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How To Talk Like a CIO 161

Posted by samzenpus
from the leveraging-your-aggressive-mediocrity dept.
itwbennett writes "Today's CIOs speak business-buzzwords as a second language. And there's a good reason for that. There is a trend among CIOs to distance themselves from being regarded as technologists and to put themselves forward as business strategists. It boils down to one simple rule: Just as you should never be the first to mention compensation in the interview process, you should never be the first to break out the tech jargon in a business setting."
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How To Talk Like a CIO

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  • Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:07PM (#43746985)

    Just memorise all these and mix them up as you see fit:

    http://www.dack.com/web/bullshit.html [dack.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      Believe it or not, that's the opposite of what the summary says.
      • Re:Easy (Score:5, Funny)

        by Cryacin (657549) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:23PM (#43747159)
        Bingo.
      • Re:Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:23PM (#43747163) Homepage Journal

        Believe it or not, that's the opposite of what the summary says.

        No it's not. The summary (and the article, which is essentially the same fluff as the summary repeated several times--I RTFA'd so you don't have to) says to avoid technical jargon, which has actual meaning and is therefore terrifying to people who want to be executives. The bullshit list is business jargon, which is inherently meaningless and is therefore very useful to C*Os and those who like to imagine themselves in such positions.

        • Bingo.

        • Re:Easy (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:40PM (#43747273)

          The summary (and the article, which is essentially the same fluff as the summary repeated several times--I RTFA'd so you don't have to) says to avoid technical jargon, which has actual meaning and is therefore terrifying to people who want to be executives

          It says to avoid technical jargon, but not because it "has actual meaning". In fact, the advice it gives is just a specific application of the most basic communication advice ever, that is, "know your audience, and address what has meaning and relevance to them". Business executives don't care about the details of technology, they care about the whether and how that technology can deliver value in the context of their business problems. This isn't avoiding real meaning, its addressing relevant meaning.

          If you didn't get that from TFA, you may have read it, but you certainly didn't understand it.

          • Re:Easy (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:56PM (#43747379) Homepage Journal

            If you didn't get that from TFA, you may have read it, but you certainly didn't understand it.

            I'll just re-quote from the article the passage I quoted in a previous post:

            The senior VP had serious technical chops, but he wasn't about to demonstrate them in front of his peers. He feared, justifiably, that if he did so he'd get classified as a techie and taken out of consideration as a possible future CEO.

            Understanding this is pretty easy; if you choose not to do so, that's your business, so to speak.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              The senior VP had serious technical chops, but he wasn't about to demonstrate them in front of his peers. He feared, justifiably, that if he did so he'd get classified as a techie and taken out of consideration as a possible future CEO.

              Understanding this is pretty easy; if you choose not to do so, that's your business, so to speak.

              True. But that says a lot about what's wrong with the world. I'm beginning to think we're headed for a new dark ages. You can't keep building your world on bulldust. Eventually the "infinite financial growth, cheating your customers is good, actually doing things is for losers that work for me" paradigm breaks down in a horrible way. Thank goodness we still (for the time being) have people that understand the te

          • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Skreems (598317) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:47PM (#43748367) Homepage

            Business executives don't care about the details of technology, they care about the whether and how that technology can deliver value in the context of their business problems.

            The problem is, those two things go hand in hand. If you don't understand the details of the technology, you're highly likely to miss a bunch of nuance in understanding how (and how much) it can solve your business problems.

            Now, if you as a hypothetical executive are willing to accept that you really DON'T understand the nuance, and trust those under you that do, then things are just peachy. Except that attitude doesn't often pair with the type-A personality that inhabits the C*O world, or even the VP world. What you're left with a majority of the time is someone who thinks technical details are "beneath them", but wants to make sweeping generalizations about what tech will do for their business. Due to the points above, those generalizations are nearly always wrong, and sometimes dangerously so.

