Your IT organization won't be successful without this one essential characteristic

Your IT organization won't be successful without this one essential characteristic

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CIO Managing Your Boss

One thing you discover quickly in IT is that all the simple problems have been solved. The complex problems are the ones that are most interesting, and complex problems are always contentious. And so building a team that moves at the speed of trust but that truly values candor and differing points of view is the hardest part of being a CIO.

In other words, you don’t want the Kennedy Administration groupthink that led to the Bay of Pigs disaster, where everybody agreed even though some people secretly disagreed. You want candor in those conversations, you want people looking at the issue from all sides.

If you think of your next project as taking an island, you’d want some people on the team to be swimmers that are willing to jump in and test the waters, even if there are sharks there. You’d want some people that are shark spotters who prefer to stay on the shore and protect the interest of the swimmers. And you want some people who value organizational culture and long-term impact that are holding onto the flag on the original island. Risk-takers, early adopters, and cultural mainstays: you need all three groups on your team.

To start moving at the speed of trust, you must have a candid exchange of differing points of view on the same project.

Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D. is the Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In this role servant leader and enabler of others, he leads a team of dedicated professionals focused on providing solution to the UAB through world-class IT with a focus on innovation, agility and cost efficiency.

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