9 Reasons Why Application Developers Think Their CIO Is Clueless

From being a control freak to being a vendor puppet, here are nine behaviors management needs to steer clear of or risk being labeled "clueless."

By Mike Gualtieri
Tue, July 01, 2008

CIO — As CIO you hold one of the most important executive positions in your company. And, to lead successfully, you must earn the respect of both the business and your information technology organization. But earning the respect of application development professionals is no easy task: The CIO position has been a revolving door as of late and many application development professionals have become cynical. Go figure.

How Not to Be Clueless

"My CIO is clueless." These are words you don't want to hear if you want to earn the respect of your application development professionals. (To see what CIOs think about their developers "who don't get it," read "8 Reasons Why CIOs Think Their Application Developers Are Clueless.")

So how do you avoid being a clueless CIO? Steer clear of these behaviors:

1. The CIO is a control nut.
If you want to be a Controller then get a job in the accounting department. Okay, so maybe you are not a certifiable control nut. Maybe it is just a strategy you are employing because your direct reports can't get the job done. If this is the case, then control is not the solution. Have the courage to replace those managers that aren't strong. Control won't work in the long run anyway.

2. The CIO is aloof.
Stop thinking about your golf game. You may have a great team—strong individual managers and team chemistry—but your leadership is still necessary to keep things on course (not the golf course). Besides, no matter how much you practice, your golf game will still be mediocre, but you can be at the top of your game as CIO if you work at it.

3. The CIO gulps vendor Kool-Aid.
Did you know that there are more than 34,750 registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C., for just 435 representatives and 100 senators? That's 64 lobbyists for each congressperson. I wonder how many vendor account managers there are per CIO. You are smart enough to know that vendors are trying to sell you and you won't be fooled wholesale. Yeah right. Their influence can eat away at you without you even realizing it. Be even more skeptical than you are now. Just say no.

4. The CIO is a technical dinosaur.
Unless you are running for president of the United States, experience does matter. Technology has changed since you were writing RPG on the mainframe umpteen years ago. And for you younger guys who made your bones writing VB or Java Web apps, make sure you know why there is so much buzz about Ruby on Rails and multicore programming. Your ability to talk tech will go a long way to earning the respect of application development professionals.

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