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Can You Spot the CIO in the Boardroom?

It sounds like a strange IT version of Where’s Waldo?, only not quite. “Can you spot the CIO in the boardroom?” is a game that Larry Bonfante plays as part of his keynote presentation at industry conferences. As described in an article for CIO Insight, Bonfante says that CIOs often stand out awkwardly among the other board members.

Dressing the Part

The first thing I might spy is someone who literally doesn’t look like he or she belongs. While the majority of the players look like they fell off the cover of GQ or Cosmo, many CIOs look like they’ve just rolled out of the bargain basement at off-price retailer Filene’s. Step one is looking the part in order to be taken seriously.

Getting on the Inside

Aside from dressing the part, Bonfante argues that CIOs tend to opt out of the informal conversations that take place prior to the meeting. They instead busy themselves with their iPhone in a corner. When the official talking starts, they are not speaking the language of business and finance, but instead revert to their native “geek speak.”

IT Value – In Lay Terms

This does the CIO and IT terrible disservice, since ingenuity and technical prowess (their value) are not being conveyed properly. Bonfante uses the analogy of a foreign country. Wouldn’t you at least want to speak conversationally in the native’s tongue? Educating senior officers about technology is important, but in lay terms, of course.

Along the same line of logic, it doesn’t make sense to view communication as a 50/50 proposition in the case of the reluctant CIO. Instead, 100% of the CIO’s effort should be poured into getting fellow company members to see their point of view. In the interest of IT, it only makes sense to work with the ‘movers and shakers’ of the business. But to do that, the CIO must move and shake with them!

Read the source article at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI’s Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master’s degree in communications at Penn State University.

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