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What Would the Next CIO Do? How to Preempt Your Successor

| November 13, 2012

by Jim Bruce

Today’s Reading, “What Would the Next CIO Do?  How to Preempt Your Successor ” deceptively titled.  If you are a leader, the article is really for you!   The essay’s author is Bryon Payne, CIO at North Georgia College and State University, and it first appeared at  

Payne’s thesis is very simple:  new leaders come into a new role with a lot of energy.  They search out the more-or-less obvious issues and act on them.  So the question is why don’t you take the time to identify those pressing issues and create an action plan?

Payne believes that there are three areas of concern:

1.  Pain points.  These are the annoying problems that, in reality, are easily solved;  i.e., low-hanging fruit.  Connect to your clients and identify these pain points, and do something about them.

2.  Jackhammer issues.  During much of World War II, I lived with my grandparents in a house that was about 20 feet from a regularly used railroad track.  I became so used to the train passing by that I never heard it.  Same way about your colleagues and customers.  They often have to employ workarounds and jump through hoops to get their work done.  How can you eliminate these persistent annoyances?

3.  Relationship rescue.  What necessary relationships are in a state of disrepair and need to be rebuilt or are nonexistent?  Make a list of the relationships that you need for your organization to function well and do the work that is needed.

So, create an opportunity to look through the lens of a person who would be a new leader in your place, and take on the issues the he or she would see.  It will make a world of difference!


.  .  .  .     jim