I know a lot of CIOs who detest the phrase \u201cIT and the business,\u201d implying as it does that IT is a thing apart, a foreign particle in the company body. As someone who believes in the power of language, I\u2019m with them. I cringe to think how often we fall victim to that polarizing phrase in the pages of CIO.\n \n Yet however much we wish business people would see their IT colleagues as equal partners and peers, we know they generally don\u2019t. Far too many companies feel about IT the way Red Robin Gourmet Burgers once did. When CIO Chris Laping joined the restaurant chain four years ago, \u201cNo one would talk to IT unless their mouse wasn\u2019t working.\u201d\n \n Like the other CIOs profiled in our cover story (\u201cHow CIOs Build Bridges With Other C-Level Execs\u201d), Laping turned around IT\u2019s reputation and gradually improved the working relationships and trust levels with the rest of the business. IT projects got measured with business metrics instead of technical ones. Creating better customer experiences became more important to IT staffers than creating new systems. The distinction between IT and the business started to blur. \n \n \u201cMy current and ultimate goal is that there is absolutely no distinction between IT and the business,\u201d says CIO Leslie Jones of Motorola Solutions. \u201cWe\u2019re in the business; our field just happens to be IT.\u201d\n \n As you read through the story, you\u2019ll notice that no rocket science was necessary, though everyone had complex problems to solve before the IT-business relationship turned a corner. Even if the IT group sees itself as a strategic player, \u201cthe proof is ultimately whether the rest of the company feels the same way,\u201d notes writer Diane Frank, editorial manager for our CIO Executive Council. \n \n The experiences of the CIOs profiled\u2014including those of Toyota Motor Sales, Hilton Worldwide, Red Robin, First Data and Motorola Solutions\u2014also demonstrate some timeless truths about leadership: Take the time to build trust and credibility. Communicate at any and every opportunity. Manage and nurture relationships across the company.\n \n \u201cIn my world, the way you build trust is by making promises and \u00adkeeping promises\u2014repeatedly\u2014and then there\u2019s the opportunity to build a deeper relationship,\u201d says CIO Robert Webb of Hilton. \n \n That advice certainly applies to any company. How is it working in yours?\n Maryfran Johnson is the editor in chief of CIO Magazine & Events. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.