            I like to use an analogy in this type of discussion: Neil Gaiman once said (I'm paraphrasing) "People think an author goes off in a room for a week and stares at a typewriter. Then magic happens, they're hit by a stroke of genius, and emerge with a completed novel, fully formed. The reality is nothing like that. It takes years of hard work from multiple people, endless revisions, and is generally the opposite of magic."

            Most people can connect with that. Of course an author doesn't write a 400 page novel in a fit of genius. Of course there are editors, and revisions, and revisions on revisions. We may not have an intuitive view of what all that work actually looks like, but anyone who's not a complete twit can examine that statement of reality against their preconceived idea, and sense its correctness.

            Well, technology is a lot like that. Redundant failover systems don't fall from the sky fully formed. Coding API or User Interface abstractions don't leap into existence overnight. They're painstakingly nurtured from the seed of an idea by someone who's tired of facing the same problem over and over, and grown over months or years, usually while fending off a bunch of half-interested managers and coworkers who are more interested in making themselves look smart by talking loudly than in actually understanding what's being built.

            You may think that higher ups shouldn't care about that, and to a degree I suppose that's right. They shouldn't care about the minute details of every technical thing to cross their desk. But damn it, they SHOULD understand the difference between good tech and shoddy tech, and what it means to their business. Because a corporate culture starts with the C*Os. And a corporate culture where proper respect is paid to the painstaking work of building quality systems can accelerate that business in a self-reinforcing process, while a corporate culture that dismisses tech as "that geeky stuff they do with computers" will almost certainly fall behind and fail as the people who know how to build stuff well get pissed off at constantly justifying doing things "the right way" to people who don't care, and eventually quit.

            To go back to the analogy... how long do you think a publishing house would stay in business with a CEO who thinks that "writing is that thing where authors go off in a room for a week and magic happens"? That's essentially what this article is tacitly saying is A-OK, and for any company that's even remotely based on technology it's just as ludicrously wrong. That kind of BS may fly today because the culture is still in flux, but in the next 20 years every one of those companies is going to get lapped by another company that understands the magnifying effect technology can have on productivity, and understands it from the top down.

            • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

              by houghi (78078) on Friday May 17, 2013 @03:37AM (#43749413)

              The problem is, those two things go hand in hand. If you don't understand the details of the technology, you're highly likely to miss a bunch of nuance in understanding how (and how much) it can solve your business problems.

              Untrue. Let us take a car example. I as CEO want to move our product from place A to place B. I also want to move myself from place A to place B.

              So I ask people who know about these stuff and he will then ask me how much stuff there is going to be moved and how often. He then proposes a truck or a fleet of truck or even train or transport by boat or a combination.

              For the personal transport, he will also ask a few questions and then will come up with a bicycle or a Maybach with driver or something else, depending on the answers.

              Where it will go wrong if the wrong questions are asked or if I give the wrong answer, because I want to influence the answer.

              e.g. if I as a CEO ask what the best Helicopter is for my daily transport, I will get an answer to THAT question. However if I live at the office, the answer to transport should have been "Walk".

              And that is often the problem: People who think they know something about the technology will ask for the wrong things and then are surprised they get the wrong answers.

              Very few CEOs get this. Very few are able to let go and just trust the people in their team to be qualified in their field. I have had only a few who actually said to me "I do not understand what you are trying to explain, but I trust your experience and expertise and believe you will deliver." Obviously this does not happen at the first day at work. It takes honesty from both sides. i.e. me telling when I did not achieved some goal, why and how I would prevent it in the future. Not trying to hide my ass and blame something or somebody else. My team? My fault!

              It is the basic difference between being a leader and being a manager. https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits.php [stephencovey.com]

              • by rijrunner (263757)

                I think you both might be a bit off.

                You have to know the details of your strategy. You don't have to know all the details of implementation.

                When i delegate to the people implementing here, I give scope of the project. How it fits in with everything. Resources available. Criteria it has to meet. I honestly don't care if when I delegate a monitoring system if the response comes back Nagios, or Zenoss, or something else. If I delegate a CRM system, I honestly don't care between Chef, or puppet. (I do however h

              • I've gotten extremely frustrated with people who want me to help them do X, when it would work far better for them to tell me they have problem or desire Y.

