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7/26/2002
06:36 PM
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Editor's Note: It's Time: Focus On The Right Things, Right Now

I tried to ignore it. But it was just sitting there staring me in the face. It had been sitting there for at least a day. I threw the newspaper on top of it--out of sight, out of mind. No, that didn't work. I knew it was under there. I put it in "the drawer"--you know, that place where inkless pens, tape, receipts, pennies, and other junk you just might have some need for one day reside. Another day went by and I finally gave in and opened it, my quarterly 401(k) statement. As I tore open the envelope I had that same sinking feeling I'd been getting all last week while watching the stock market stoop to new lows. My precise reaction isn't printable here, but suffice it to say I wasn't happy. As I crumpled it up and stuffed it back into "the drawer," I started blaming everyone else--the terrorists, dishonest company executives, the kid down the street who charges too much to cut the grass.

OK, I'm over it. Tomorrow I will focus on the things I can control, such as reallocating my dwindling funds, and move on. The way I look at it, we can all just shove the negative news into a drawer and pretend it doesn't exist or we can lay low and worry about what tomorrow will bring or, better yet, we can figure out what our role is, personally and professionally, to focus on the things that can be controlled, managed, or improved. I don't mean that to sound like some mumbo-jumbo motivational self-help kind of statement, it's just the way I'm dealing with it--or trying to, anyway.

In recent weeks, we've asked a number of questions about business-technology managers' roles in helping their companies focus on the right things, right now. Of course, they can optimize IT systems, they can automate processes, they can sit in boardrooms and strategize about new revenue-generating business opportunities and how technology can help drive them. But they also can play a role in overseeing fiscal integrity (see "Where Was IT?," p. 20, July 1) and in using IT systems to deliver more accurate and timely financial information (see "Fast-Track Financials," p. 55, Feb. 18). But it doesn't stop there. Business-technology executives can play an important role in bringing integrity to company governance and, through good IT practices, help communicate to investors and the public that they have well-managed businesses. Let's face it. Even the squeakiest-clean companies need to do more these days to restore investor faith in capital markets, and we believe the CIO's influence is crucial. Find out what others have to say in "Priority: Integrity".

Stephanie Stahl
Editor
sstahl@cmp.com

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