CIO Straight Talk - Issue 9 - 64
Straight Talk regularly asks successful IT leaders to share their
experience-based insights on an array of technology, business,
and professional issues. (The series of video interviews, entitled
"5 Questions for...", can be viewed at www.straighttalkonline.com.)
We asked 7 executives what advice they'd give an aspiring IT
leader on how to build a successful career.
Chief Digital Officer
Volvo Ocean Race
Vice President of IT Strategy
and PMO Services
American Education Services
Vice President - Services
(formerly CIO and SVP, Dean Foods)
Go out and get great talent. And never
be the smartest person in the room.
Never underestimate your people's
ability to exceed your expectations.
Sometime as leaders, we set
expectations and we basically put a lid
on that talent. But our role is not to do
that. Our role is to expose that talent and
enable it to go far beyond what even
that talent thought it was capable of.
(formerly Vice President of IT Operations
and Infrastructure, Stewart Title)
My advice would be to align with
the business, understand the business
that you're supporting, have great people
that work for you, have fantastic people
that you partner with. And have fun at it.
You'll be fine.
Chief Operating Officer
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Come in fully knowing that whatever role
you're joining in as is going to be very
different a few years down the road. Do
not expect it to be the same. It's going
to be a more demanding and challenging
Senior Vice President
Vestas Wind Systems
Be humble and always be listening.
Don't take for granted that everything is
set and will be the way you have learned.
Just continue looking. The evolution of
the market is very fast. You know things
are changing with your business model,
so just keep learning all the way.
Be out there and do some of the fun stuff.
By the end of the day, there will be a lot
of challenges. But there should also be a
fun element in facing these challenges [in
order] to feel motivated every day.
Executive Vice President and
Head of Technology
SGX (Singapore Exchange
Senior Director of IT
Talk to peers at other
companies. "What are you
doing? What can I leverage?
Have you solved a problem that I'm
struggling with?" Why do you need to reinvent
something if you already have a solution that
you can put in place? Talk to others and see
what they've done to deal with the same
issues that you might be struggling with.
Managing costs while being
at the leading edge of technology
is really important. [But] making the right
call to align with the business is really
what the IT leader needs to do.
General Manager for IS
Be a bit selfish, and squeeze the
opportunities you get. If you're
someone who's starting a career not
having had opportunity to be in a
graduate program, where mentors make
you learn the skill sets, sometimes it will
take maybe five to ten years to get the
needed experience in so many