              • Untrue. Let us take a car example. I as CEO want to move our product from place A to place B. I also want to move myself from place A to place B.

                You're picking a case where you're assuming that transport is independent of everything else. If everything were like that then, sure, managers wouldn't have to know anything, and MBAs might actually make the best executives.

                In many real cases, parts of the business are all connected and there aren't necessarily dividing lines. For instance, if you're having l

            • by dintech (998802)

              If you don't understand the details of the technology, you're highly likely to miss a bunch of nuance in understanding how (and how much) it can solve your business problems.

              As a CIO, this is what you have underlings for. You build a relationship of trust with people who DO understand the technology. You'll tend to like these people if they can deeply understand the technology and can describe it in language you are used to. "Is this good, yes or no."

              This way you can then repeat that information to othe

              • by BVis (267028)

                No, the way non-technical people work (at least at the upper-management level) is that they ask their underlings for a solution to a problem, when they've really got the solution they want to hear in their heads. The underlings, who have ostensibly been hired for their expertise in their fields, give them technically sound answers, but answers that are different from what they want to hear, which annoys and confuses them. (For example, you might want to compete with Amazon, but your resources are two Java

            • by kubajz (964091)
              It's interesting to see how we IT people think that others should really understand the technical details of what we do. Have you considered that finance people have their important details as well (e.g. debenture covenant conditions), sales people have important details (leads and pipeline management), manufacturing people have important details (inventory levels management)? One of the arts of running a company is having people on the board who know when to talk detail and when to talk the big picture. A
              • by pnutjam (523990)
                Your analogy fails because financial people don't want you to know what they are doing, their profit is invisible to you. We technology professionals have a tradition of transparency that is slowing seeping into other industries and seems to be seriously damaging the political and financial world.
                Don't let up!
              • It's interesting to see how we IT people think that others should really understand the technical details of what we do.

                We are talking about the CIO here. Do you expect a CFO not to be able to read an accounting statement?

                • We are talking about the CIO here. Do you expect a CFO not to be able to read an accounting statement?

                  But the issue isn't about what the CIO understands, but how the CIO communicates with other executives particularly other CxOs.

                  The CIO should understand technology (and, ideally, should do so at least as broadly, though not necessarily as deeply, as any of his underlings), but also needs to understand the business context in which the firm uses technology and, even more importantly than just understanding,

            • That's essentially what this article is tacitly saying is A-OK

              To be fair, it sayng that reality works this way, not that it's ok.

            • The problem is, those two things go hand in hand. If you don't understand the details of the technology, you're highly likely to miss a bunch of nuance in understanding how (and how much) it can solve your business problems.

              There's an extent to which that is true, but that's largely what the CIO is for -- not to provide other CxOs with the technical details, but to have enough understanding of the technical details to be the executive with the understanding of the nuances of how technology can solve the bus

            • Only sort of. You can't expect the CEO/C*O of a major company to know 48 volts DC from 208 volts 3 phase from blade servers from Apache. CEO - What can we do to make our data center more reliable or cost less or be easier to maintain or some combination of those? Engineers (who get paid to study this stuff all day) - We should do this and it will provide X benefit at Y cost. * real life intervenes and the CEO has a cousin in the 48 volt battery business and you had better decide that is the best way....but
          • Re:Easy (Score:5, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @02:27AM (#43749163)

            So to paraphrase your comments: They are just enabling the linguistic paradigm with respect to the synergies of their core target market?

          • We had a meeting and the PHB told all of the engineers, who had been playing with the Dilbert Mission Statement Generator before lunch, we were going to synergize our cross-platform strengths and could not understand why we could not stop laughing.
      • by sa1lnr (669048)

        Indeed, he/she shouldn't have gone for first post. :)

    • Re:Easy (Score:5, Funny)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:35PM (#43747257)

      Just memorise all these and mix them up as you see fit:

      I tried that, but apparently they're better at it than I am... my proposal got rejected for not supporting the datamatrix foo buffer 2.0 cloud feature-rich zero-management extranet interface. The work order was to get a replacement power cord... the cleaning people let a vaccum cleaner chew on the last one...

