We all keep hearing about how stressed out the average worker is. And even though the economy continues to show signs of improvement, hiring within many organizations has remained tepid. Revenues are picking up but staff growth hasn't kept pace with new project demands.
How big a problem is this? Consider a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association as reported by CNN in which more than a third of U.S. employees (36 percent) say they're experiencing chronic work stress. Meanwhile, another 32 percent of the 1,546 respondents say they plan to seek employment elsewhere over the next year.
Just to be clear, this is a story about a CIO who spotted the warning signs about the housing bubble ahead of the market and helped lower his company's exposure to risky subprime mortgage-backed securities. He's a CIO who has delivered tremendous business value to his company.
But he's not the type of CIO you would normally read about in CIOZone.
For years, CIOs have ranked the importance of aligning IT with the business as their top strategic goal. And while business alignment hasn't necessarily diminished in importance, many forward-thinking IT leaders are pushing the ball forward.
For instance, according to a new study by Yankee Group, 82 percent of 100 CIOs and CTOs from companies with 500 to 10,000 employees ranked improving customer experience as their top strategic priority.
With The 83rd Annual Academy Awards just behind us, many of the Best Picture nominees are still fresh in our minds.
In contemplating the winner of the Best Picture category - The King's Speech - it led me to consider the key leadership lessons that CXOs and other decision-makers can draw from King George VI, the famed leader portrayed by actor Colin Firth who guided Britain through the dark days of World War II.
One of the most important traits in great leaders is the ability to communicate effectively and clearly, regardless of who your audience is. This includes having a knack for delivering impactful presentations, whether that's on a stage in front of several hundred people, in a board meeting or to a group of staffers. It's a particularly important requirement for CIOs who often have to speak to a diverse set of audiences.
Let's face it, some people simply have a gift for public speaking. There are certain presenters who dazzle, others who stimulate or provoke and still others who move us with their stories and experiences.
But for most of us, public speaking is stressful. We worry about making mistakes, or not being able to engage our audiences or to provide listeners with meaningful content or messages.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, the productivity of U.S. workers surged in the fourth quarter at a 2.6 percent annual rate, far surpassing projections of a 2 percent rise by a survey of economists conducted by Bloomberg. Meanwhile, labor costs fell for the fifth time in six quarters. In short, when the economy produces more goods and services with effectively the same size workforce, productivity goes up.
Although some economists expect productivity to slow during the year as the economy continues to expand and companies hire more workers to increase output, the short-term prognosis isn't terribly encouraging, at least for some job seekers. In fact, the startling rise in productivity could also backfire for some CIOs and IT staffs, at least in the near-term.