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I had some time to catch up on my reading on a flight yesterday and read a great article in CIO Magazine by one of our higher education friends, Bryson Payne, the CIO at North Georgia College and State University. In this article, Bryson asks one of those simple but deeply insightful questions that stops you in your tracks. Quoting from his article:

“…I stopped asking why CIOs are such a famously short-lived breed. I chose instead to focus on pressing problems at my organization from a new perspective:”

What Would the Next CIO Do?

 

Wow – Simple but thought provoking question! Think about it: If you were no longer in your job, what are the first problems / opportunities that your successor would jump to work on? If you can develop of list of these needed changes, what precludes you from working on them right now?

 

We do a lot of IT Assessments and we sometimes find obvious problems to be fixed or opportunities to be grabbed, but the CIO isn’t working on them – and they usually know the things that need to be addressed.

 

What gets in our way and prevents us from tackling these issues, before they tackle us? Any thoughts?

 

Bryson, thanks for a great article! To read it, and Bryson’s great thoughts on this question, go to:

 

http://www.cio.com/article/715064/What_Would_the_Next_CIO_Do_How_to_Preempt_Your_Successor

 

Sorry, but it appears that CIO.com makes you do a free registration to read the article. It’s well worth the read and you know how to void the SPAM that will likely follow! 8-)

 

Thanks!

******************************************
Charlie Moran
Sr. Partner & CEO

1215 Hamilton Lane, Suite 200
Naperville, IL  60540
Toll-Free (877) 212-6379 (Voice & Fax)
Website: 
www.MoranTechnology.com
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Comments

Thanks for sending this along and raising the question, Charlie.  It's a great one and, as someone that has been in my job (and a CIO in general) for...about 36 days, very helpful to me.  Please note - I think my predecessor is on this list and almost everything that I am able to do today that is or leads to forward progress is because of the excellent environment that she put in place.  

Having said that, and thinking back to my previous job, it's far too easy to set a path that has "current' targets and goals and forget to review them on any particular basis.  Even if those goals are strategic and/or well thought-out and it's part of a sound Strategic Plan (note the capital S & P).  At the moment that one starts on those goals, things are great and perhaps things will lead to a good situation for the next CIO.  But in a month, half-year, year, etc not only could those goals change (as we all know - I doubt anyone would have made it far up the management chain without realizing the need for constant review) but our long-term vision can get narrow-sighted.  We get blinders on.  

At least, looking back, I think maybe I did.  I worked up a strategic plan for my department at my previous job every year and reviewed it every six months.  We were in a rebuilding and realignment situation when I got there and while I think I did a decent job of being really hands-on, pulling the group towards the new set of goals (the core mission of the department changed) and then switching over to more of a management/leadership/oversight model, I am not sure if I truly reviewed the group from a far enough distance.  I think that I remained focused on professional development in the new alignment, and incremental improvements on a few key services.  I generally thought about what we did, what I thought we should be doing when I first got there, and just kept working on those spaces.  

I didn't change my lens or point of view to see if I was tackling those first problems or issues that a successor might have to deal with.  Should I change my style more?  Should a whole new project come online to address a core problem that had been revealed but was hard to notice from my perspective?  I'm not saying that I think I left things in a bad place for my successor but I'm not sure I really answered the question of "what would I do if I were the next CIO?"

This e-mail has gotten too long already.  Thanks for passing along the article and motivating me to look back while I move forward.  

allan

An interesting perspective indeed, and timely as I'm trying to figure out my next organization (we are handling some pretty significant org changes at the moment).
I do think the first comment on the article is worthy, too.  If we are incumbent in our jobs, we do not have the negotiating power of a new CIO coming in the door, and we do not have a honeymoon period for requests.
I've often thought that I would love to write a letter to my future successor telling that individual everything they should negotiate for at the start of the job. 

I'm very willing to change, and very willing to tackle the problems, but somehow I have to get the campus on board with tackling them with me.  That I find very challenging.  For example, my biggest challenges are HR oriented, but I expect to have to keep sending the articles and the posts and having meetings for some time into the future before I can get the head of HR to recognize the issues and want to work with me to solve them.

Certainly we approach a new job with a fresh attitude, and our successors will approach our jobs with a fresh attitude.  But also, the campus community will listen with fresh perspectives, too.  One reason I love to meet and work with new department heads is that fresh perspective they bring to their jobs, and that is one way we can start to work on obvious problems.

Theresa


I would add to Theresa’s comments that there are many, many technology related initiatives that I think would benefit the my college, but they are without functional area understand, vision or request. When I’ve implemented some of these, they fall flat because the lack of institutional strategic need. Some of these are the low hanging fruit that a new CIO might attempt to address… but remember institutions are full of entropy and difficult to get moving…

 

All that said the concept of continuously reinventing ones thought process from various perspectives is helpful.