    • Here's another version: http://www.atrixnet.com/bs-generator.html [atrixnet.com]
    • Don't you worry about blank, let me worry about blank!

    • Re:Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pkbarbiedoll (851110) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @09:41PM (#43747673)

      What I gathered from this article is that it is desireable in a coporate setting to be extroverted. Extroverts are rewarded, introverts are pocket-protector wearing peons.

      No wonder everyone hates management.

  • by nopainogain (1091795) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:09PM (#43746995)
    Today, I went to the EMC/VMware event in Baltimore. me, twentysome 50-60 year old C-levels, no technical information that could be gleaned, but a bunch of salivating million dollar budgets. I asked the engineer-presenter about his replication's bandwidth demands, he was not prepared to answer... the C-level guys asked questions like "what color is the box it comes in?" want to sound like a CIO? forget everything you know about object oriented programming, IPv6, and OSPF and Linux,, and mimic a sales-evangelist from EMC.
  • Never??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by drdanny_orig (585847) * on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:10PM (#43747015)
    Actually, I always try to be first to break out the jargon. I find it makes the C*O's eyes glaze over, and the meeting is cut short. That's a win for me.
    • by Inda (580031)
      I do the same only with football bullshit jargon. None of this "getting all the ducks in a row" - whatever that means?

      - We need to score from an offside position.
      - The business needs to be match-fit.
      - Our processes should follow the laws of the game.
      - We can't just hack down the opposition and expect a penalty.

      Some laugh; some snigger; some look at me with detest and that's the match winner.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:12PM (#43747033)

    CIO's don't talk tech jargon because they don't have a fucking clue about the actual work... That shit's beneath them.

  • Synergy (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's paramount that this endeavor not fail. We need all teams to focus on the tasks at hand go create an environment conducive for business to business relationships. I spearheaded our Service Oriented cost savings initiative starting from the top down using synrgies afforded by hiring the best of the best to reduce dependence on legacy systems. Using off the shelf products is not a viable option.

  • From TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:13PM (#43747049) Homepage Journal

    The senior VP had serious technical chops, but he wasn't about to demonstrate them in front of his peers. He feared, justifiably, that if he did so he'd get classified as a techie and taken out of consideration as a possible future CEO.

    For any /.er working in an environment like that, I'd like to think this would be a sign that it was time to get the hell out.

    • by fufufang (2603203)

      The senior VP had serious technical chops, but he wasn't about to demonstrate them in front of his peers. He feared, justifiably, that if he did so he'd get classified as a techie and taken out of consideration as a possible future CEO.

      For any /.er working in an environment like that, I'd like to think this would be a sign that it was time to get the hell out.

      That really depends on what that VP meant by "demonstrating". If "demonstrating" means talk in technical jargons which most people can't understand, then that VP should expect loads people getting annoyed. Managers need to speak in a way so in which other people can understand. Real life is not about demonstrating one's knowledge of jargons.

      You should try and get someone who does computability/complexity research to talk jargon to someone who does VHDL/Verilog hardware synthesis. They totally can't understa

    • by Ryanrule (1657199)

      Depends on the money.

  • Problem (Score:1, Informative)

    ...You should never be the first to break out the tech jargon in a business setting."

    "So guys, our, umm, magic glowing rectangles have been, uhh, a bit less magical this week. Apparently an, umm... black box that communicates using, uhh... a special language... er, well, stopped speaking with another black box that's just like it, except not ours. So we, uhh, asked our engineers to look into that, and yeeeeah... they're ah, still doing that now. It's been about four days, and uhh, they're not exactly sure where the problem is, so if we could, you know..."

