The Business of IT

CIOs: Get more out of your networking (no, not that kind)

The most significant improvements in a CIO’s businesses effectiveness come not from technical tips at all, rather consist of improving habits. Here are my top three:

– Recognize that “networking” is about relationships: relationships between IT services that span organizational boundaries. The best way to improve relationships among IT services is to improve the human relationships that underlie them. Demonstrate the importance of, and train your staff in, establishing and maintaining productive relationships with stakeholders.

– Educate your team in the ways of exploring business value. Business value comes not only from the features and services delivered by the IT, but also from the controls and relationships that IT incorporates. There is real—if intangible and unquantifiable—business value in the workflow as it has developed over time, so don’t be overly quick to eliminate bureaucracy. There are often pearls in what might otherwise be declared “waste.”

– Accept that you won’t be more productive by fitting more meetings into your schedule. Instead, eliminate meetings as a medium for information sharing. Declare “calendar bankruptcy,” and allow your entire staff to do so as well. Replace meetings with chat rooms, wikis, etc. Provide a limited budget of meeting hours per day per person—say, one—and insist no individual meeting can run beyond 20 minutes. Watch productivity skyrocket.

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