The advice to the CIO "You've got to know what you don't know" concerns the management style. The IT leader combines management skills with technical knowledge, both of which are limited by the manager’s abilities and experience. The successful CIO has to acknowledge the lack of his/her expertise in certain areas in order to develop a clear vision of the IT department’s goals. It can involve the revision of previously assumed managerial qualities if the leader is new to the field of IT, as in the Barton’s case. Likewise, “techies” that had been promoted to the CIO role should not be overconfident about their extensive technical knowledge as the managerial position implies rather different skills. It is essential to identify correctly the boundaries of unknown before filling the gaps in the knowledge or assigning someone to any particular activity.
A high turnover rate of CIOs over the recent decade resulted from the change of business expectations. The business perspective has shifted from the CIO who is essentially technical to the IT leader who thinks and acts with regard to the business strategy. Obviously, IT professionals had difficulties adjusting to the new approach. As the IT team grows, it becomes more important for the CIO to focus on managing people than trying to keep up with the technology. Moreover, numerous IT activities have been increasingly outsourced, making the CIO position less attractive to the people with technical-oriented mindset.
The discovery of the best performing personnel is a prolonged task. Barton should not trust his first impression on any of his new subordinates. He does not possess any technical knowledge to judge their skills and the first impression can be misleading anyway. Barton must start assigning small tasks and monitor the progress. The real professionals could occasionally point out that the task is pointless while others will carry on without questions. The best employees will perform tasks quickly and effectively while others will demonstrate reluctance or proceed with irrelevant activities. Gradually, Barton would increase the tasks’ complexity in order to determine the limits for each staff member. In a few months, he will have an accurate picture of his staff abilities and potential motivations.
Davies’s assertions that Barton will be gone in a year can have different reasons. On the one hand, it can be just a spiteful comment on the situation. If this is the case, it is no wander Davies was fired since he doubtlessly has demonstrated the same demeanor at work. The reader can only speculate on the subject, as there is no telling why exactly IVK has disposed of Davies. On the other hand, the top-management attitude toward the IT department is unknown, as well as the situation within the IT department itself. It may well be the case that there are some unreasonable expectations on the part of the CEO, COO or CFO. Barton would have to transform their views in order to remain on the CIO position longer.
One of the Maggie’s notes states: “Majority of companies have become more focused on increasing market share, moving past emphasis on cost cutting” (Austin, Nolan, & O’Donnel, 2009, p. 35). It may be either advantageous or problematic for the CIO. Corporate IT constitutes a valuable asset that can influence the company’s market position. The conservative CIO might be happy with the proprietary ERP system while SAP/R3 could double the company’s shares on the market. Contrastingly, the flexible IT leader would benefit from the opportunity of new systems’ implementation, gaining new experience and adding value to the company. The approach of the CIO determines the IT department’s success in this situation.