In today’s technology-driven business landscape, the CIO plays a major role in the success of an enterprise. But technology changes quickly, and it can occasionally be unpredictable. One needs only to look at the Y2K computing crisis that never happened as an example of how IT departments can shoot themselves in the proverbial foot and lose credibility.
Within an organization, maintaining IT departmental credibility starts with the CIO. Not every IT initiative is going to be successful, and not all projects are going to pay dividends down the road. It’s therefore incumbent upon the CIO to take a leadership role when it comes to building company confidence in the IT department.
How the CIO Can Build Credibility in the IT Department
For a CIO to retain the confidence of employees as well as upper management, it’s important for him or her to be honest, realistic, and forthcoming. Credibility can be a fickle thing: it takes a long time to earn, but only a moment to lose. And credibility is even harder for CIOs to earn back once it’s been compromised or lost. Ask any CIO who convinced his or her company to commit significant resources to a project that ultimately failed.
In such situations, the CIO basically has two options available: he or she can simply drop all discussions of the failure and pretend it never happened, or he or she can acknowledge the failure, discuss its educational value, and indicate how the knowledge gained will inform future IT initiatives. Of these options, the latter is by far the better one. Colleagues and stakeholders respond more positively to openness and honesty than they do to attempts to deflect blame or pretend problems never happened.
The CIO also needs to take responsibility for situations where IT failures that originated at lower levels of the department had a negative impact on company initiatives. Accountability breeds credibility, and CIOs need to take ownership of successes and failures alike to maintain the confidence of other departments, and the other members of the upper management team.
Copper State Communications is a leading provider of dynamic telecom solutions for today’s businesses. Contact us today to learn more about how our team of expert professionals can help IT departments become more dynamic, responsive, and successful.