In my book “Lessons in IT Transformation,” I focus on many of the roles that must be effectively played by today’s CIO. You hear a lot these days about the CIO acting as Chief Innovation Officer. There is much written about the CIO partnering with the CMO to leverage social media and online marketing. A lot is discussed about the need for the CIO to add to the corporate revenue engine. However, there is one role that gets very little press, but I think is equally important.
An effective CIO must also act as Chief Cheerleading Officer. Most IT employees are totally taken for granted, especially when things are going well and working 99.9 percent of the time. But, isn’t that what we pay these people to do? And on the rare occasion that something goes wrong, all hell breaks loose! Most IT shops are treated like utilities so you only hear from customers when the power goes off. It reminds me of the line in the Kenny Rogers song “The Gambler: “The best you can hope for is to die in your sleep!”
Human beings need encouragement. They need reinforcement. They need to know that someone recognizes and appreciates the things they do to make life work for the countless employees that are part of their corporations. Who is recognizing them and letting them know they are doing a great job? If it’s not the CIO, then who will do it?
Another thing that drives me crazy is when we take people for granted. When was the last time you simply said “thank you” to someone on your team for doing a good job? The words thank you are the grease that keeps the machine of human relationships. They are two simple words that take less than five seconds to speak. Yet, we are stingy with the use of these words. I have a homework assignment for you. Find at least five opportunities this week to genuinely thank someone for doing something well. I promise you it won’t take you more than a day! Once you get into this practice, you may want to make it a part of your daily repertoire. And by the way, you may want to use it at home as well!
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Larry Bonfante has held executive leadership positions over the past 30 years in the Financial, Pharmaceutical, Not for Profit, Consulting, and Sports and Entertainment industries. He has received numerous industry accolades including being nominated for the CIO Hall of Fame in 2013, being named as one of CIO Magazine’s CIO 100 in 2011 and one of Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Leaders in 2009. As Chief Information Officer at the United States Tennis Association, Larry’s team is responsible for all information technology related services supporting the US Open, the most highly attended annual sporting event in the world. Larry is the founder of CIO Bench Coach, LLC an executive coaching practice for IT executives and the author of the book “Lessons in IT Transformation” published by John Wiley & Sons.