This past week I had the unique experience of listening to the perspective of co-CIOs as they presented during class. As I progress through my MBA program as well as my career, I have become more and more fascinated to hear the perspective of various CIOs. Although each one is different and definitely has new things to add to the conversation, I have started to notice some common themes.
(One of those common themes, for example: the one that has probably come across the strongest is that the CIOs job is to ensure alignment between the business strategy and the IT goals. IT exists to serve the business, first and foremost, and understanding how best to channel IT in order to serve the business goals is a challenge unique to the CIO).
It was nice, then, to get a different perspective from Joyce and Dan, the co-CIOs who presented this past week. Joyce's presentation was full of specific stories and experiences she had gone through, and the lessons she learned from each of those experiences. Not only were the stories funny and interesting, but this was also a great way of demonstrating how a big part of success is to reflect and learn from every experience you have.
Joyce gave some great general career advice, too. One that I especially liked was what people most need to be: smart, honest, fair, willing to work hard, and flexible. "The rest someone can teach you." I definitely agree with this... the right perspective and attitude will take you much further in life than just know-how alone.
Dan had some really interesting ideas to share as well. One of the things that I loved about his presentation was when he talked about the "scandal of prediction". The truth is, whether it comes to finance/business, politics, or sports... not even the experts can accurately predict anything. This really rang true with all of the personal finance stuff I've read in the last few years... index funds outperform the "expert-fund-manager" mutual funds pretty consistently.
One thing that surprised me the most was how fascinated my fellow classmates were by the concept of co-CIOs. Many of them seemed to not understand how it could possibly work, even after having their questions answered. From my own perspective, it never occurred to me that it was all that crazy of a concept. A CIO position is, after all, a title: a made up concept. If two people work together well and set clear boundaries (and both Joyce and Dan explained in great detail about how they had done so), why WOULDN'T it work?
My MBA is nearly complete... after this semester, I will have only two classes left (both of which I hope to finish this summer). I hope that I will continue to get the opportunity to speak with other CIOs and corporate leaders, but if I don't, I'm grateful to have been given the opportunity to speak with the ones that I have thus far.
Posted by on Sun, 4 Apr 2010