5 unpopular decisions every IT leader must make

Having to make difficult decisions may be the most challenging part of a CIO’s job. But from an organizational and career perspective, tough choices can be the most rewarding.

5 unpopular decisions every IT leader must make
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Mike Anderson spent a lot of time this spring having difficult conversations about Salesforce.

“Salesforce was functionally owned by sales operations,” explains the CIO and chief digital officer of cloud security provider Netskope. “And people had no governance around the system. You add a field here, add a field there — salespeople love it when you can add more fields in a system like that.”

That was fine for a while. But in February, Anderson and his team discovered there were 499 fields in the Salesforce Opportunity object. The maximum number is 500.

Anderson knew he had to take action, and that whatever he chose to do would likely be unwelcome news for his business colleagues. It was one of the many times when a CIO has to make an unpopular decision for the good of the company, to preserve security, get the greatest business benefit from available IT resources, or — as in this case — ensure that essential systems keep working.

Tough decisions may be the most hazardous part of a CIO’s job, but handled well, they need not derail your career. In fact, your ability to make difficult decisions will likely define it.

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