What does IT have in common with the reality television\n game show Survivor, which tests contestants' survival\n skills in remote locations as they compete for the grand\n prize?For Yau-Man Chan, quite a lot. Both call on his defining\n traits of kindness and intelligence.Here's one illustrative scene. Last year on a deserted\n island in the South Pacific, burly men tried to open a wooden\n crate filled with supplies. Their muscles were flexed for\n cameras filming the first episode of Survivor: Fiji,\n but their attempts were in vain.Then, a slim Asian man with glasses picked up the crate and\n smashed its corner against a rock. The crate broke into pieces.\n \u201cThe corner is a rectangle's weakest point,\u201d says\n Chan.Yau-Man Chan, "Survivor" contestant and CTO. Photo\n courtesy of CBS Television."Muscle for muscle, I know I cannot compete with them, so I\n have to use every resource to advance things to the next\n level," says Chan, who holds a physics degree from MIT. \n Intelligence and resourcefulness, particularly as an underdog,\n were two of Chan's best tools during Survivor:\n Fiji\u2014and at his full-time job as CTO of the College\n of Chemistry at the University of California Berkeley. Chan bolsters his smarts with kindness. In Survivor:\n Fiji, Chan, 55, wasn't expected to last long against his\n younger, more athletic rivals. But thirty-nine days after the\n crate bashing, Chan finished the show in fourth place, he also\n became a favorite of millions of techies' and\n reality-television viewers, receiving the highest popularity\n rating on that season's show.Applying 'Survivor' Instincts at Work\nChan's obstacles\n on the job are in some ways similar to his Survivor challenges:\n He must use his intelligence and personality to do well. "Like\n on the show, I have to tread very gently and make sure not to\n offend anyone while convincing them to go along with me," he\n says. \n \n\n At UC Berkeley, Chan's IT team has little authority over the\n researchers: Policy allows them to use whatever technology they\n want; Chan can only pull the plug on technology that poses an\n outright legal or security risk, such as an infected computer.\n What makes the situation more difficult are the rogue IT\n departments: Within a research group, says Chan, there's\n usually a "computer guru"\u2014a chemistry grad student\n "masquerading" as a computer expert\u2014who troubleshoots\n computers, for example, or sets up a rogue wireless hub or\n loads software.More IT leaders are finding themselves in a similar\n predicament as business users take control of technology. Free\n Internet tools such as Google Apps mean business users can use\n technology without IT's knowledge or permission more easily\n than ever. Emboldened by such freedom and finding strength in\n numbers, tech-savvy business users are demanding that IT\n support consumer devices like the iPhone.This can be especially pronounced in a university setting.\n "Researchers have academic freedom," says Chan. As far as they\n are concerned, we're impeding their progress." Yet IT is still\n required to support them and maintain network integrity.All the more reason to create a peaceful, friendly\n environment. Remarking on Chan, Survivor host Jeff\n Probst told the New York Post last year "There are\n just some people who have a way about them\u2014instantly\n charming\u2014that makes you want to pull for them."For instance, rather than clash with researchers who wanted\n to use their own computers to tap into the university's\n network, Chan politely asked that they bring the computers to\n him so that he could create a ghost image on a disk. Many took\n him up on the benign request. When a malicious bot took out the\n computers, Chan was prepared.When researchers called him for help, Chan told them that he\n could restore their infected computers' original applications\n within two hours. Grateful researchers asked why their\n administrators' computers weren't affected, and Chan informed\n them that it was because his staff manages those computers from\n cradle to grave.No longer perceiving IT as a threat, more researchers began\n following his policies. (For more on influencing colleagues and\n staff, also see How to Influence Colleagues and How to Influence People.)Chan doesn't win every battle, of course. He's had issues\n with researchers wanting Vista. And though as a fan favorite he\n was invited back for a second season of television\n (Survivor: Micronesia), he did not last long the\n second time.Still, "He's a smart person who attempts to work with\n everyone, and is very good at solving problems...and is\n generally respected among the faculty and staff alike," says\n Johnathon Kogelman, operations manager of information systems\n at the College of Chemistry. "He is indeed similar to what was\n displayed on the Survivor series." Kogelman has worked\n for Chan for five years.Most days, Chan works inside a cramped office of the old\n Hildebrand Chemistry Library. He's steeped in a network\n backbone upgrade from coaxial to fiber, as well as a build-up\n of a high-intensity computing lab. Technical books line\n yellowed cement walls. Paperwork clutters a desk that takes up\n half the room.But on the far end of the rectangular room hangs a dazzling\n poster of a real-life action figure\u2014it's Yau-Man the\n Survivor, of course, Chan's alter ego.After his stint in Micronesia ended in February, Chan\n received an e-mail from a network engineer. It read: "You make\n us geeks proud."Tom Kaneshige is site editor for InfoWorld.com, a sister publication of\n CIO.