted 2009-03-04 Print this article Print

1 Develop relationships.

Developing credibility and trust among both the C-suite and direct reports may be the trickiest part of a strong start as CIO. It’s important to know these individuals on both personal and professional levels because that will give you insight into the company’s politics and culture, which can mean the difference between your success and failure.

In my experience as both a CIO and IT consultant, I have often seen good plans fizzle because the CIO did not understand the boss’s priorities and the organization’s culture and politics. As a result, the CIO could not effectively evaluate whether his or her plan could work in that specific enterprise and therefore couldn’t “sell” the plan or get support for it.

This holds true whether you’re promoted from within or new to the organization. If you’re new, you must build relationships from scratch. If you’ve had another position in the company, you must reset your relationships to reflect your new role and authority. I believe all new CIOs should spend 90 percent of their time cultivating relationships and building support alliances.

By building relationships early on, a new CIO can help manage C-suite expectations and come to a mutual understanding about the goals and what is needed to accomplish them. That will lead to a closer alignment between IT and business strategy.

2 Leave your office.

Go beyond the walls of the IT department and into the field—to other departmental meetings, on sales calls, to customer sites. If you’ve been with the organization previously, it’s a chance to let people see you in your new capacity, and if you’re new to the company, it’s an opportunity to show that you want to learn how IT can serve the rest of the business.

You can boost your credibility by demonstrating your commitment to learning how the organization works, whom IT serves internally and externally, and how users feel about their experience with IT.


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