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Are We Too Smart For Our Own Good? Mon 26 Nov 07

Thinking_i_think_stenbough_2 There are a lot of smart people in IT.  In fact the stereotype of IT folks are the smart guys and gals that are good a computers, math and science but are horrible at social skills.  There is some truth, I believe, in this stereotype although the stereotype is greatly over exaggerated.  It isn't that IT people don't have social skill it is just that they often choose not to use them since after all the power of their logic and the strength of their reasoning and knowledge is more than sufficient isn't it?

A recent post by Penelope Trunk at the Brazen Careerist blog entitled "Stop thinking you'll get by on your high I.Q." would suggest otherwise.  She laments that we seem to value high IQ over social skills as if high IQ was all that mattered.  In reality it is a balance between the two.  But because we in IT are so comfortable with the technical side we tend to forget the people side.  We have to remember that success is just as dependent on the social aspects at it is the technical on ones - the old people, process and technology cliche.

As Trunk points out based on an article from the College Journal, recruiters of B-school graduates look for 5 traits:

  1. Communication and interpersonal skills

  2. Original and visionary thinking

  3. Leadership potential

  4. Ability to work well within a team

  5. Analytical and problem-solving skills

Interestingly enough these traits or competencies are very similar to ones that I wrote about in regard to a Russell Reynolds (a large international executive recruiter) analysis of the competencies required for a CIO.

So why are these so important?

Continue reading "Are We Too Smart For Our Own Good?" »

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Thanksgiving 2.0 Thu 22 Nov 07

Thanksgiving20_mringlein_2 Today is Thanksgiving day here in the U.S.  It is a day we stuff ourselves with turkey, spend time with friends and family, watch football and fall asleep on the couch.  It is most importantly a day we take pause to think about how fortunate we are and to give thanks for what we have received.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to say thanks to all of the readers and commenters of my blog.  I truly appreciate your support, friendship and especially your participation.

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Thanksgiving 2.0" by mringlein

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CIOs and Business Experience, the Career Impact Mon 19 Nov 07

Computing_awesomeness_viscousplatypI recently did a 2 part post (Part 1, Part 2) talking about CIOs and their perception of their understanding of business.  In a bit of serendipitous timing I just ran across and article, "Salary Report: IT Execs With Business Experience on the Rise"  by Linda Tucci at SearchCIO.com.  It would seem that there is some strong evidence that career success lies beyond just being technology oriented.

The article notes, "The numbers reinforce mounting anecdotal evidence, as well as industry data, indicating that an increasing number of CIOs are gaining business experience, encouraging their employees to get business experience and training business employees in IT. "  While this is an interesting and probably not a  surprising trend it begs the question - how does having business experience affect my career?

Fortunately, Tucci provides some insight to this question.  The first is a comment by Gartner (an IT research and advisory firm) analyst Ellen Kitzis who "finds a correlation between a strong business and IT connection and company performance. Among companies where the CIO does not play a strategic role, 26% are less likely to achieve their financial objectives or open new markets, according to the Gartner research."  Well if IT is now being recognized as contributing to the company's growth and performance we would logically expect to be compensated accordingly, right?

Continue reading "CIOs and Business Experience, the Career Impact" »

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An IT Question: What Has Disaster Taught You? Mon 12 Nov 07

Help_cobber99_3Experience, it is said, is the best teacher.  Oh so true.  I guess that is why we do disaster recovery tests rather than just waiting until disaster really strikes.  This got me thinking - what is the most surprising thing you learned as a result of an actual disaster recovery or even a test?

Mine was that people expect your disaster recovery process to cover everything.  In one of my previous jobs we had a major fire at the corporate office and it was necessary to relocate people to the plant about one hundred miles away.  From an IT standpoint we were able to keep things running and or data loss.  What surprised me was that when people came to the plant they expected IT to provide them with a PC, which we did, but a PC complete with office, furniture, office supplies and administrative assistants.  Apparently when people fail to plan for disasters they look to those that have a plan as their rescuers for everything.

So, what is the most surprising thing you learned as a result of an actual disaster recovery or even a test?

[Update 10/12/2007 afternoon - corrected typos including "did not suffer any systems downtime" and "they look to those that have a plan"]

"Help" photo by Cobber99

Got a question you'd like me to post for future discussion?  Email it to me using the "Email Mike" link in the left hand column.

If this topic was of interest, you might also like the other posts in the IT Question category.

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Do CIOs Know (Their) Business? [Part 2] Mon 05 Nov 07

Doing_accounts_septuagesimaIn my last post we started the discussion of CIO's business knowledge.  An Accenture study had indicated a big disparity between the CIO's understanding of the business and general manager's perception of the CIO's understanding.

"While 73 percent of IT executives said they believe they understand their company’s business extremely or very well, only 43 percent of general business managers said they believe that IT executives have that level of understanding of the company’s business."

We discussed 2 questions.  The first is how well do CIOs understand business generically.  To help assess this I listed 10 question as a simple test of business knowledge.  The second question is more specific -- how well do CIOs understand their business.  As promised I've this post included 10 question to address this more specific question.

The same caveats apply The quiz is of course, capricious, subjective and arbitrary.  However, since you pick your own scoring method how well you do is up to you.

So on to the questions.

Continue reading "Do CIOs Know (Their) Business? [Part 2]" »

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