What It's Like to Be a First-Time CIO

What It's Like to Be a First-Time CIO

A 10-year veteran of corporate America gets a major dose of culture shock when he moves into his first CIO job at a privately held technology company

What a Difference Six Months Makes

Over the course of my 10-year career with Corporate Express, I became a go-to person. I felt like a star, but at the same time I always wondered in the back of my mind if my star status was due to tenure or talent. I took this job with Innovation Ads for many reasons. First, I always wanted to be a CIO. Second, it was a great company in a new and exciting industry, and I relished the chance to help it achieve its true potential. Finally, I wanted to test myself-to see if I could replicate my success at Corporate Express in a new position, with a new company, in a new industry, in a new state with people I'd never met before-and more importantly, with people who had never met me.

Although the first couple of weeks were tough, I'm now six months into my job and I have to say I am loving life. This is what I want to do. This is where I want to do it. This is what I worked a decade for. This is my dream.

The executives and managers who've been with Innovation Ads from the start are running an extremely successful business. What they've done here is amazing, building a company from zero to the multimillion dollar company it is today. They might not have one single gray hair, and their style is definitely more freewheeling than stodgy, but they're just as effective, productive and successful as the rest of corporate America, if not more so. I've learned a whole lot more about management and motivation here than I would have had I worked another 10 years at Corporate Express.

I'm getting way more satisfaction and joy now building and guiding a team than I got from being the go-to guy at Corporate Express. I'm watching my team grow, make the right moves and be productive. I've doubled the development staff to 12. Productivity has grown tremendously. The accuracy of code has also gone up tremendously. Instead of having to light a fire under my staff, I have to hold them back. They're smiling, laughing, arguing and doing all the things a team should. The whole company's morale is up because of the development group. I sometimes sit in my office watching them work and I smile with pride.

And yes, in case you were wondering, the doors to the office are now secure. They lock and unlock via electronic security cards. We know who comes and goes at any time, and we can even unlock the doors via the Internet if we have to.

By Jason Scott, CIO of Innovation Ads, as told to Meridith Levinson

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