Why CIOs should hire evangelists

Why CIOs should hire evangelists

Evangelists bring pride to their work: They know they are part of something bigger than themselves, says Monsanto CIO

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November 22, 2017
Leadership CIO with lightbulb

When I am evaluating potential hires, there is one-word that drives my selection process: Evangelist. It’s a characteristic I hold above the rest.  

Every role at Monsanto is critical to our success. In order to be a truly valued member of the team, each individual has to be able to tell the story of why their role matters and how it fits into the bigger picture of our digital transformation. Why? Because we have 20,000 employees around the world. They may or may not completely understand why are we transforming our network, or why are we developing a platform versus a project, or why are we doing agile versus waterfall when we could have just done it the old way.

[ Want more CIO hiring wisdom? See our related article, Why your IT organization needs A+ players now. ]

We need every single person to be an evangelist, not just competent in their skill set. They should be able to articulate and educate others on our journey. If they can’t evangelize, they’re going to be, at best, marginally impactful. They may do a great job in their space, but there’s so much opportunity that they will miss.  

Evangelists can see their roles within the larger context of our journey. They bring pride to their work, because they know they are part of something bigger than themselves. That’s why I want everyone on my team to be an evangelist.


I agree completely

I agree completely

I think that many non

I think that many non evangelists also know that they can be part of something bigger than themselves and I think that many non evangelists bring pride to their work. But I have noticed among evangelists, a kind of sheep mentality, a lack of critical thinking and an inhability to notice that one is simply quietly waiting that the obnoxious religion peddling to stop.

Seeing religion being a factor in hiring or not hiring someone is, to me, is shocking.

...quietly waiting *for the

...quietly waiting *for the obnoxious religion peddling to stop.

@Michel, an effective

@Michel, an effective technology evangelist channels their enthusiasm in a positive way, using knowledge sharing to help influence strategic transformation and adoption across the organisation. Let's not confuse technology evangelists with obnoxious religion peddling zealots... :-)

Jim Swanson is Senior Vice President/CIO and Head of Digital Transformation at Bayer Crop Science. Previously, Swanson served as Chief Information Officer at Monsanto, where he led 1,200-plus employees in the company’s IT function.  Jim was responsible for leveraging the company’s information technology to deliver long-term strategic vision for IT to transform Monsanto into an information-based organization and adding value to the company’s business.

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