I came across a fantastic article written by George Spalding, on SearchCIO earlier this year. He paints a very accurate picture of what that first day, or first encounter, looks like, between the new CIO and his internal customers. You would think the CIO’s first meeting would be to highlight his/her plan on how he/she is going to build a world-class IT organization, which delivers innovative solutions to the enterprise. However, that first discussion ends up being, all about how lousy the network is, and how often Skype meetings just don’t work. Not what one would expect the C-suite to spend their time on.

For any incoming CIO, focus and attention should always be placed on the relationship between IT and the business, and understanding its current state. More often than not, it needs help (a lot of help), and you won’t be getting to any strategic and innovative initiatives until you address it. And the easiest way to gain the business’ trust, is by solving those constant and annoying issues which are often overlooked (network outages/speed issues, poor performing service desks, and down systems due to poor change management, etc.).

The business needs to have confidence in IT before one can expect their partnership to drive change through strategic initiatives. So an understanding of the current situation and relationship between IT and the business should be your top priority. I would say a powerpoint for that first meeting about your grand vision and master plan, is unnecessary. A pen and paper or computer, and be prepared to ask many questions and listen, is all that is needed (and they will most likely be surprised). It’s only then, that you will have the information you need to start building trust and addressing the immediate concerns so that you can quickly move on to those strategic and innovative initiatives.

The article can be viewed here:

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