Learning from your previous (and current!) job

As a person who has worked as a CIO for a large international organisation, I will use the CIO’s role as an example and take a few issues that I have faced, some mistakes that I have committed and some successes that I have had and talk about what I have learned from these experiences.


I hope that this can serve as a starting point of a discussion on the general issues of learning from mistakes and successes.

The following are the list of items that I propose to take up for discussion over the next few posts.

1. Friendship and work relationship should be kept separate – you may need to make uncomfortable staffing calls

2. Do not lose sight of the ball

3. Listen to your users – if they voice any concern the problem is bigger than you think

4. Small deliverables matter – sometimes even more than one large deliverable

5. Always have user visible deliverables

6. Make sure that you have the money and time to back up your boast – be realistic

7. Be technologically competent and aware – make sure you can discuss with users and present alternatives to them – a dumb CIO is a dead CIO

8. Stakeholder, stakeholder, stakeholder – always keep them in the loop

9. Handle issues directly and immediately

10. Use your own judgement – but seek inputs from all

11. Technologies change – you can’t always have the latest

12. Always put the business first – users first – no IT arrogance. Implement features that the users want, not what you fancy

13. Communicate your success stories, communicate enthusiastically

14. Accountability (and governance) – keep this in mind

In the next post we look at one very important lesson that I have learned as a manager: Friendship and work relationship should be kept separate; you may need to make uncomfortable staffing calls.

What do you think?

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