How CIOs Can Avoid Being Fired

Being fired is never an easy event to come back from. In a recent post at his blog, Dr. Jim Anderson shares his personal story: a CIO twice fired who came back from defeat to become an “accidental success.”

What the CIO Does

In order to not get a pink slip, it is crucial to understand what is expected from the CIO position. The position exists in the first place because the company understands the value of information technology, and they need a designated person to oversee its operations. A CIO must understand what the needs of the business are and ensure that IT is delivering them with the appropriate resources. IT uniquely has an ability to help management determine the overall health of the company.

How the CIO Loses Control

Losing temporary control over the IT department will not end one’s career, but what will is making promises to keep the department under control and not following through. Different units think they know what is best for them, and subsequently attempt to administer IT by themselves; this causes the IT department to spend an excessive amount that is really unnecessary.

This spending creates several individual infrastructures that do not operate collectively, hence the exorbitant money lost. When management goes to analyze where the problem lies, they will see that it is the IT department spending and not delivering on the investment. This is the direct route to get a CIO fired.

The bottom line is that there is not a simple path to being fired, and there are several factors that can accumulate and sneak up on a CIO. The good news is that there are two elements that can keep the CIO from a detrimental end. The first is to become strong and assertive and learn to say “no.” The second is to understand that if there is no support, the position of CIO is moot.

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