IT Leadership // Team Building & Staffing
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Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: A 10-Point Plan For Success In 2009

Pat the CIO offers his pointed plan to achieve better ways of operating, calling it a comprehensive plan that needs support to succeed.

This is Pat the CIO's response to a performance review letter from his CEO which contained a "you're fired" threat.

Jim: Three weeks ago I received your year-in-review letter outlining your views of my performance for 2008, in which you expressed doubts about my suitability as CIO. While I don't agree with some of your conclusions, I'm grateful for the candid opinions and for the opportunity to present my plans for what we need to do in 2009. As requested, this letter summarizes the approaches I'd like to take, and sets the stage for the formal presentation I'll be making to you next week.

Your letter stated specifically that you "don't want us to waste our valuable time rehashing any excuses" I might have, so you won't find any excuses in this outline. But you will find pointed requests that are essential to meeting the needs of this great company and to fulfilling the objectives you've laid out before me. And while all of the 10 steps I've outlined below weave together into a comprehensive plan, each one by itself is crucial to the overall outcome -- they are all interrelated. So here they are.

1. You need to clarify my role vis-à-vis the CFO. Susan's a terrific financial and administrative manager but her overly aggressive meddling in contracts, risk-management, compensation, and facilities is killing us. From her perspective, I'm sure she's doing exactly what you've asked. The problem is that from my perspective, the governance structure we have in place makes it impossible for each of us to do what we need to do without butting heads constantly. As a result, we are spending too much time on internal squabbling and not enough time on customers and new products. Here are two specific examples:

  • I worked with HR for 2 months to develop year-long incentive plans for my teams to greatly accelerate server-consolidation and offshoring plans, because both of those efforts would allow us to move millions of dollars out of maintenance and into savings or innovation. Both times, Susan killed the plans, saying that the company's not in a position where it can offer incentives to such a large number of nonexecutive employees. She said that since HR reports to her, this decision is final.

  • Your letter mentioned my 2008 success in data-center consolidation, but we could have had even more success if Susan hadn't stonewalled my attempts to remove outdated communications, networking, and security systems in more than 30 branches and go with new IP systems that are 70% less expensive. She said this was an issue for her Facilities team to deal with, and that they don't have the time to work with my team to make these strategic changes.
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