    (Engineer bursts into the room) "It

    • Re:Problem (Score:4, Insightful)

      by foniksonik (573572) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:32PM (#43747243) Homepage Journal

      "The network is down, ETA?"

      This is a more typical C level email.

      What you described is a mid-level manager who was promoted out of harms way.

    • by AK Marc (707885)

      If you'd just told us your network was down we'd have fixed it in TWO MINUTES, but your work order was blabbering on about magical boxes and glowing rectangles and we thought you were all drugged or somesuch and called 911 instead.

      Like the place I worked where every time a "the network was down" complaint came in, we bet on the actual problem. About half the time, "the network was down" meant the printer was out of toner. And the printer has a phone number on it for the Office Manager who manages those devices, with directions on changing the toner. "The network is down"'s second most common cause was a lost/changed password. The closest error to the reported error is if someone managed to accidentally unplug something, like a

  • Was there anything at all about CIOs, or was that just another pop-psych regurgitation of 'Primate Power: use these hackneyed verbal tricks to pretend that you are the monkey with the biggest cock in the room!' as seen far too often in the various 'self-help for the painfully mediocre' columns that run in various media?

    Even under the (probably quite generous) assumption that this advice is true, it's the kind of thing that you aren't going to learn just by reading, any more than you can become a good actor

    • CIO Monthly (Score:5, Funny)

      by VortexCortex (1117377) <(VortexCortex) ( ... -retrograde.com)> on Thursday May 16, 2013 @09:53PM (#43747723)

      was that just another pop-psych regurgitation of 'Primate Power: use these hackneyed verbal tricks to pretend that you are the monkey with the biggest cock in the room!' as seen far too often in the various 'self-help for the painfully mediocre' columns that run in various media?

      Hmm, not working for you? Try one of the other columns:

      Ten hot buttons to drive your CEO wild.
      Managing the Managers Managers for Fun and Profit.
      Is your CTO spying on you? Find out using this one weird trick.
      Not getting any at home? "Borrow" it from the supply closet.
      How To: Turn Heads in your next Teleconference.
      Lie with Numbers without getting caught: It's not you, it's them!
      Lingo Bingo: Generate More Buzz with less Words.

  • Wait, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:29PM (#43747219)

    Why exactly should you never be the first to mention compensation in an interview process? That sounds like a recipe for a wasted hour.. if there is a serious mismatch of expectations, I'd rather know earlier rather than later.

    • Why exactly should you never be the first to mention compensation in an interview process?

      Because they may have an offer that is much highter than what you'll ask for. Or, in other words, reasons that don't actualy happen in real life unless you are a complete noob at the workforce.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      It's nice when you have a good enough position to be able to do that, but don't try it when applying for your first job.

    • Because the first one to name a figure gets their options cut off. If I say "How about $80K?", I've just cut off hope of any higher. They know I'll work for that, so there's no point in offering me more. On the other hand, if I ask for a figure they're not willing to pay, I'm running the risk of being considered too greedy and having an inflated view of myself. If I happen to know their high end, I can start there, but otherwise I'm likely to come out worse. Similarly, if the interviewer suggests $70K

  • Management/BSA graduate types of today operate on the dudebro concept. No technical knowledge of the business is actually required, only a bit of 4 function math and the invaluable who-you-know list. In fact, showing that you do have technical knowledge causes the others to either feel intimidated and work to expunge you, or you're passed off as an anti-social geek and hit a promotion glass ceiling.

    This is why our economy will probably tailspin in a few years: the people with the power do almost none of t

    • Re:Naturally (Score:5, Interesting)

      by OhANameWhatName (2688401) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:46PM (#43747311)

      the people with the power do absolutely none of the work

      Fixed that for you.

      But on a more serious note, I work above a warehouse for an import company. The owner is a multi-millionaire Chinese ex-pat. It's pretty damn sobering to see him weeding, sweeping and driving a forklift when he has time. He doesn't have to, and he's not doing it to motivate his staff. For him, it's just the right thing to do.

