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Why CIOs should spend less time behind their desks
When I tell people I'm a CIO, I'm sure they get this vision of me sitting behind a computer at my desk plugging away at my work. But, in reality, I actually try to spend as little time at my desk as possible.
I'll walk the campus, or I'm on the road a lot checking in on our regional offices. When I get there, the first thing I do is ask, “How’s it going? How is stuff working for you? What can we do better?” It almost always leads to me hearing great ideas from our employees. And it’s just as important to me to visit our project construction sites so that I am aware of the problems, challenges, and work environments our crews on the ground are experiencing every day.
Sometimes this drives my teams crazy because when I return to the office with a slew of ideas or problems to solve they sometimes say, “Oh no, not more work.”
But that’s the level of customer service that I need to provide. They need to see me. They need to know that I hear about and care about the stuff they’re working on and the challenges they have. They need to trust that when I return to the office, we will work on it, and we will get back to them with our findings or results.
Even though it’s difficult to do, I try to spend at least 20 percent of my time and my team’s time trying to figure out how we innovate for the business. It works. It has led to us creating two of our own mobile apps, which is pretty ridiculous for an electrical contractor to even consider something like that. But we did it, and they've helped the business tremendously. And none of that would happen if I spent every day sitting behind my desk.
- When was the last time you had your IT department over for dinner?
- IT must speak in business terms to connect with other business units
Sam Lamonica is Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Rosendin Electric, the nation’s largest privately held electrical contractor. Rosendin Electric has over 4,000 office and field employees and yearly revenue of close to $1 Billion. He is responsible for the companies’ Information System Organization as well as Archives/Records Management. Prior to joining Rosendin Electric, Mr. Lamonica held the position of CIO at Rudolph and Sletten Construction, one of the largest California based General Contracting and Construction firms. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems from the University of San Francisco. Recently, Mr. Lamonica was selected as one of Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders and named a finalist in the inaugural Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal and San Francisco Business Times Bay Area Best CIO Awards.