 

Off to meet with the President!!!! ;-)

 

Rob

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President – Information Technology, Planning and Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Theresa Rowe
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 10:43 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Preempting the Next CIO

 

An interesting perspective indeed, and timely as I'm trying to figure out my next organization (we are handling some pretty significant org changes at the moment).
I do think the first comment on the article is worthy, too.  If we are incumbent in our jobs, we do not have the negotiating power of a new CIO coming in the door, and we do not have a honeymoon period for requests.
I've often thought that I would love to write a letter to my future successor telling that individual everything they should negotiate for at the start of the job. 

I'm very willing to change, and very willing to tackle the problems, but somehow I have to get the campus on board with tackling them with me.  That I find very challenging.  For example, my biggest challenges are HR oriented, but I expect to have to keep sending the articles and the posts and having meetings for some time into the future before I can get the head of HR to recognize the issues and want to work with me to solve them.

Certainly we approach a new job with a fresh attitude, and our successors will approach our jobs with a fresh attitude.  But also, the campus community will listen with fresh perspectives, too.  One reason I love to meet and work with new department heads is that fresh perspective they bring to their jobs, and that is one way we can start to work on obvious problems.

Theresa

A very good article as I am the new CIO.  Plus as I am “the old CIO”, I am curious what change my successor will make and what I was ignoring.

 

Ken Schindler/YSU

 

No doubt that a change in IT leadership is usually a precursor for reassessment and change in how we do business, but I think an even more impactful force is a change at the institution’s leadership level (President, Provost , Board members, enrollment management or assessment officers, etc.) .

 

I don’t know about others’ experiences but a new leadership for us  generally translates to new “visions” that often necessitates the kind of reevaluation of priorities and strategic rethinking that we are talking about particularly since many of those  “new visions”  look to  technology to make them happen automagically : )

 

So maybe the question ought to be:

 

                                What would be the CIO need to do for the next CEO ?

 

Hossein Shahrokhi

UH-Downtown

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Robert Paterson
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 9:54 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Preempting the Next CIO

 

I would add to Theresa’s comments that there are many, many technology related initiatives that I think would benefit the my college, but they are without functional area understand, vision or request. When I’ve implemented some of these, they fall flat because the lack of institutional strategic need. Some of these are the low hanging fruit that a new CIO might attempt to address… but remember institutions are full of entropy and difficult to get moving…

 

All that said the concept of continuously reinventing ones thought process from various perspectives is helpful.

 

Off to meet with the President!!!! ;-)

 

Rob

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President – Information Technology, Planning and Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Theresa Rowe
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 10:43 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Preempting the Next CIO

 

An interesting perspective indeed, and timely as I'm trying to figure out my next organization (we are handling some pretty significant org changes at the moment).
I do think the first comment on the article is worthy, too.  If we are incumbent in our jobs, we do not have the negotiating power of a new CIO coming in the door, and we do not have a honeymoon period for requests.
I've often thought that I would love to write a letter to my future successor telling that individual everything they should negotiate for at the start of the job. 

I'm very willing to change, and very willing to tackle the problems, but somehow I have to get the campus on board with tackling them with me.  That I find very challenging.  For example, my biggest challenges are HR oriented, but I expect to have to keep sending the articles and the posts and having meetings for some time into the future before I can get the head of HR to recognize the issues and want to work with me to solve them.

Certainly we approach a new job with a fresh attitude, and our successors will approach our jobs with a fresh attitude.  But also, the campus community will listen with fresh perspectives, too.  One reason I love to meet and work with new department heads is that fresh perspective they bring to their jobs, and that is one way we can start to work on obvious problems.

Theresa

Shouldn’t this be a consideration for all CIOs in their succession planning?

While Bryson’s article is a well-articulated reminder or reference point this should not be novel for a seasoned CIO.

 

 

Stephen diFilipo

Vice President & Chief Information Officer

Cecil College

One Seahawk Drive

North East, MD 21901

410-287-1021

 

 

 

From: Charlie Moran [mailto:charlie.moran@MORANTECHNOLOGY.COM]
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 8:20 AM
Subject: Preempting the Next CIO

 

I had some time to catch up on my reading on a flight yesterday and read a great article in CIO Magazine by one of our higher education friends, Bryson Payne, the CIO at North Georgia College and State University. In this article, Bryson asks one of those simple but deeply insightful questions that stops you in your tracks. Quoting from his article:

“…I stopped asking why CIOs are such a famously short-lived breed. I chose instead to focus on pressing problems at my organization from a new perspective:”

What Would the Next CIO Do?

 

Wow – Simple but thought provoking question! Think about it: If you were no longer in your job, what are the first problems / opportunities that your successor would jump to work on? If you can develop of list of these needed changes, what precludes you from working on them right now?

