"In each case they had figured out their business model that they felt was going to be the winner. The (IT organization) we have is a far distance from there. Nobody's happy with it. We're leaking money. Customer satisfaction is way down and there's a realization the key performance indicators that will tell you if you're winning in the various functions of the business but, by the way, every single one of them is dependent on fully-functioning, well-invested, high-performing IT. And, if you don't have it, you better go get it. Otherwise you're throwing good money after bad.
"So, in each of those companies, they had gone through those pains. They had realized we need a world-class IT. We don't have it. We don't have the leadership. We don't know what we're getting for our moneywe just know where unhappy with it. So, they were ready to bite the bullet."
"You have the internal challenge within ITyou have to win the hearts and minds of the IT organization and have them, in many cases, change the way they've been doing things for 20 years. And overcome the human tendencies of the leaders you're inheriting who say, 'Why didn't I get that job?' and 'Maybe I'll just lay low until this guy leaves and maybe torpedo a few things' and so on.
"So, there's a natural resistance in the first six months to a year within your IT organization that you just have to be very strong and very honest and very direct and change what needs to be changed and change whoever needs to be changed.
"In the business, I think the far biggest challenge was putting in appropriate governance. Governance is a broad term but, if you boil it all down to a net-net-net, it is getting a commitment (and absolutely having it followed through) to work together, make investment decision together, manage projects together. Putting discipline in place where people show up for meetings they're participating, they're bringing their opinions to the table and, if they dont have an opinion, they shouldn't be in the meeting. And once the decision is made, you get behind it and make it happen.
"Easier said than done and each culture has a different way of subverting it. You have to be aware of it and get on with it and do the job as a leader and show up as a leader."
But, if you do, the rewards can be great. Leadership only comes naturally to a few. The rest of us have to learn. But, it can be learned. And that is perhaps the best part of Trainer's messagethat you do not have be pigeon-holed into "career is over" just because you came into the CIO's job from, dare it be said, IT.
"The CIOs of today are still kind of making up as they go along to a degree. CIO relating to 'Career is Over' is alive and well. (But) the body of validation is growing quickly now. I think as the CIOs move into the future there will be more help available."
Other installments in the Successful CIO series: