Are you unconsciously behaving in ways that annoy your CIO? Despite your best intentions and hard work, you could be naively unaware of habits and attitudes that are hurting your tech career.
Forgetting Why Your Company Exists
Do you view the IT department as the center of your organization’s universe? Failing to grasp the company’s overarching business model, or what its customers want, can really annoy your chief information officer, said Jay Ferro, CIO for the American Cancer Society.
“We’re not a tech company,” explained Ferro. “We exist to serve volunteers and donors and to support research. Every tech professional wants to do the right thing, but you can’t add value when you’re disconnected from the company’s mission and constituents.”
CIOs need tech pros’ help to bridge the divide between core business operations and the underlying tech infrastructure that helps everything run. Those who don’t recognize both sides of that equation may find themselves unable to think and create in ways that benefit the bigger picture.
“Get a business mentor or talk to people who understand the value chain,” Ferro said. “Become a customer by volunteering and actually using and consuming the technology you create. The onus is on IT to understand what constituents need and why the organization exists.”
Perpetuating a Silo Mentality
Are you still embracing a silo mentality and engaging in turf wars? Given that CIOs are generally charged with eliminating the silos that have long separated IT from other divisions, they tend to get annoyed with tech pros who haven’t gotten onboard with the latest efforts and initiatives.
“Being complacent or unconcerned makes it seem like you’re not listening or that you’re unable or unwilling to change and evolve,” said Tim Crawford, a CIO strategic advisor at AVOA and former CIO. “Stop perpetuating or even encouraging the silo mentality by showing that you can think beyond the silo.”
Refusing to Compromise
Technologists are programmed to see things in terms of right or wrong, black or white. Things either work, or they don’t. But binary thinking can become annoying and obstructive, especially if it causes you miss the big picture, get mired in small details or dig in your heels.
For instance, when tech pros continue to push for everything on their resources wish list, even when it’s clear that budget and logistics won’t accommodate their demands, it gets annoying, Ferro said. There are times when it’s in your best interest to compromise and take a partial win.
“Earn the CIO’s trust and confidence by taking the partial win, going back and executing,” Ferro said. “You stand a good chance of getting the remaining items on your list approved at a later time if you compromise.”
Bringing Problems Without Solutions
Want to irritate your CIO? Raise “à la carte” problems without offering any sort of solution. Given that tech pros are hired to fix problems, showing up without an idea of how to solve them is a good way to raise your division’s collective blood pressure.
“Every organization has issues,” Ferro said. “So when you come into my office to tell me a server is down, that statement should be followed by a comma and a solution, and not a period.”
Providing possible solutions shows that you’re willing to take responsibility, and makes you look good in front of your CIO—a perquisite for a raise or promotion, in most cases.