by Gary Beach

CIOs Should Share Their Experiences

Jun 15, 20012 mins
IT Leadership

YOU DO NOT OFTEN READ about electronic passive resistors in the pages of CIO magazine. And I intend not to break that time-honored tradition with this column.

But I do want to tell you about a man who has built his life and reputation in the electronic passive resistor business. It is an inspiring story of personal will and determination that puts our temporary economic funk in its rightful perspective.

His name is Felix Zandman. He is chairman and chief executive officer of Vishay Intertechnology, a manufacturer of passive electronic components in Malvern, Pa.

I had the opportunity to meet Zandman when he received the Electronics Industries Alliance ( Medal of Honor, which recognizes the contributions he has made to the electronics industry.

Though Zandman’s professional list of accomplishments are impressive, his personal story of survival as a Jewish teenager in Poland during World War II?and the words of wisdom he shared in his acceptance speech?impressed me more.

If Zandman were writing this column, he would identify for CIOs “five principles as the foundation of business success: leadership, motivation, expertise, discipline and?most important of all?’clean hands,’ meaning integrity and honesty.”

Well said. But in a business world where we strive for measurable gains in revenues, productivity, market share and personal compensation, Zandman’s closing piece of advice in his acceptance speech was the most important element in my opinion, and I want to share it with you.

Acknowledging the Catholic family that sheltered him, his uncle and several others in a 5-by-5-by-4-foot hole for 17 months during the Nazi occupation, Zandman summed up for the EIA audience the essence of business and personal life: “All that you have is what you share because it’s yours even after you die.”

CIOs, with staffs of thousands and customer and partner bases numbering in the tens of thousands, are in a unique position to share their experiences of how they reached their lofty perches. That includes experiences you have shared with peers and partners, such as tips and techniques of leadership, motivation, expertise, discipline and integrity.

These are the experiences that, when shared with staff, colleagues, partners and customers, will contribute to your business and personal bottom line long after you retire.