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How CIOs Can Use Words to Boost Their Power and Credibility

The CIO is often caught in a paradox – given great responsibility and expectations on one hand, and denied sufficient power and latitude to fulfill responsibilities or to meet expectations on the other. Dr. Jim Anderson in his blog assures that this paradox should not thwart the CIO from achieving his or her vision of success. On the contrary, credibility can be built through a handful of guerrilla social tactics.

Two Word Worlds

One of the miracles and ironies of being human is language use. Language is a tool that, more than any other, gives us power and control over our environments. Yet again, paradoxically, it can be the greatest source of confusion and disorder. That is how the CIO should view their use of IT language: as a powerful asset inside IT and as source of confusion for the business.

By contrast, the universal language is the language of the face. That is, being physically present so that business stakeholders can see your face and make conversation with you is your most powerful asset. It almost doesn’t even matter what you’re talking about. Psychology research is fairly clear on the near magical osmotic process that takes place when humans come out from behind computer screens and start gabbing. Of course, it would be helpful to probe into your business partner’s needs, taking mental notes on how IT can make the organization “better, faster, stronger.”

Take the Reigns

Unfortunately, says Anderson, everything is still on the CIO’s shoulders. If you want the latitude and power to make the changes that will satisfy the needs of the business and lend credibility to your role as chief of IT, you need to take the initiative. On the bright side, the extent to which you succeed or fail is completely within your control.

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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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