Just Say No

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2006-11-06 Print this article Print

Identifying core processes and centralizing tech decision-making are among the keys to success.

6. JUST SAY NO Information technology at medium-sized companies may be primarily a support function, as Wolfson says, but that doesn't mean "Yes, we can" is always the right answer. Jeanne Ross, principal research scientist at MIT's Center for Information Systems Research, recalls how the incoming CIO of a consumer products company once objected to the decision to plow ahead with a global human-resources system. "He said, 'Who's going to take blame for this if it fails?' They said, 'You.' He was able to push back," Ross says. "CIOs have to be savvy enough to say, 'I can't take responsibility for that.'"

Of course, as with a lot of situations in business, you also need to be savvy about how you say something isn't going to happen. "The ability to say no or to force management to prioritize is important to the well-being of the staff and the CIO in particular," agrees Luffy of Installed Building Products. "But you have to have done enough for them so that when you do say, 'Wait a minute,' they'll listen."


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