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11/19/2013
09:06 AM
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13 CIOs Share: My Big Mistakes

From tackling personnel problems quickly to not chasing tech fads, 13 CIO innovators share lessons learned the hard way.
5 of 13

5. Confront problems head-on
'Early in my career, I was faced with a tough issue that required confrontation. Instead of dealing head-on with the other parties, I asked my supervisor to get involved. In retrospect, I realize that the issue became much bigger than it needed to be, because I didn't handle it directly.'
CIO profile of Greg Schwartz, USAA

5. Confront problems head-on
"Early in my career, I was faced with a tough issue that required confrontation. Instead of dealing head-on with the other parties, I asked my supervisor to get involved. In retrospect, I realize that the issue became much bigger than it needed to be, because I didn't handle it directly."

CIO profile of Greg Schwartz, USAA

5 of 13
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William Terdoslavich
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William Terdoslavich,
User Rank: Author
11/24/2013 | 7:27:08 PM
Re: Which is big mistake: Saying yes often or not saying no?
"Knowing when to say yes" conflicts with dependability. Can a CIO who says "no" expect to keep his job for long? A wise CEO will listen to the CIO explain why "yes" is not possible. Most CEOs, however, are average and would rather hear an unconditional "yes". The company loses nothing if IT has to work over the weekend, making good on a foolish answer.
J_Brandt
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J_Brandt,
User Rank: Ninja
11/24/2013 | 4:44:06 PM
Re: Beyond the Tech
Hopefully here is an aspect of learning from others mistakes and thus avoiding making them yourself.
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
11/19/2013 | 8:01:05 PM
Which is big mistake: Saying yes often or not saying no?
In the business world, we all try to build confidence in what we can do by saying yes when presented with a challenge. We say yes, yes and yes again. Wisdom is in knowing when saying yes will build confidence versus when saying yes will destroy the confidence already built because the task can't get done.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
11/19/2013 | 7:44:41 PM
Just say no
"Be realaistic about what you can deliver" is a great one that everyone can relate to. Many people don't pace themselves and take on more than they can handle, particularly when they're new at a job. But you learn, as Mr. Melvin did, that everyone suffers when teams stretch themselves too thin. Know when to say when.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Author
11/19/2013 | 5:42:47 PM
Re: Great Advice
Item #3 is really a tough one that usually takes quite a few years with some mistakes along the way to get right: having realistic expectations about what you can deliver. 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
11/19/2013 | 2:53:52 PM
Re: Great Advice
I think a good one here is "know what gives you energy." You can go through the motions of work every day, but unless you love what you do, you're not doing your best work.
OtherJimDonahue
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OtherJimDonahue,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/19/2013 | 1:28:38 PM
Learn from mistakes
I've edited these CIO Profiles for IW for many years. And I have to say, how CIOs answered that question seemed to give the most insight into their work philosphies.

And those who refused to answer that question were quite revealing in skipping it!
William Terdoslavich
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William Terdoslavich,
User Rank: Author
11/19/2013 | 12:55:32 PM
Re: Beyond the Tech
Success is specific, but failure is usually dismissed as a generality. The sum of these lessons is that failure is generic, probably par for the course. While these 13 CIOs emerged chastened and wiser, one can't help but wonder how many executives are making the same mistakes right now. 

Good judgment comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgment. 
J_Brandt
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J_Brandt,
User Rank: Ninja
11/19/2013 | 11:55:24 AM
Beyond the Tech
Good reading.  I love the "Don't chase tech."  CIOs, especially those from the technical side of things have to realize that the CIO has to keep in balance the big three - people, process and technology – the last and least of which is usually the technology.
virsingh211
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virsingh211,
User Rank: Strategist
11/19/2013 | 10:43:09 AM
Re: tricky one
Most of the CIO come from technical background so, which makes them analyze alltogether with tech view, one thing which makes me confused is on what parameters CIO structures IT deptt,
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