You’ve gotta feel for the CIO who has to write a business case to convince his or her board to spend money on new technologies with names like Yammer, Mr Tweet, Pluck, Chatter or Jive. After all, whimsy is only so cool to the chequesigners in multi-billion dollar corporations who quickly follow their tacit approval of anything leading edge with that old-school refrain of “show me the money”. Look past the funky names of today’s social networking tools, however, and chances are there will be enough nifty features to justify the investment.
Yvette Vignando has been working for 11 years as an executive coach specialising in emotional intelligence. She describes EI as her soapbox issue. Vignando says people often arrive to executive management after many years in a technical or semi-technical role, but rarely with any management or leadership training.
Imagine your four-year-old self in a room with an adult who offers you a marshmallow. As you reach for the sweet, she says if you wait while she runs an errand, you can have two when she returns. She departs, and leaves behind the marshmallow. Do you weaken, or hold out for double the treat? Psychologists would have us believe that the children who sit tight are showing early signs of high achievement in later life. They say the ability to delay gratification is a master skill; a triumph of reason over impulse. Some claim such self-control is one of the five elements of superior emotional intelligence, a main ingredient of leadership.
CIO spoke to many sharp people for this article; people who have been there, done that. Their collective and unmistakable message is that business is essentially about people. The irony is that this is the first thing people forget.
Tony Joyner has seen it all when it comes to negotiating outsourcing contracts. Joyner is a partner at law firm Freehills, where, as a senior member of its national projects team, he advises some of Australia’s biggest companies. His mantra: Negotiate fairly, be vigilant and keep everybody happy. If only it was that easy.
Documents are the lifeblood of many organisations and of most governments. Each transaction or contact culminates in a document, file, or record of some description — an email, tweet, blog, video, fax, form, photograph or report that chronicles an everyday conversation, weekly bulletin, quarterly statement or annual announcement. But no matter what the content is or how you manage it, failure is not an option. CIOs know that in a world that demands records be maintained for seven years, it is possible to live with some information disarray, but not information chaos. And given the high cost of paper storage, electronic solutions are now essential.
It is 8pm midweek and three senior executives at Altium are working on a document they need first thing the next day — a presentation to staff about behavioural change. The program manager is editing text; the company president is asking questions about the program; and CIO, Alan Perkins, is answering his president’s questions.
Let’s get something straight: Gen-Y wants to work with you, not for you. Yes, its members have short attention spans, their attention to detail is poor, and they expect instant access to any level of the organisation. But they also have abundant energy, they are IT savvy, and they want to work for organisations that are ethical. One final thing: they are ambitious.