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5/20/2009
10:20 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Interop CIO Boot Camp: CIO Jiu Jitsu And Centers Of Excellence

Every organization's got at least one: the defiant, abrasive, contentious, and inflexible colleague who fights your every initiative loudly and publicly. At Interop's CIO Boot Camp this week, former health-care and public-sector CIO Louis Gutierrez offered advice on how to defang these obstinate outliers and turn them into centers of excellence that can benefit the entire enterprise.

Every organization's got at least one: the defiant, abrasive, contentious, and inflexible colleague who fights your every initiative loudly and publicly. At Interop's CIO Boot Camp this week, former health-care and public-sector CIO Louis Gutierrez offered advice on how to defang these obstinate outliers and turn them into centers of excellence that can benefit the entire enterprise."One of the key features of a blocker is that they do tend to be powerful - they tend to have a power base or a strength base of some sort or else they wouldn't be significant enough to be a blocker," said Gutierrez, who had been CIO for the state of Massachusetts and also for Harvard-Pilgrim Healthcare. (You can watch a 2.5-minute video with Gutierrez here, courtesy of Riverbed.)

"And so you try to shift their sense that they are a solo player that is allowed to keep themselves apart from the organization and urge them to play ball with the rest by becoming a center of excellence with regard to their strength and have community responsibilities for sharing that strength with others."

Gutierrez cited an example from his days as CIO for Massachusetts, wherein one of the state agencies had developed advanced and valuable capabilites in imaging and procurement but relished its status as an outsider that typically bucked the collaborative culture Gutierrez was trying to develop.

"So I turned to their CIO and said, 'Look - you can be part of this whole strategy and teamplay we're getting together by taking your strengths in imaging and becoming a service center, or certainly a design and coordination center with a bunch of other agencies who are wanting to follow the same path. So rather than simply carving your own way of doing things, come join the team and help everyone learn to play in the areas in which you're strongest,' " Gutierrez recalled.

As CIOs' responsibilities extend more deeply into collaborative efforts with business units, other divisions, partners, suppliers, and customers - often in other countries - the ability to foster such teamwork and enlist everyone's participation in key projects becomes essential. So maybe it's time to enhance your formal training programs with some classes in jiu jitsu: the art of converting your opponent's efforts and momentum into your advantage.

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