      Restepca

      • Re:Naturally (Score:5, Insightful)

        by epyT-R (613989) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:50PM (#43747339)

        A nice anecdote, but, really, he's still not in the same situation as his employees, mainly for the reason you stated: he doesn't have to. He doesn't have to answer to anyone, he doesn't have to do those tasks to get paid, and he doesn't have to tolerate any passive aggressive attempts at manipulation in order to keep his job.

        • by ATMAvatar (648864)
          That's precisely why it's a nice anecdote. Weeding and sweeping especially are shit jobs that people do because they have to. Finding a millionaire company owner who's still willing to get down-and-dirty is a good sign that he isn't full of himself. Buy the man a beer.
      • by Kreigaffe (765218)

        Hope he's good to work for, too. Usually the higher the position the less inclined they are to deign the actual working floor with their presence, which just means they have absolutely no fucking clue what's going on in their company beyond the boundaries of their office and water cooler.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        the people with the power do absolutely none of the work

        But on a more serious note, I work above a warehouse for an import company. The owner is a multi-millionaire Chinese ex-pat. It's pretty damn sobering to see him weeding, sweeping and driving a forklift when he has time. He doesn't have to, and he's not doing it to motivate his staff. For him, it's just the right thing to do.

        What you're seeing here is the difference between a "boss" and a "leader".

        A leader will get things done, even if it means he has to do some dirty work. A boss makes excuses why others didn't get things done.

      • You make a good point, some individuals wake up one morning and find themselves owning a thriving business, they built it from the ground up and pride themselves on being able to competently perform any and every role (yes, in many cases these people are delusional). However....

        Here's another anecdote along similar lines..

        I drove taxis for a few years, the guy I worked for had one of the biggest taxi fleets in the city (Melbourne), his personal wealth was around $AU30 million, he also sat on the board
    • by pnutjam (523990)
      This has been an ongoing issue since America transitioned from a capitalist society to a manamentist society sometime in the 40's. This book outlines some of this and laments the way the management class has seized power, http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks05/0500881h.html [gutenberg.net.au]
  • "Strategize, Visualize, Conceptualize."

    C-Speak takes what could fit on a 2 x 1.5" sticky note and expands it to fill entire books.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:44PM (#43747303) Homepage

    That about covers it. We get this nonsense in the government too. Senior management does their "lean six sigma strategic planning" for the year, and comes up with a giant poster on the wall of the department priority plan.

    It's got lots of lovely sounding buzzphrases and fuzzy things, but absolutely nothing that anybody who does any of the real work can actually do. So it's totally useless. Business goes on as usual, and we kind of nod politely when they're in the room and wait for them to leave so we can get back to work.

    If you want to get by as a "leader" these days, the goal seems to be to offer no actual leadership, no firm plans, and no position on anything.

    • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @09:44PM (#43747681)

      Exactly how it is at every company everywhere.

      Sometimes I cringe at all the waste. Not the time, because the people who develop that shit, their time is worthless to begin with -- the actual physical waste, all the shit they produce to make themselves feel good but is only ever sneered at by employees that actually do work for their paycheck.

      Constant improvement is secret code for constantly creating more complicated procedures under the guise of 'streamlining' a procedure.

  • by DaMattster (977781) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:50PM (#43747347)
    Just sound like the world's biggest douche bag and say, "Cloud ... blah blah .... Cloud"
    • Just sound like the world's biggest douche bag and say, "Cloud ... blah blah .... Cloud"

      Suppose it's a sunny day?

  • Only a Sith deals in absolutes!

  • by JimtownKelly (634785) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @09:10PM (#43747461)
    Great CIOs, demonstrate a balance between understanding the business and understanding the technology in their communications. Fortunately I've worked for a couple of these in my career. Few and far between.
  • This is the example I use of how NOT to communicate at my company:

    Each individual stakeholder must focus on the downward flow of delegation to ensure timely deployment of critical deliverables and the achievement of key milestones. Without cross-functional deployment of synergistic competencies, we risk significant schedule slippage and may miss key dates that we have agreed to with our core customers.

