All projects, however, do not go wrong and neither are all situations so bad. The very reason for our great going is that we all have several successful projects to our credit and we are confident of achieving many more goals. We talk of our success stories in various forums and willingly oblige magazines when they want to publish our case studies. It is easy to corner all the credit to ourselves and claim that we succeeded in spite of several roadblocks, but will we be honest in saying that no one helped us in the entire show? In case we have not adequately recognized and acknowledged the contributions made by various wings of the organization, it can be regarded as our weakness The management does its bit to approve and sanction funds for our projects; and unless the end users make use of the systems we develop, how can we ever hope to meet the objectives? We, therefore, are never alone and we have to recognize the contribution of others in our endeavors.
It will only be fair on our part to acknowledge the support that we receive from various quarters. This way, on one hand, we can complete the loop and, on the other, encourage them to lend their support for all our future projects. It is normal for people to resist change in the initial stages but we have learnt to get over this part through our experiences. If users willingly accept the technological changes on their own, it will be proper on our part to give them the credit for doing so.
There are various ways in which we can acknowledge their support, let me write down a few:
- Once we get approval for our budget or project, we can write a note to the Board/ CEO/ others, thanking them for the approval and assuring them of our full efforts to make the project(s) successful.
- It is a good practice to send periodic reports to the management giving them an update on important projects so that they feel reassured on the projects/ budgets sanctioned by them.
- On successful completion of projects, send a ‘thank you’ note to the concerned business/ functional heads.
- Let them light a lamp or cut the ribbon whenever we kick-off or launch a project, and ask them to deliver a short address.
- If they have done a good job, cite them as examples/ reference to the rest of the organization.
- Formally thank them for their role once the project has been successfully completed.
- Take them out for a dinner or an event as recognition of their contribution and support.
- Involve them during the design of the processes, drawing a road map etc. to give them a feeling of participation.
These are some of the measures that came to my mind and I am sure you would have many more brilliant ideas. The point of emphasis is that we need the support of various stakeholders for the success of our ventures and we should get them on our side through a genuine sense of understanding and appreciation of their views and feelings.]]>
The job of a CIO is a tough one. He has to do quite a bit of jugglery trying to balance various demands that are made on him. He has to engage with the CEO and the board members to understand their visions and aspirations, has to deal with various functional heads to try and resolve cross-functional issues, has to face the music when end-users are in their elements demanding more features and reports, has to handle some errant IT staff and also the technology vendors, who, at times, may play the truant. There are days when he feels happy, having achieved some goals, but bemoans his fortune when he gets caught up with issues that seem never-ending.
Besieged by difficult situations, the CIO often looks lost and forlorn. He feels like hitting back at his detractors; he wishes to argue out points, to rebut objections raised by cynical users, or to escalate matters that he thinks needs attention of higher ups.
He however stops in his tracks fearing a conflict and the possibility of annoying some important functionary in the organization. He is wary of losing whatever cooperation he receives from the users and therefore settles for a compromise. He withdraws from his aggressive intentions and accepts whatever the situation provides him with. He feels sad and powerless and wishes someone rescues him from that situation.
He says that if it was not for the fear of losing his job, he would have been bolder and would have taken a few tough measures to deal with the situation. He may then seek another job but may land up in a similar situation and may rue his luck again. But is that feel of insecurity a valid predicament or is it a perception of danger that the CIO lives with?
Possible measures to overcome this situation
There is, of course, no magic wand that can make the management and the end-users kneel before you or to listen to you without raising an eyebrow. So this is a battle that has to be faced head-on to win. We sometimes lose the battle even before it begins. By cultivating fears, we give up our efforts at resolution right in the beginning and do not even try to put up our views strongly.
It is good to be adventurous. I remember the situations when I feared the most but when I took up the case with a functional head, I was surprised to see a favorable reaction and it happened because he saw some sense in what I proposed. I have not known anyone losing his job for trying something good for the organization; so why harbor unknown fears? What if we attempt and fail – well, understand that the measure has not worked and seek another way out.
A CIO should clearly steer clear of political moves and alignments within the organization and take strength from his professional acumen. Seeking favors from the CEO or an influential senior may give some quick wins but may land him in trouble later with changing political alignments.
A CIO, like other managers, has to be employable at all times. He should therefore equip himself with contemporary knowledge and skills so that he stays effective and may also periodically assess himself in the job market to understand whether he is still relevant in the professional world. That is not to suggest that he can try a quick jump if he is not happy. It is only to give him a reassurance that he is a wanted professional and therefore does not have to live with the fear of losing his job.]]>