Senior executives expend much effort into grooming their directors and managers and keeping them satisfied in their jobs with the aim of retaining their key people. The operative word here is people. According to a new paper from PricewaterhouseCoopers, it may be smarter to shift the focus to pivotal roles. People in pivotal roles are the ones that have the most direct impact on customer satisfaction. The roles different in every organization, and they're not necessarily high-profile.
As we head into the final month of the year, it might be a good time to talk about books. I realize it's the holidays and you're probably thinking you're too busy to read. But when you start having to leave the safe harbor of your home to do holiday stuff -- attend parties with excruciating people, shop, go to the airport -- I think you'll find time. Would you rather be out there battling dense masses of humanity or sitting by the fire with a snifter and a useful book on how to be a winning CIO? I've chosen these books because they contain substantial passages that directly address CIOs' contribution to their companies' success factors. I'll even tell you which chapters you might read if you just don't have time to read it all.
If you're a frustrated CIO struggling to get your company's business side to embrace IT as a critical strategic partner rather than just a cost center, the answer may lie in altering your approach to IT strategy. In the current issue of the journal Strategy +Business from management consultancy Booz Inc., Booz consultants Eduardo Alvarez and Srini Raghavan have one idea: a four-step road map based on the company's corporate strategy and the capabilities it delivers.
One would be hard pressed to find any CIO who doesn't believe in and argue for IT's ever-growing stature within the organization. New Research from Harvard Business School, however, suggests a surprising new angle on the power CIOs really have to influence the way their companies run.
In Monday's Financial Times, guest columnists John Hagel III and John Seely Brown of the Deloitte Center for the Edge wrote of IT as a "double-edged sword." They describe IT's paradox as at once eroding profitability and providing unprecedented opportunities for value creation. By this thesis, whether a CIO can maximize the latter and avoid the former is ultimately the measure of an IT chief.
Among C-level executives, the CIO role arguably has the most delicate balance to master between the strategic and the operational. According to professor Hayagreeva Rao of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, lumping strategy and operations in one job in the first place may be a fundamental flaw in the design of a job itself.