Our annual \u201cState of the CIO\u201d analysis is\n underway and already we\u2019re uncovering surprising trends\n in how CIOs work, strategize and view themselves in the\n corporate landscape. We surveyed hundreds of IT leaders about\n expectations for themselves and for their peers regarding\n technical and managerial issues. We\u2019ll publish our full\n analysis on Dec. 15, but between now and then we\u2019ll bring\n you excerpts of the data and of our conversations with CIOs\n wrestling with tough issues.\n MORE ON CIO.com\n \n 2008 State of the CIO: Salaries, Influence Rise\n \n 2007 State of the CIO coverage\n \n 2006 State of the\n CIO coverage\n One theme emerging this year is how CIOs instigate and\n manage change\u2014sometimes unwelcome change. Is there a more\n delicate issue in today\u2019s IT world? Our survey finds that\n 63 percent of CIOs are leading and effecting organizational\n change. Fifty-one percent are engaged in transforming their IT\n groups, and therefore how business units get their work done,\n plus another 12 percent of CIOs are focused mainly on using technology\n to differentiate their companies from their rivals. It all adds\n up to change management.And is there a CIO more famous for shaking things up than\n Mitchell Habib? Habib\u2019s deep experience leading IT groups\n through change has earned him both loyalists and\n detractors.Mitchell HabibThe 46-year-old executive is known among executive\n recruiters and colleagues as a turnaround CIO who helps\n companies blaze through major organizational transformation.\n Others resent Habib\u2019s quick moves to make aggressive\n changes and outsource IT work. They think he\u2019s a hatchet\n man. They\u2019ve told us so in posts on CIO.com\u2019s Movers & Shakers blog. Critics have outlined grievances at other blogs, too.After two-and-a-half years at Citigroup and seven years at\n several General Electric business units before that, Habib\n joined The Nielsen Company in March as executive vice president\n of global business services. It\u2019s a new position at\n Nielsen that combines operations and IT, and in it, he\u2019s\n overseeing major reconstruction of how Nielsen manages\n technology. He\u2019s introducing new software platforms and\n outsourcing, and in the process is changing the work lives of\n over 4,500 technologists worldwide.Habib says he\u2019s aware of what Movers & Shakers\n readers have written about him and he cites the blog as one\n reason he started his own inside Nielsen\u2014to help clear\n the air. (That blog is not public.)Recently, Habib talked with Senior Editor Kim S. Nash about\n his style, his reputation and his approach to changing IT at\n Nielsen. The conversation reveals Habib as a thick-skinned\n executive focused on getting the job done.CIO: Change is hard on people, isn\u2019t\n it?Habib: I don\u2019t see it as hard. Logic\n is an amazingly powerful tool. Nielsen\u2019s corporate values\n are openness and simplicity. When we expose to people the\n complexity of what [processes and systems] exist and present\n the opportunity to eliminate that, resistance melts away.CIO: How do you gauge when people have reached their\n limit for change?Habib: We think change is constant.\n We\u2019re never going to say change is over. If you\u2019re\n not continuing to innovate, either your competition is or\n you\u2019re in trouble. We do a lot of communicating.\n It\u2019s listening and understanding and responding. We put\n out videos in seven languages [for Nielsen employees\n worldwide]. The video conveys key decisions we\u2019ve made,\n and why, the impacts to individuals who are listening to the\n message, and then what\u2019s coming.Then we have a website: Mitchell\u2019s Corner. I\u2019m\n writing a blog. Every two weeks, I post and people post\n responses. It\u2019s a dialog. There\u2019s an \u201cAsk\n Mitchell\u201d button to submit questions and I respond to\n every single question.I also hold roundtables where we bring in 15 to 20 people\n and serve lunch. There are no rules. Ask whatever questions you\n want, and we will, too.The final thing we do is monthly. We do two calls that are\n repeated four times because of time zones. One call is for\n people managers\u2014about an hour. We do about 15 minutes of\n material and then have a very active Q&A session. I give a\n $75 gift card when someone asks a tough question to demonstrate\n that our culture is truly open and that we appreciate an\n individual\u2019s courage.Then we do the same thing for the full population, in\n another call the next day. Again, we repeat that four times and\n it\u2019s about 90 minutes. Just one question after another.\n Some are great. Some are tough. Some are personal.CIO: What\u2019s one $75 question you got\n recently?Habib: Someone commented that it\u2019s me\n and people like me who are ruining the country because\n we\u2019re leveraging global talent. I said, \u201cThank you\n for asking. Here\u2019s $75.\u201d Then I said,\n \u201cI\u2019m a capitalist. We all are. Efficient companies\n get rewarded and inefficient [companies] get punished. Because\n we are competing against companies that leverage global talent,\n we would be at a significant disadvantage [if we didn\u2019t\n outsource].\u201d I was able to share stories about how work\n has moved in Nielsen for 50 years around the U.S., then outside\n the U.S. There\u2019s no retribution for tough questions.CIO: As I\u2019m sure you know, a lot of CIOs known as\n turnaround or transformational CIOs have to manage\n people\u2019s emotions and mindsets from the moment they\n arrive as the new CIO. Reputations precede them. How difficult\n does that make the job going in?Habib: On day one, I do a new managers\n assimilation of all my direct reports, facilitated by a third\n party not known to me. I go in and say, \u201cThis is your\n opportunity to put it all on the table and ask any\n questions.\u201d Then I leave. For two or four hours, they\n write questions and essays. I come back. Questions are not\n attributed. I go question by question.I also have a fairly effective on-boarding ritual, which\n lasts 30 days or 45 days. I say, \u201cYou guys were\n successful without me yesterday. Continue. Let\u2019s say\n I\u2019m not in charge for these [30 or 45] days. I\u2019m\n going to listen and learn. I\u2019m going to meet you\u2014my\n colleagues and our customers\u2014and understand.\u201d Then\n I talk to my boss and put a plan in front of him. Then we flip\n from learning mode to execution mode.CIO: Sounds like you have refined this plan as\n you\u2019ve gone along in your career.Habib: Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of\n War: If you\u2019re not going to refine your plan,\n you\u2019re going to make mistakes.