by CIO Staff

Senior Executives and Management Don’t See Eye-to-Eye on Corporate Priorities

Jan 17, 20073 mins
Business IT Alignment

By Chuck Martin

Even if we don’t make resolutions for a new year, we usually have some thoughts about what we wish would happen in the coming 12 months. The overall desires of both senior executives and managers are for improvements in efficiency, communication and compensation, based on a global survey by NFI Research.

However, the top 10 areas of desired improvement are different for the two management levels.

Senior executives, with titles such as chief executive officer, president and chief financial officer, see the top 10 areas in which they would want improvements as (in order):

  1. efficiency
  2. communication
  3. work-life balance
  4. resources
  5. budget
  6. compensation
  7. meetings (number, length)
  8. office politics
  9. technology they use
  10. e-mail

Managers, with titles such as director, assistant vice president, director and manager, view the top 10 areas they wish would be improved as:

  1. compensation
  2. communication
  3. efficiency
  4. work-life balance
  5. budget
  6. office politics
  7. resources
  8. number of hours worked
  9. technology they use
  10. interruptions

So, while the top area in which senior executives wish for improvement for the next year is efficiency, the leading wish for managers is improved compensation.

Both management levels see eye-to-eye on wishing for better communication and work-life balance. “My wish, which is partially under my control, is to continue to push for more balance between work, family and personal needs,” said one survey respondent.

There are some other interesting differences between what executives would like to see improved versus managers. For example, only five percent of senior executives wish for improvements in internal demands as opposed to almost a quarter of managers.

While office setting improvements are sought by only three percent of senior executives, more than 10 percent of managers wish for them.

And compensation improvements over the next year are wished for by 28 percent of executives but by 59 percent of managers. While 22 percent of executives wish for improvements in the number of hours worked, 32 percent of managers do. More managers than executives would like improvements in interruptions while more executives than managers would like improvements in e-mail.

No matter the job position, it is obvious that many are working hard and attempting to do more with less. “My job is to lead global improvement projects,” said one survey respondent. “Everyone is willing and eager to participate, but they are running so lean that no one has time for such projects.”

Said another: “Managing an information technology department provides a unique view of an organization. We are a resource every department utilizes, yet each department only sees its requests and ignores the opportunity cost. The lack of concern over inappropriate use of a limited resource by [not] qualifying the importance of a request adds a significant resource load on our department.”

No matter which wish for improvement is sought for the next year, if each executive and manager makes a contribution to just one, some of those wishes could turn to reality.

Chuck Martin is the author of best-selling business books, including Tough Management, Coffee at Luna’s and the just-published SMARTS (Are We Hardwired for Success?) (AMACOM/American Management Association). He lectures around the world and can be reached at