 

We do a lot of IT Assessments and we sometimes find obvious problems to be fixed or opportunities to be grabbed, but the CIO isn’t working on them – and they usually know the things that need to be addressed.

 

What gets in our way and prevents us from tackling these issues, before they tackle us? Any thoughts?

 

Bryson, thanks for a great article! To read it, and Bryson’s great thoughts on this question, go to:

 

http://www.cio.com/article/715064/What_Would_the_Next_CIO_Do_How_to_Preempt_Your_Successor

 

Sorry, but it appears that CIO.com makes you do a free registration to read the article. It’s well worth the read and you know how to void the SPAM that will likely follow! 8-)

 

Thanks!

******************************************
Charlie Moran
Sr. Partner & CEO

1215 Hamilton Lane, Suite 200
Naperville, IL  60540
Toll-Free (877) 212-6379 (Voice & Fax)
Website: 
www.MoranTechnology.com
******************************************
P Please consider the environment before printing this email...

 

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Good point Steve. Of course when we talk about succession planning we are assuming that we are the ones that “choose” to leave. The institution should know these things and not necessarily the CIO….because sometimes it is not our choice to leave and if this is the case….one often may not be of a mind to (or have the ability to) frame the next position….

 

Rob

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President – Information Technology, Planning and Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY

 

Colleagues,

I believe that Hossein makes an excellent point.  With any new exec comes new vision and goals for the College/University that the current/new CIO will have to meet.

IMHO, this point must also be balanced with the mega-trends that will have impact to the organization in the next 3-5 years, which includes, but not limited to, the following:

- national decreasing HS grad rates (due to decreasing age demographic population)
- increasing of baby boomer retirements
- decrease in fed/state aid 
- international outreach
- international competition
- badges, MOOCs, and the overall unbundling of higher education

So the current/new CIO (and any current/new exec for that matter) will need to address the mega-trends regardless.

A team effort all-around and not just CIO things.

Regards, 

Jim 

James M. Dutcher - Chair - SUNY Council of CIOs
SUNY Cobleskill - CIO: PMP, CISSP, SCP/Security+, CISA
EMail : jim@dutcher.net (personal)
Office: (518) 255-5809
Cell  : (518) 657-1056 (work)
Cell  : (607) 760-7455 (personal)
Skype : james_dutcher
 

On Sep 7, 2012, at 4:31 PM, "Shahrokhi, Hossein" <ShahrokhiH@UHD.EDU> wrote:

No doubt that a change in IT leadership is usually a precursor for reassessment and change in how we do business, but I think an even more impactful force is a change at the institution’s leadership level (President, Provost , Board members, enrollment management or assessment officers, etc.) .

 

I don’t know about others’ experiences but a new leadership for us  generally translates to new “visions” that often necessitates the kind of reevaluation of priorities and strategic rethinking that we are talking about particularly since many of those  “new visions”  look to  technology to make them happen automagically : )

 

So maybe the question ought to be:

 

                                What would be the CIO need to do for the next CEO ?

 

Hossein Shahrokhi

UH-Downtown

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Robert Paterson
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 9:54 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Preempting the Next CIO

 

I would add to Theresa’s comments that there are many, many technology related initiatives that I think would benefit the my college, but they are without functional area understand, vision or request. When I’ve implemented some of these, they fall flat because the lack of institutional strategic need. Some of these are the low hanging fruit that a new CIO might attempt to address… but remember institutions are full of entropy and difficult to get moving…

 

All that said the concept of continuously reinventing ones thought process from various perspectives is helpful.

 

Off to meet with the President!!!! ;-)

 

Rob

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President – Information Technology, Planning and Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Theresa Rowe
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 10:43 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Preempting the Next CIO

 

An interesting perspective indeed, and timely as I'm trying to figure out my next organization (we are handling some pretty significant org changes at the moment).
I do think the first comment on the article is worthy, too.  If we are incumbent in our jobs, we do not have the negotiating power of a new CIO coming in the door, and we do not have a honeymoon period for requests.
I've often thought that I would love to write a letter to my future successor telling that individual everything they should negotiate for at the start of the job. 

I'm very willing to change, and very willing to tackle the problems, but somehow I have to get the campus on board with tackling them with me.  That I find very challenging.  For example, my biggest challenges are HR oriented, but I expect to have to keep sending the articles and the posts and having meetings for some time into the future before I can get the head of HR to recognize the issues and want to work with me to solve them.

Certainly we approach a new job with a fresh attitude, and our successors will approach our jobs with a fresh attitude.  But also, the campus community will listen with fresh perspectives, too.  One reason I love to meet and work with new department heads is that fresh perspective they bring to their jobs, and that is one way we can start to work on obvious problems.

