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Political Skills Required

CIOs may not get elected, but they must make use of political strategies to implement change

1 Min Read

Establishing a good dialogue with managers and executives isn't only vital when it comes to finding common ground for project expectations, predicted results, and business goals but also for more practical political reasons. "I'm accountable to all of them," Szygenda says. "They all do appraisals of me in their minds."

Handholding is invaluable when things get rough. Szygenda makes the point that if an issue involving a manufacturing systems project arises, he'll spend a few days on the floor with the manufacturing executive. "Even if I don't deliver to him, he'll still support me," Szygenda says.

For some CIOs, the best political tool they have is the same one they probably use outside the workplace: honesty. "If you tell everyone the truth--whether they want to hear it or not--you don't have to remember what you told different people," says Maynard Wiff, VP of IT at Dover Corp., a maker of industrial products. "There shouldn't be different stories for different people in order to manipulate their behavior." That's good advice for any politician.

Photos by Sacha Lecca

About the Author(s)

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Senior Writer, InformationWeek

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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