It’s Halloween, and the little witches and ghouls are no doubt preparing to feast on the candy and treats found door to door in your neighborhood. But before you don your ghost costume (and, truly, I hope you did more than just cut holes in a sheet), consider what Halloween—or more appropriately, the monster movies we all love to watch around this time—can teach us about being a better CIO:
1. Be determined and calculated in your actions
Freddy Krueger is perhaps one of the most frightening monsters in the movies, as he’ll get you as soon as you’ve fallen asleep in your own comfortable bed. The thing that is most frightening about Freddy is that he doesn’t give up—think about that level of determination: the man just doesn’t stop trying. The CIO shouldn’t be any different. No matter how many challenges you face, you should work to continue on your path. It’s with this level of resoluteness that a CIO can get past constraints and add value to the company.
2. Stay in your element
The Creature from the Black Lagoon did really well in water. Point in fact, the actor who played the creature was an Olympic swimmer, and even with all the extra rubber around his body, he was able to easily outswim anyone else. The creature could out-swim, out dive, and out-live the people who pursued him—as long as he stayed in the Black Lagoon. His big mistake was coming out of the water in an attempt to capture the damsel, which ultimately lead to his injury during a fight and assumed death. What’s the lesson here? Well, to stay in your element, of course.
That’s not to say that a good CIO shouldn’t continually expand what they know in order to stay strategic, but they absolutely shouldn’t stretch themselves out so much that they aren’t able to look after the most basic duties. A CIO is, first and foremost, in charge of how their company handles and optimizes technology. While it’s tempting to get wrapped up in other areas of the business, the CIO simply must keep the operation of IT in the forefront of their minds. Forget this, and you may find yourself like a creature out of the lagoon.
3. Realize when your project is out of control
Dr. Frankenstein was brilliant. Mad, yes, but brilliant. When he managed to bring his monster back to life, he went crazy with the power he’d achieved.
And right there is about the time he should have shut the whole operation down, really.
But the mad doctor didn’t, allowing the monster to escape and create havoc wherever he went. The lesson here is obvious: even though you might have a project that you want so desperately to live, it might be a better idea to let it fail. Being a CIO means you’re passionate about the work you do—it’s a necessity of the job. But don’t let that passion stop you from seeing projects pragmatically. If a project is costing too much, doesn’t have support of stakeholders, or is simply not going to help the business, it’s time to step back and decide if it’s worth the effort or if it should be left alone.
Some Final Words
These are just some of the valuable lessons shared in horror movies, especially for the CIO. After all, monsters are often dealing with multiple commitments (running from villagers while trying to get a quick bite), dealing with stake-holders, and working in the shadows while trying to complete their goals—which hopefully are a bit more sinister than your own!
So while you watch horror movies and children ring your doorbell for a few pieces of candy, consider these three lessons the monsters of the screen are able to impart.
Just avoid trying to look like any of them while you test out the lessons. Happy Halloween!