    I much prefer:

    "Everybody, get your shit done on time and work together to avoid getting stuck, or we won't

    • by Kreigaffe (765218)

      The former being delivered by approximately a dozen well-dressed office dwellers before they depart to their catered meal for the rest of the day,
      the latter being said by one dude who waves everyone off back to work before even turns to leave.

  • I want my company's upper management to be clear and concise, rather than vague and full of shit. Sadly, the trend is to communicate as little as possible.
  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @10:20PM (#43747887)

    We build stuff and it better damn well work. So....

    Our CEO is a physicist. All of the people in upper management have degrees in science or engineering, including sales and marketing. Yeah, you have to use business jargon, but if you don't talk tech, you don't get to participate at a strategic level. The less you know, the lower in the pecking order you are around here.

    • by Ryanrule (1657199)

      Shit, in software, if it works the first time, how can I bill them to fix it?!?

      THINK man.

  • As a fairly experienced technologist with increasing responsibility over the last several years, and who has had a certain amount of success and gathered some decent ideas along the way, I do actually think of myself as either a future CTO or future business owner.

    But I almost NEVER think of myself as a future CIO. CTO definitely. But you can *have* CIO.

  • Not always (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Edward Kmett (123105) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:20AM (#43748487) Homepage

    As a CIO, I viewed my job to be the opposite of everything in this article.

    Of course it is good to listen. It is good to be able to interact with anyone on their level of technical expertise and understanding. This advice holds at every level of an organization.

    It is also occasionally good to be capable of being demonstrably the most technically competent person in the room. Effective organizations do need the person who can actually ensure there exists an implementble strategy to accomplish the things the CEO is selling the world, and the things the client wants, and who can articulate to vendors exactly why their magic bullet isn't quite what you need. And in many ways as a CIO, your role is to be the one person at that level of management who really understands the ins and outs of how the technology works, how things can improve and how you can adapt to meet the challenges of the organization as a whole.

    Sometimes that means being the voice of reason as the curmudgeonly technology guy, but more often it means trying to steer management towards implementable solutions and being able to suggest things that give the other CXO types options they didn't know existed.

    Whether facing inward within the organization or outward to clientele or vendors, you need to be able to communicate effectively. One thing this article omits is that when facing outward, it is often good to know when to overload the vendor to get to someone who is more competent to address your concerns, and somewhat more judiciously to be able to out-tech a client's technical guys as well.

    Sometimes it _does_ pay to be the smartest person in the room.

  • Let me be the first to say, "Bullshit". I'm not in that interview chair because I enjoy the process. I'm not planning on working there because that's how I want to spend 9+ solid hours of my day ( although I do enjoy my work ). I'm there to earn a check.

    Likewise, they aren't interviewing me because I'm an insightful and witty bastard ( although I am ). Neither are they going to hire me because looking at my pretty face is the highlight of their day. They want production out of me.

    Now, that won't be the first thing out of my mouth, but I certainly will not hobble myself in an interview by letting them dictate what we talk about, when. Once I feel satisfied that I can do the work they want, and further, I think they feel satisfied I can do the work they want me to do, compensation becomes the next point of topic. If they don't bring it up, I will.

  • The point of the article is that if you want to rise to CIO, you have to understand the company and how its buisness operates. This means having to transition from skills that are helpful in IT (detailed oriented micro thinking) to skills that are used in business (macro based "big picture" thinking). The article says not to use jargon because managers at the high echelons do not care about the nuts and bolts of how something gets done. They care about the end result and other non-technical drivers (cost
  • by pr100 (653298)

    Ironic that an article about avoiding jargon uses "CIO" - I've no idea what that means...

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      Do you know what a CEO is?
      Now consider that this site has a heavy IT focus...

  • "Hurf derrrf I have cocks in my mouth!"

    Nailed it.

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann

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