How do you interpret the "kid"'s advice, "You've got to know what you don't know"?
The meaning behind the advice is that Barton should revise his self-estimation of being a good manager. It does not imply that he is a bad one; he just has to realize that the CIO job differs significantly from all other top positions. The CIO does not have to know all the technical details that his subordinates are dealing with. The essential part is to manage the technicians properly without taking anything from the past experience for granted. Barton would have to adjust his managerial skills to handle the job. It is important for him to have a fair assessment of his advantages and shortcomings within the new scope of CIO responsibilities and build on a knowledge of things that “he does not know”.
In the last 10 years, the CIO job has had, on average, the most turnover of any management position. Why do you think this is so?
The state of the global economy prior to the financial crisis has created rather favorable conditions for the CIOs. Many of them were changing jobs in the pursuit of better projects. The other possible reason for high CIOs’ turnover relates to the fact that the IT departments were poorly managed and could not keep up in many fast-growing companies. However, the major change concerns the CIO’s role development within the organization. It is not a technical position anymore but rather a strategic organizational asset that influences the company’s success in many ways. The CIO has to think in business terms and to educate the IT department accordingly. It is the CIO’s responsibility to enforce an approach in which tactics will not prevail over the strategy. High turnover reflects the situation when CIOs fail to comply with the new challenges.
On p. 26, the "Kid" suggests that Barton uncover the best people on his new staff. How should he accomplish this?
It is a difficult task even for the competent CIO, thus Barton would have to be patient discovering the most efficient employees in the IT department. The IT super-professionals might not have pleasant manners, could appear unfriendly and keep mostly to themselves. They are not famous for their communication skills either, thus it would be an easy mistake for Barton to make judging his new staff by the first impression. The best approach would be to assess the IT personnel in a course of the cooperative actions. Barton might want to achieve a few “quick wins” as a new CIO and it could be an excellent opportunity for him to discover the best-performing employees.
Why does Davies say that Barton will last no more than a year? Is this simply "sour grapes"?
It seems that Barton has succeeded in annoying Davies with the criticism while the former held a CIO position. Moreover, the memories of being fired are still very fresh and too humiliating for Davies to behave rationally. It could partially explain his allegations that Barton will be thrown out in a year. There may also be a coherent part in his claim. Some top managers expect too much from the IT department, wanting a “magical button” to solve all the problems with clumsy business processes. However, if the business processes are chaotic then the automation will result in nothing else than an automated chaos. Unfortunately, no CIO can succeed in this business situation.
Check out Maggie's notes- select something of interest and discuss.
Maggie’s notes suggest that “...in many firms with progressive IT capabilities, enlightened CFO, COO, or CEO is the real driver, not the CIO” (Austin, Nolan, & O’Donnel, 2009, p. 35). It is a controversial statement, as the company does not actually need such a CIO. However “enlightened” COO or CFO could be, they have neither knowledge nor experience necessary for the proper IT management. A possible explanation for such a scenario could be that the CEO enjoys the situation in which he/she is an apparent “driver”, while the IT department is forced to perform rather questionable activities. The professional CIO will not say “no” to the CEO openly, but will strongly discourage any micromanagement attempts.