Politics in IT: Separate the operators from the performers
There's no getting away from politics in the workplace, but you can survive it
Computerworld - There's politics in IT. Are you shocked to hear it? I didn't think so. But it can be negotiated. It comes down to knowing what sorts of people are around you. I'll get to that in a bit, along with some advice for dealing with the bad players, but first let me tell you about two times in my career when politics came to the fore.
Incident No. 1
I had just renegotiated a multiyear contract with a major outside IT service provider that would save the company $6 million in each of the next three years. I was feeling confident about my competence as CIO, but at the same time, I saw indications that my days at this company might be numbered. The CEO who had hired me was now leading a rival company. We had been close, and a couple of my peers on the senior management committee had asked me whether I would follow him. There had even been subtle suggestions that I might be feeding our former CEO information about how our IT function was used to outcompete the competition. It was a baseless suspicion, but it's not easy to remove such a stain even when you're completely innocent. Shortly after my success with the renegotiation, the new president and CEO called me to his office. Once I was there, he cordially congratulated me on my negotiating success. In fact, he said, my performance had been consistently superior, but due to reasons he could not discuss with me, he would have to let me go. My competence was not called into question, and that was gratifying, but I was out of a job anyway.
Incident No. 2
Seeing the executive who hired you move on isn't unusual, of course. When it happened to me another time, I was left reporting to a committee of three senior executives who didn't know what they wanted the IT function to do. They would ask me what I considered to be the best path to take, but my carefully weighed responses would be interrupted by them as they argued with each other. I was being given three competing lists of priorities, and pointing out their contradictions only prolonged the meetings. None of them would give an inch. If they all hadn't had other meetings to attend, those sessions might have never ended. No one can serve two masters, and I found myself with three. I wasn't learning anything, which has always been of great importance to me, and I had the feeling that my situation was going to end poorly, so I began looking for another position. As soon as I found one, I resigned. Again, my performance was not the issue, and even though I had moved on through my own initiative, another change in my career happened because of events I had no control over.
More by Al Kuebler
- IT makeover: Creating an 'attraction strategy'
- Get the IT career you want by developing your business value
- What it takes to be a proactive IT leader
- IT gets its report card
- It's the age-old question: To whom should the CIO report?
- Training that focuses on goals brings about targeted change
- Politics in IT: Separate the operators from the performers
- The CIO you don't want to be
- Vendors: 'Just nuke 'em'? Or is there a better way?
- A CIO's journey to proactive IT
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- The CIO's Guide to Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) This guide will help those making an EMM platform decision make the best choice for their organization.
- Yankee Group: BlackBerry Results Refute Rumors of its Demise Yankee Group: BlackBerry® is stronger than the press makes it out to be.
- Your New EMM Platform: How to Streamline the Migration Smartphone migration can be resource-intensive and challenging. Find out how outsourcing the process can save significant time and money.
- Live Webcast Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information...
- Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing... All Management White Papers | Webcasts