The job of a CIO is not an easy one. While on one hand he is expected to be proactive in addressing business challenges with technology, on the other, he is supposed to keep the lights on, ensuring that the IT infrastructure is available at all times. He is on his toes trying to meet deadlines on projects, is drawn in to discussions, arguments and brawls with users, is involved managing various vendors, and is busy ensuring that all elements of the IT infrastructure work in an uninterrupted fashion. He sometimes looks dazed at the end of the day.
All of this saps his energy. If he is resigned to his fate and carries on with complaints, he faces the danger of stagnation. If he wants to grow and rise up in his profession, he will have to break free and find a way out of this daily rigmarole. This is however easier said than done.
1. Take a break
He is to come out of this monotony, take himself away from the clutter and give some time to himself — time to be quiet, to think and relax, without the constant interference of TV, telephone, and the Internet. He will find that he comes back clear-headed and refreshed, and his work time will be more efficient and productive. He can take off and go for an adventure which brings back joy and the challenge in him.
He can take the entire staff on a development break — let us say a team building exercise which has adventure, role play and pep talk by motivators. Being together but away from the workplace, increases bonding amongst the team members and infuses new ideas into the group.
It is the responsibility of each individual to effect the change necessary to reinvent work so that it has personal relevance. Companies want that employees take responsibility for their own careers. To accomplish successful career transitions within an existing organization or a new organization requires personal motivation. Successful transition can be achieved by a willingness to learn and by possessing a positive attitude. He has to work on himself to add new skills and to expand his horizon of thought and action. To do that he can work on various ways to renew himself:
A good way to attain knowledge is to read chosen books on management, self-development or on technology. He has to ride over excuses of time availability or of not being in mood. I have often set aside one hour before dinner for reading and then it turns into a habit which lets me finish the book soon.
4. Attending development programs / workshops
I have sometimes seen CIOs shying away from developmental programs arranged by their HR departments. Sessions on leadership, negotiation skills, motivation, or managerial skills can often act as change agents and instill renewed enthusiasm into the individual.
5. Requisition for professional short term courses
Many event management firms and management institutions hold short- or medium-term executive development programs. These may be on management subjects, technology, or personnel development but are very useful. Personally, I have benefited from them and was fortunate to get opportunity to apply the learning in my workplace.
6. Attend seminars
Various technology seminars held from time to time present an opportunity to keep you abreast of the new developments and the changing landscape.
7. Join courses like MBA, MS, etc.
There’s nothing like adding new capability. Of late, I have seen many from the lower- or the middle-management levels taking a shot at new degrees either on full-time or part-time bases. They come out stronger and are ready to take a leap.
Blessed are those who keep reinventing themselves and are ready to grace new pastures. No one knows one’s limits and therefore it makes sense to test our worth and stretch ourselves to the extent that we can.