Theresa

Jim, et. al,

 

This is a great series of notes.  The central theme I see is that the CIO needs a solid governance process in place that as Jim and Hossein point out must include the senior leadership of the institution.  A good CIO brings not only the project portfolio to the table for prioritization of work relative to the overall mission of the university, but the emerging trends that should be proactively addressed.  The reality is that of late we have had to react to paradigm shifts in the way society is using computing.  However with that governance structure in place we can work collaboratively with our cabinet level peers to steer our technology resources in the right direction.  With that, any CIO, new or old, should stay current with the most important issues of the day, keeping their organization well placed to meet the needs of the institution.

 

Doug

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Dutcher, James M
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 10:53 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Preempting the Next CIO

 

Colleagues,

 

I believe that Hossein makes an excellent point.  With any new exec comes new vision and goals for the College/University that the current/new CIO will have to meet.

 

IMHO, this point must also be balanced with the mega-trends that will have impact to the organization in the next 3-5 years, which includes, but not limited to, the following:

 

- national decreasing HS grad rates (due to decreasing age demographic population)

- increasing of baby boomer retirements

- decrease in fed/state aid 

- international outreach

- international competition

- badges, MOOCs, and the overall unbundling of higher education

 

So the current/new CIO (and any current/new exec for that matter) will need to address the mega-trends regardless.

 

A team effort all-around and not just CIO things.

Regards, 

 

Jim 

 

James M. Dutcher - Chair - SUNY Council of CIOs

SUNY Cobleskill - CIO: PMP, CISSP, SCP/Security+, CISA

EMail : jim@dutcher.net (personal)

Office: (518) 255-5809

Cell  : (518) 657-1056 (work)

Cell  : (607) 760-7455 (personal)

Skype : james_dutcher

 


On Sep 7, 2012, at 4:31 PM, "Shahrokhi, Hossein" <ShahrokhiH@UHD.EDU> wrote:

No doubt that a change in IT leadership is usually a precursor for reassessment and change in how we do business, but I think an even more impactful force is a change at the institution’s leadership level (President, Provost , Board members, enrollment management or assessment officers, etc.) .

 

I don’t know about others’ experiences but a new leadership for us  generally translates to new “visions” that often necessitates the kind of reevaluation of priorities and strategic rethinking that we are talking about particularly since many of those  “new visions”  look to  technology to make them happen automagically : )

 

So maybe the question ought to be:

 

                                What would be the CIO need to do for the next CEO ?

 

Hossein Shahrokhi

UH-Downtown

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Robert Paterson
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 9:54 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Preempting the Next CIO

 

I would add to Theresa’s comments that there are many, many technology related initiatives that I think would benefit the my college, but they are without functional area understand, vision or request. When I’ve implemented some of these, they fall flat because the lack of institutional strategic need. Some of these are the low hanging fruit that a new CIO might attempt to address… but remember institutions are full of entropy and difficult to get moving…

 

All that said the concept of continuously reinventing ones thought process from various perspectives is helpful.

 

Off to meet with the President!!!! ;-)

 

Rob

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President – Information Technology, Planning and Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Theresa Rowe
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 10:43 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Preempting the Next CIO

 

An interesting perspective indeed, and timely as I'm trying to figure out my next organization (we are handling some pretty significant org changes at the moment).
I do think the first comment on the article is worthy, too.  If we are incumbent in our jobs, we do not have the negotiating power of a new CIO coming in the door, and we do not have a honeymoon period for requests.
I've often thought that I would love to write a letter to my future successor telling that individual everything they should negotiate for at the start of the job. 

I'm very willing to change, and very willing to tackle the problems, but somehow I have to get the campus on board with tackling them with me.  That I find very challenging.  For example, my biggest challenges are HR oriented, but I expect to have to keep sending the articles and the posts and having meetings for some time into the future before I can get the head of HR to recognize the issues and want to work with me to solve them.

Certainly we approach a new job with a fresh attitude, and our successors will approach our jobs with a fresh attitude.  But also, the campus community will listen with fresh perspectives, too.  One reason I love to meet and work with new department heads is that fresh perspective they bring to their jobs, and that is one way we can start to work on obvious problems.

Theresa

I too thought this was a very interesting thread. The corollary to this is knowing when you should look for another position and get a fresh start. This issue in endemic to the academy and not unique to CIO's -- I have seen this in all academic leadership positions. Institutions go through periods of innovation and periods of inactivity. Do you ride it out or stay put and wait for the next cycle. This is a personal decision but often the same message your institution won't listen too is one that another will. I think we could sum this up with the serenity prayer my Irish mother had embroidered an hung in our home :-) God grant me the serenity. To accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference. Great discussion! jack
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