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Practical Advice for CIOs Struggling to Survive in Tough Times

| February 17, 2009

by Jim Bruce

For today’s reading we turn to advice from José Carlos Eiras, former CIO of DHL-Express US and also European CIO and Global Services Information Officer at General Motors, found in “Practical Advice for CIOs Struggling to Survive in Tough Times“.

After talking briefly about the choices IT leaders struggling with tough times — either ”hunker down and wait timidly for fate,“ or ”seize the moment“ — Eiras advocates seizing the moment and makes seven recommendations:

1.  Build a great team.  Find and manage talent.  ”A deep pool of talent is a great asset and the best hedge against the uncertainties of a bad economy.“

2.  Proactively establish goals for IT.  ”It’s actually easier to set realistic goals and accomplish them than it is during periods of growth.“  Eliminate legacy systems and redundant applications.

3.  Hold vendors accountable.

4.  Extract maximum value from existing IT investments.

5.  Make sure that everyone knows that you are responsible and accountable.  When opportunity presents itself, step up and assume more responsibility.

6.  Build and manage relationships up, down and sideways across the enterprise and beyond its traditional boundaries.

7.  Act like a CEO.  You are responsible for all or a part of a complex organization within a larger complex organization.  Focus on the results you are tasked to deliver.

Eiras’ primary message — for CIOs and, I think for IT leaders as a whole — is that troubling times provide an opportunity and a call for leaders to step up to the bar.


Have a great week.  .  .  .  .    jim